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O is the debut studio album by Irish musician Damien Rice, originally released on 1 February 2002, in Ireland and in the United Kingdom. The album is dedicated to Rice's friend Mic Christopher, who died of a head injury in 2001.

Damien Rice O album cover.jpg
Studio album by
Released1 February 2002
GenreFolk, indie rock, acoustic rock
Label14th Floor (Ireland/UK)
Vector (USA)
ProducerDamien Rice
Damien Rice chronology
Singles from O
  1. "The Blower's Daughter"
    Released: September 2001
  2. "Cannonball"
    Released: 2002
  3. "Volcano"
    Released: 2002


Damien Rice was previously a member of the band Juniper, and upon the disbandment due to changes in creative direction, he took a sabbatical in rural Italy before returning to Ireland.[1] He would meet with his second cousin, composer David Arnold who was impressed upon hearing Rice's songs and sent Rice's demo to music publishers to no success. Frustrated, Arnold worked with Rice to set up recording equipment for a home studio to make the album independently.[2] He describes receiving a $500 loan from his father that would be forgiven on completion of the album.[3] The recording process included opera singers, Gregorian chants, and a heavy influence from Lisa Hannigan, at the time Rice's personal and professional partner.[1]

Rice wanted to release the album without the backing of a major record label, believing if he signed such a deal it would compromise his future work, forcing him to move in directions he did not wish to.[4] The album was released as "CD-sized hardcover book filled with personal artwork, lyrics, and photos."[5] In 2003, it would get distribution support from Vector Records for the global release, a then-newly established label focused on independent artists.[6]

He later described his motivation as wanting "to forget about everybody else and make the next record that we're making just for ourselves again, because there's something about being in a space where you're not thinking of other people. You're just in a moment creating music and emotion and in a space with people you feel comfortable with. And that for me is the essence of what it is that we've done and what it is we do."[7]


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic     [9]
Blender     [10]
Entertainment WeeklyA[11]
The Guardian     [12]
Mojo     [13]
Rolling Stone     [15]
Slant Magazine     [16]
USA Today    [18]

O was released to critical and public acclaim in Europe and then globally.[19] It peaked at #08 on the UK Chart lasting 115 weeks on the chart, with two singles in the top 30 and 'Cannonball' additionally peaking at number 9.[20]

Liam Farrell of the Notre Dame and St. Mary's Observer remarked on Rice's accomplishment of making an album that "can completely consume you when you listen to them [...] his astounding and haunting O, a deceptively simple and incredibly complex homemade masterpiece."[21]

Rice on tour for O at the Troubadour in 2003

In 2003, it won the Shortlist Prize for Artistic Achievement in Music, a then prestigious award for albums that had sold less than 500,000 copies,though it would eventually go on to receive gold certification in America.[7]

The video for the song "Volcano" charted in the United States on VH1's Top 20 Video countdown in October 2003.[22]


In 2014, John Meagher of The Irish Independent described the album as, "one of the great Irish cultural success stories of the decade."[23] In 2015, Donte Kirby of That Music Mag called it "an album that mined the vein of melancholy that comes from a relationship. If your partner just left you, if a close friend won’t pick up your calls or there’s an ache in your chest O might speak to you." [24] In 2015, Paul Moore of Joe.IE describes the difficulty of retrospectively ranking tracks as "the whole record plays out as one incredibly atmospheric, haunting and immersive piece of music."[25]

Use in other mediaEdit

Songs from the album are frequently featured, including use in over 37 television series and movies, and as of recently as 2017.[26]

  • "The Blower's Daughter" was featured in the trailer for the 2004 Mike Nichols film Closer, as well as in the film itself.[27]
  • "Cold Water" was featured in the 2003 film I Am David, in the end credits of the 2005 film Stay, also in the end credits of the final episode of the 2014 television crime thriller Prey and in the opening and closing scene of The Girl in the Café. In addition, it was featured in the 2010 French movie Little White Lies. The first bars are used to open several different scenes in aforementioned Closer.
  • "Delicate" was featured in the opening episode of the 2014 television drama The Affair's second season, during the ending sequence of the third episode of House M.D's second season, and during the first season of Lost.

Track listingEdit

All tracks are written by Damien Rice, except where noted.

