O - Damien Rice

Generally favorable reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 16
  2. Negative: 0 out of 16
  1. Rice is both vulnerable and seductive. [18 Jul 2003, p.76]
  2. 100
    Minimalist folk rock in its purest form.
  3. One long angelic hymn for an insane world with the intimacy of a friend playing guitar in your living room and the grandeur of Sigur Rós.
  4. 80
    Rice establishes an extraordinary intimacy here. [Oct 2003, p.107]
  5. 80
    This free-wheeling debut has the potential to run and run, carried aloft on the shoulders of the overly emotional. [#18, p.131]
  6. Rice's personality and deft songwriting hoist him above the mass of bedsit mumblers.
  7. A gifted, natural performer, Rice has had little problem connecting with audiences, filling O's quiet stretches with a likeable persona developed from his previous life busking on the streets of Europe.
  8. With O, Rice has brought something new to the singer/songwriter genre: an accomplished sense of dramatics that keeps his music from ever becoming earthbound.
  9. At times, Rice definitely over-emotes, leaving behind any sense of subtlety in his delivery. But at his best, on songs like "Volcano" and "The Blower's Daughter", he hits upon a perfect blend of warmth and expansiveness.
  10. 70
    His folky, cello-soaked songs will appeal to David Gray devotees. [Oct 2003, p.116]
  11. Songs that, for all their quietness, leave a dark, lasting impression.
  12. 67
    His single, "Cannonball," will be there for you after your next breakup. [Nov 2003, p.117]
  13. You can actually hear the moment when the album turns sour.
  14. Lucky for him, he has Lisa Hannigan on board on several tracks in this album--her breathtaking vocals almost manage to make this take of epic heartbreak to the backdrop of Irish lullabies worthwhile. Almost.
  15. The big, inescapable problem with O is that, aside from being derivative, Rice's songwriting is also unbearably repetitive-- he stubbornly relies upon time-tested singer/songwriter formulas (quiet acoustic strumming and sober, wavering vocals), and repeats them almost exactly the same way, every time.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 83 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 44 out of 48
  2. Negative: 2 out of 48
  1. Nov 22, 2011
    Spectacular debut from the Irish troubadour. Tracks 1-6 are beautifully delicate love songs that are just the soundtrack to falling/being blindly in love. Things turn bitter and dark on Cheers Darling which is one of the highlights for me. I Remember is a good snapshot of what this album is all about - soft, gentle and adoring on one side, angry, bitter and jilted on the other. Lisa Hannigan's vocals compliment Rice fantastically throughout and their harmonies and arrangements are the soul of the record. Eskimo brings things to an operatic end - absolute genius. If you take that to be the end of the album then it's perfect. I'm not sure how much value the hidden tracks Prague and Silent Night add to the record. Prague gives a taste of what was to come on his follow up 9 and Silent Night is just a showcase of Hanigans solo vocals. Full Review »
  2. Nov 18, 2014
    Not a very diverse album.
    O's songs don't have the emotional connection of an album like For Emma by Bon Iver and in places feels quite
    repetitive. The lyrics and tone are wonderful though. Full Review »
  3. Sep 21, 2014
    This is totally heartbraking, one of the greatest debuts ever. Amazing album, from the soft ''Delicate'' to the magnificent ''Eskimo''. Damien Rice is one of the best living songwriters. Minimal but great sound. Best tracks: ''The blower's daughter'', ''Cannonbal'', ''Older Chests'', "I Rembemer"..... no! All the tracks are amazing, I can't choose the best ones. Awesome. Full Review »