When new album ‘9’ arrived through my letterbox, I was very excited, to say the least. Upon listening to the album for the first time though, I was simultaneously enthralled and confused. In large amounts of the record, the bedroom introversion of ‘O’ had been replaced by gritty, raw and genuinely loud songs leaving fragile moments such as the first single ‘9 Crimes’ and this release in the gaps.
In truth, however, it was moments like this that felt like the weak chinks in the armour. Moments like this, harking back to the simple folky side of ‘O’, almost felt like an attempt to appease his core audience, who might be disaffected by the new change in direction. For an artist so headstrong and defiant in his approach to making and releasing music, it felt like a white flag to radio producers everywhere and, to this correspondent at least, seemed a little shallow.
That’s not to say that this single is not a beautiful song. Its folky thrum and pained delivery are a perfect continuation of what has made Rice a national treasure – it would have just been nice for him to show some faith and conviction in what has been a bold move by the songwriter. Maybe the third outing from the album will bring us just that…
Guest article from Ben M.
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