ACL Fest Saturday Reviews

ACL Fest Saturday Reviews

Damien Rice

9 (Warner Bros.)

We already knew from his 2003 debut, O, that Damien Rice is a lovelorn sad sack. On follow-up 9, the Dublin-based singer-songwriter is lovelorn and pissed. In fact, Rice is so angry here, so unforgivably misogynistic, that it's almost enough for one to give up their role as Treasurer of the Damien Rice Fan Club. It's not always overt, but little digs like "I love your depression, and I love your double chin" ("The Animals Were Gone") tend to aggregate and disenchant. Then there's the less subtle material: "Rootless Tree" seems innocuous enough at first, but as he spits "Fuck you and all we've been through," it's clear that he's still not over it. That kind of venom can be discomfiting to the female listener. 9 isn't a total loss, though, as "Elephant" retains traces of the Rice that so captivated listeners' hearts and minds with O – wounded, angry, and still a bit hopeful. The instrumentation opens up and explodes with Rice's anger, a fully realized complement to his multilayered, nuanced songwriting. Here's hoping that for his next album, Rice meets a nice girl who won't shred his heart, because a little sunshine would do this guy some good. (4:30pm, AT&T stage)

**

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