9 - Damien Rice
Metascore
64

Generally favorable reviews - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 28
  2. Negative: 2 out of 28
  1. Overall, Rice has produced a release which equals and perhaps even surpasses his debut, a album that takes you through emotional highs and lows you are unlikely to hear anywhere else this winter.
  2. There are not as many revelations as on Rice's acclaimed 2002 debut, "O," but it still can be sonically thrilling.
  3. 80
    Rice doesn't dismiss outright the folky troubadour charm that distinguished O, but here it's a springboard for jealousy, sex, misery. [Dec 2006, p.104]
  4. 80
    A delicate and sometimes bleak record. [Dec 2006, p.123]
  5. 80
    Even when he tips the sensitivity scales too much... Rice’s innate, anti-lite-FM intensity saves him.
  6. 9 may be quiet, but it is never easy listening. [Dec 2006, p.125]
  7. 80
    Rice seeks 24/7 momentousness here. [Jan 2007, p.92]
  8. An album to which listening compares to watching The Break-up or The Last Kiss.
  9. Rice stands apart from the pack because of the genuine beauty and eccentricity of his tunes.
  10. He avoids being too folksy or slipping into an acoustic coma by layering percussion, electric guitars, and strings when needed. By the end, you’ll feel you’ve been through the same wringer.
  11. He rocks more often and more bombastically, but he still writes few song-songs of the kind that anyone with a guitar could stand on stage and interpret. This music needs Rice's rangy voice and desperate theatricality to work.
  12. While O floated along pretty much at one consistently delicate pace, 9 finds Rice exploring a wider range of musical expression. [#16, p.97]
  13. 9 is by no means a failure, or even bad, but it dulls in comparison to what Rice can really produce, which makes it disappointing overall.
  14. There are still enough swelling, string-laden climaxes, crisscrossing vocal lines, and cascading symphonies of voices to keep fans of O happy, but the album is significantly less unified.
  15. The tortured melancholy bit -- part of it, anyway -- takes a back seat on the follow-up to this Irish bard's well-loved 2003 debut.
  16. While not as panoramic or varied as its predecessor, 9 is marked by a similar mix of poised control and impulsive gestures backed by dramatically arranged, lyrical instrumentation. [Dec 2006, p.92]
  17. It's good enough to impress fans of David Gray and Coldplay.
  18. It is simply miserable, heavy, repetitive and cathartic. [18 Nov 2006]
  19. As it was on 2003's O, Damien Rice's songs are so naked emotionally that even listening is akin to eavesdropping on a bad breakup.
  20. Not quite as endearing as his raw and seductive 2002 debut.
  21. "9" picks up where the ubiquitous and two-million selling "O" left off. Hoarse howling to acoustic guitar strumming; folksy plucking to bleeding heart mutterings; Radiohead-a-like moments pull of portentous, look-at-me pauses and full band crescendos.
  22. He's terribly earnest. [4 Nov 2006, p.35]
  23. He quivers, moans and pleads in obsessive contemplation of the darling departed in a self-dramatising simulation of catharsis that wrings from his performances an ocean of emotion when a drop of understated restraint would prove more telling.
  24. "9"... has a confused feel: he simultaneously glosses up the production, tries too hard to seem edgy, then compares women to sandy shores and the morning sun like an adult-contemporary sap. [20 Nov 2006]
  25. Not all of 9 is obnoxious, though. Much of it is merely boring; the unmemorable tunes failing to elevate beyond everyday, coffee house, bland competency.
  26. The biggest problem might be Rice’s vocal technique. On O, he had a tendency to endearingly strain for notes he couldn’t reach. Now, it sounds like he’s purposefully written songs to allow him to overextend his thin voice.
  27. Whenever Rice risks truly touching us emotionally-- say, when he's asking a former lover, "Do you brush your teeth before you kiss?" on "Accidental Babies"-- he undercuts himself with go-nowhere melodies and formulaic arrangements.
User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 45 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 21
  2. Negative: 1 out of 21
  1. Sep 2, 2014
    8
    Not as impressive as his debut but still a generally strong record. The haunting "9 Crimes" is a fantastic opener but after that theNot as impressive as his debut but still a generally strong record. The haunting "9 Crimes" is a fantastic opener but after that the highlights are sandwiched between some material that coasts along. I've always thought there was plenty of very strong Damien Rice material knocking about that should have been included on the album ahead of what ended up on 9. Lisa Hannigan, whose vocals lifted "O" to another level is absent for most of the record and this takes away from "9". Despite these flaws there are some great moments here, such is the strength of Rice's songwriting, the only pity is that we know it could have been so much more. Full Review »
  2. CarlyH.
    Jan 11, 2009
    10
    Pitchfork, i read your review, it was RETARDED. You have no REAL reasons behind hating this album. I hate you, pitchfork.
  3. AdamP.
    Jan 1, 2009
    10
    I heard of good music but this is a diffrent level. It arouses more feeling than poetry but tells the story better. Says it as it Is. I heard of good music but this is a diffrent level. It arouses more feeling than poetry but tells the story better. Says it as it Is. Elephants was sensional Full Review »