Every generation has their musical hero, someone who’s much more than just the voice of a generation, but their sound.
Ireland had Rory Gallagher in the 80s and the world had Nirvana in the 90s. Growing up in 21st century Ireland, I was blessed to have listened to and experienced some incredible, emotional and ever erotic music from the likes of Irish born Glen Hansard to international and cult giants, Queens of the Stone Age. Through my teenage years music was my escape and freedom to express otherwise intangible and confused emotions in a world we all sometimes feel we don’t belong in.
I remember it well, the first time I felt music truly describe the penance of emotions within me. It was a cold night and I struggled to keep even one eye shut, with thoughts crawling upon my mind. I turned to my dresser and grabbed the Walkman I had temporarily stolen from my sister. There was a tiny lcd screen and “Cold Water – Damien Rice” fluttered across it. The low resonance of the tick tock overpowering the keys of the piano instantly took me into the song, as the echoing of “Lord can you hear me..can you hear..or am I lost?” enveloped my feelings into something translatable.
From that night on, I began to listen to Rice daily, especially when I struggled to express my woes or angers. There is a quality to his voice like no other, one which is so honestly damaged and vulnerable, something anyone could relate to. It’s this brutal honesty of emotion and passion in his music which gives Rice something truly ‘otherly’ to his music.
The relationship between Rice and Lisa Hannigan, a former member of his band, is synonymous with his music. ‘O’ and ‘9’, Rice’s first two international albums, serves as a voice to express the passionate yet ever turbulent relationship between the pair. It deals with the failed expectations and pain which every couple face to some degree. It never holds back and is as much as an emotional rollercoster as it is a musical one. Both these albums are very dear to me, ones which I will always cherish and adore getting me through many o’ teenage relationships and allowed me to deal with my problems by venting them through Rice’s music.
I leave you with “I remember it well”, telling the story of when Rice and Hannigan first met and then breaks into the current state of their relationship, a sample of the sheer force of emotion and music found in Rice’s work.
Thanks for reading!