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My Favourite Faded Fantasy Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critic Reviews What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 48 Ratings

  • Summary: The third full-length studio release for the Irish singer-songwriter was produced by Rick Rubin.
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Top Track

I Don't Want To Change You
Wherever you are, you know that I adore you No matter how far, well I can go before you If ever you need someone, what not that you need help in But... See the rest of the song lyrics
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. Rice hasn’t changed his sound much, but his writing is still every bit as visceral as it always has been, and his long-awaited third album, called My Favourite Faded Fantasy, absolutely lives up to the legacy of his previous work.
  2. Nov 5, 2014
    Everything sings here, no matter how dark the matter at hand.
  3. Nov 7, 2014
    What makes this effort so different is its ability to transcend those mere qualitative descriptions and transport one’s mind to its most emotionally darkest corners--even if it has to clear away some of the cobwebs that we attempt to veil our pain in.
  4. Nov 5, 2014
    This record still feels raw, it still feels intimate, but a little more bold in its sentiments. It’s in those moments of bravery and risk that Rice still stands worthy of his heart-wrenching troubadour title.
  5. Nov 5, 2014
    He claims not to care whether his comeback is a commercial success, but one suspects it will be regardless. It deserves to be.
  6. Nov 11, 2014
    While eight years could’ve brought about a jarring change, Rice has returned with eight satisfying, hearty tracks--albeit, nothing too far off his beaten path.
  7. Nov 13, 2014
    Where O was direct, raw and sober--cold and real in its confessional heartbreak--MFFF is aimlessly wistful and therefore more difficult to connect with.

See all 15 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. Nov 14, 2019
    It may well be my favourite album of all time now.

    For sure "it takes a lot to know a man" is my favourite song of all time. The instrumental
    It may well be my favourite album of all time now.

    For sure "it takes a lot to know a man" is my favourite song of all time. The instrumental bridge is one of the greatest things I've ever heard. While the verses and chorus are so melodic it's untrue.
  2. Nov 11, 2014
    He's back and he is better than ever. Time (and more listens) will reveal whether I end up loving this as much as O, but it is unquestionablyHe's back and he is better than ever. Time (and more listens) will reveal whether I end up loving this as much as O, but it is unquestionably another classic like that one. Gorgeous arrangements that lift to the skies by the end of many of the tracks. One of the years best and a great return from a very talented singer/songwriter. Expand
  3. Nov 12, 2014
    This album is next to perfect. All biases about him as an artist aside, if I had never heard of him and this was the first album I heard fromThis album is next to perfect. All biases about him as an artist aside, if I had never heard of him and this was the first album I heard from him I'd find it hard to top. I think "O" does have some stronger songs, but I think this is more of a complete work and I've had it on repeat ever since receiving it. Those who were disappointed by "9" will not be disappointed by this! Expand
  4. Feb 2, 2018
    It had gotten to the point where I assumed Damien Rice would spend his days living a modest life off the proceeds of his globally successfulIt had gotten to the point where I assumed Damien Rice would spend his days living a modest life off the proceeds of his globally successful "O" and its follow up "9". Contribute the odd song to a charity compilation here and there, keep a low profile and eventually get to a point where he could walk around Dublin without being recognised. 8 years is a long time between releases for anyone but especially in modern times for a singer songwriter who seemed on top of his game. "My Favourite Faded Fantasy" comes, not quite out of the blue, but still as an unexpected addition to the Damien Rice discography. Best of all, it adds greatly to that discography. Second album "9" was a patchy effort next to the faultless debut "O". To sign off on "9" would have left the impression the Kildare troubadour had run out of stream and overwhelmed by the weight of expectation set by "O". After 8 years we get just 8 tracks on "My Favourite Faded Fantasy" but they are worth every day of the wait. The opening title track starts off with delicately plucked guitar and softly sung vocals which builds gradually to an eventual stormy crescendo, a trick Rice has pulled to great effect before on the likes of "I Remeber". "It Takes A Lot To Know A Man" is built around a tasty piano loop which breaks down at around 5 minutes, to be followed up a building instrumental outro that carries on for another 4 minutes or so. "The Greatest Bastard", possibly autobiographical, sounds like the Damien Rice of "O", similar chord sequence to "Older Chests" but with a middle 8 and outro that is simply spine tingling. Rice chose "I Don't Want To Change You" as the main single from the album and you can see why. Sweeping orchestrations across a beautiful yet typically downbeat love song, this track reaffirms Rices's place at the top table of Irish songwriters and makes what has come from other artists over the last decade or so pale in comparison. "Colour Me In" is another gentle number drowned in strings and emotion. The album is almost exclusively written on acoustic guitar with a massive focus on Rice's immaculate vocals. Where he was previously prone to the odd rage filled angry delivery, "My Favourite Faded Fantasy" sees Rice's vocals consistently silky. "The Box" is the closest we get to angry Damien, another building track, starting out almost in silence and finishing in a hurricane of swirling strings and emotion. This is probably my favourite track from the record. "Trusty and True" is a pleasant 8 minute affair that looks to grow itself into an anthem. As good a track as it is, its the only song on show that I'm not head over heals in love with. "Long Long Way" finishes the album in the same epic tradition as Rice's other closers "Eskimo" from "O" and "Sleep Don't Weep". Its got a bit of a Sigur Ros vibe to it and again is spectacular, with a female vocalist that sounds uncannily like Rice's previous musical partner Lisa Hannigan. 8 years in the making and well worth the wait, "My Favourite Faded Fantasy" is a triumph that every music lover needs to check out. Expand
  5. Nov 11, 2014
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Have you ever felt as if you are oppressed by a waking stupor – as if the aim of life is mere existence, rather than enjoyment or self-fulfilment? For some, their salvation from this suppression of the soul is an encounter with a new person; for others, a sense of meaning comes through a promotion or job change; for the majority of us, though, we are left with a feeling of belonging after recognising a kind word spoken or written.

