Damien Rice (with Lisa Hannigan) — “Nine Crimes” (from 9) — 9 Crimes - 9

I’ve never been a great fan of Rice and the overblown pomposity of his music (indeed, the more I hear of it, the more I become convinced that its composer would forever relinquish custody of his left nut in exchange for a tenth of his fellow Irishman David Gray’s talent for just half a day). But every now and again, even strident is capable of becoming stunning, and so it does here, with this raw, righteously eerie portrait of a man fighting his own fading will to stay faithful. If the taut, tense vocal interplay between Rice and his right hand Hannigan doesn’t give you gooseflesh by the end of the tune, consider yourself officially impervious to the inherent power of drama in song.

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