2."Volcano" (Rice, Brian Crosby, David Geraghty, Paul Noonan, Dominic Philips)4:38
3."The Blower's Daughter"4:44
5."Older Chests"4:46
7."Cheers Darlin'"5:50
8."Cold Water"4:59
9."I Remember"5:31
10."Eskimo" (Hidden tracks "Prague" from 7:07 to 13:00, and "Silent Night" from 14:09 to 15:57, sung by Lisa Hannigan)15:57


Release historyEdit

After the album's initial release and success, it was repackaged several times with additional material:

  • 2003 – with bonus DVD
  • 2003 - includes extended version of "Eskimo", which features "Woman Like A Man" from B-Sides, and brings the track's length to 21:42.[28]
  • 2004 – with extra track "Cannonball" (Remix)
  • 2004 – double album pack: O and B-Sides
  • 2005 – with extra tracks "Cannonball" (Remix) and "Unplayed Piano"
  • 2018 - Deluxe and Standard vinyl editions, with 2 O "hidden" tracks and 4 B-Sides tracks [29]


  1. ^ a b Schlansky, Evan (3 July 2003). "Damien Rice Sings for Lovers". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2018-01-29. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  2. ^ "First Encounters: Singer-songwriter Damien Rice and composer David Arnold". Archived from the original on 2017-11-07. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  3. ^ "Damien Rice: From 'O' to '9' in Four Years". Archived from the original on 2017-11-07. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  4. ^ "Album Reviews - Damien Rice 'O'". CLUAS. 2002. Archived from the original on 2008-11-20. Retrieved 2009-03-05.
  5. ^ "O - Damien Rice - Songs, Reviews, Credits - AllMusic". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 2018-07-29. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  6. ^ "Folk Alley (( Damien Rice Rereleases "O" ))". Archived from the original on 2018-01-16. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Irish Singer Damien Rice Wins Shortlist Music Prize". Archived from the original on 2018-07-29. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  8. ^ "Reviews for O by Damien Rice". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  9. ^ Spano, Charles. "O – Damien Rice". AllMusic. Archived from the original on 22 December 2014. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  10. ^ True, Everett (August 2003). "Damien Rice: O". Blender (18): 131. Archived from the original on 19 October 2006. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  11. ^ Wise, Catherine (18 July 2003). "Damien Rice: O". Entertainment Weekly: 76.
  12. ^ Petridis, Alexis (9 August 2002). "Damien Rice: O". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 9 September 2014. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  13. ^ "Damien Rice: O". Mojo (119): 107. October 2003.
  14. ^ Petrusich, Amanda (18 August 2003). "Damien Rice: O". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on 24 October 2014. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  15. ^ DeCurtis, Anthony (10 July 2003). "Damien Rice: O". Rolling Stone (926). Archived from the original on 22 April 2009. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  16. ^ Cinquemani, Sal (3 June 2003). "Damien Rice: O". Slant Magazine. Archived from the original on 13 November 2014. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  17. ^ "Breakdown". Spin. 19 (11): 117. November 2003. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  18. ^ Gundersen, Edna; Jones, Steve; Gardner, Elysa; Mansfield, Brian; Barnes, Ken (2 September 2003). "Hear the good stuff that almost got away". USA Today.
  19. ^ "Damien Rice: O". 1 July 2003. Archived from the original on 2018-07-29. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  20. ^ "DAMIEN RICE - full Official Chart History - Official Charts Company". Archived from the original on 2018-07-29. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  21. ^ "Damien Rice delivers powerful performance // The Observer". 9 September 2003. Archived from the original on 2018-07-24. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  22. ^ "VH1's Music Radar; Wed., October 8 - Tues., October 14, 2003". Find Articles. 2003-10-08. Retrieved 2008-07-05.[dead link]
  23. ^ "Damien Rice: hits, heartbreak and an eight-year silence". Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  24. ^ "That Music Magazine » Damien Rice, O (2003)". Archived from the original on 2018-07-24. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  25. ^ "REWIND: O by Damien Rice is 13 years old this week - JOE ranks its best 5 songs". Archived from the original on 2018-07-24. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  26. ^ "Damien Rice". IMDb. Archived from the original on 2017-04-16. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  27. ^ Morris, Wesley (3 December 2004). "On 'Closer' inspection, Nichols rules". Boston Globe. Archived from the original on 2012-11-03. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
  28. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-07-23. Retrieved 2015-07-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  29. ^ "O vinyl pre-order announcement". Archived from the original on 2018-05-03. Retrieved 2018-05-02.