    It is this feeling of awakening which is embodied in Damien Rice’s music – none more so than in My Favourite Faded Fantasy. The title itself appears to be a metaphorical nudge to the writer’s block which had left the singer-songwriter bereft of the ear jangling, heart tingling introspection of which he has become synonymous. Thankfully, Damien’s third album allows us to once more explore the crevices and coves of the writer’s mind.

    Creeping up on his listeners’ ears like the process of days lengthening in summer, Damien’s music is welcoming and warming. Arriving at the first perceptible lyric or chord is fulfilling; and when no more may be heard you are left dissatisfied. Alone.

    This emotion is the one which Damien is master of. It is immensely difficult for anyone to notice a moment within his swelling discography in which Damien is not carving himself open, playing Whack-a-Mole with his emotions, to present himself as truly as possible. Nowhere has this been presented as earnestly as in ‘The Greatest Bastard’. Even the most resistant of listeners would struggle to notice in this an ode to former acquaintances, friends and band mates. “I never meant to let you down”, yells Damien, as the music peaks and then subsides. Musically speaking, this album has far from let us down.

    Like his two preceding full-length releases, O and 9, My Favourite Faded Fantasy is propelled and distorted by its effect on the listener. No two people could identify the same sounds or instruments in their first listen of ‘Long Long Way’, say. Layers of sound and string/wind instruments need to be heard as independent entities, all building towards the same denouement or meaning as one another but via their own, individual routes.

    It is often the crescendos which pinch, or tap at, the heart when you are exposed to Damien’s music. Sometimes a deafening silence abruptly draws to its close a section of warring violins. While, at one notable moment, a clarinet rises from the ether, transporting the listener from ‘Long Long Way’ to the end of the album.

    When the listener arrives at this point, after 48 minutes of archetypal Rice soul-searching – and, for the most part, he is still searching – they are able to look back at the ground covered. Behind them is a memorable sight (or, to appropriate the metaphor, sound). Yes, there are moments which taint our golden-tinted impression of the album: the lyrics of the chorus to ‘I don’t want to change you’ are fanciful at best, meaningless at worst. However, the implications of Damien’s lyrics and the heartfelt character of his imagery are as – if not more – present than ever. While “a dogless bone” reeks of his earlier “like a rootless tree”, his songwriting remains captivating and often original.

    2011, noted for the releases of James Blake’s first full album, and Justin Vernon’s follow-up to the mesmerising For Emma, Forever Ago, was considered the year of introversion in contemporary music. Damien Rice did not produce a solo record that year. Nor had he penned and released a song during the period in which Mumford & Sons, Ben Howard and Ed Sheeran pricked the general public’s consciousness to hysteria. That writer’s block lasted eight years. In which time, the unthinkable breech was bridged in American politics; global economic structures toppled and were rebuilt; and Little Mix’s B*witched inspired, electro shambles left Damien confronted with the Devil.

    Years of escapism from the media’s steely and judgemental glare; years of emotions being meshed, mashed and masked; years of contemplative self-reflection – this is the makeup of My Favourite Faded Fantasy.

    Combined, what does this complex ensemble amount to? A piece of art, 48 minutes in length, which sounds as seminal as O.