Bonnie 'Prince' Billy* ‎– I See A Darkness

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Tracklist

A Minor Place 3:43
Nomadic Revery (All Around) 3:58
I See A Darkness 4:49
Another Day Full Of Dread 3:10
Death To Everyone 4:31
Knockturne 2:17
Madeleine-Mary 2:31
Song For The New Breed 3:23
Today I Was An Evil One 3:52
Black 3:45
Raining In Darling 1:54

Versions (15)

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
PR 22 Bonnie 'Prince' Billy* I See A Darkness(CD, Album) Palace Records PR 22 US 1999 Sell This Version
WIGCD59 Bonnie 'Prince' Billy* I See A Darkness(CD, Album) Domino WIGCD59 UK 1999 Sell This Version
PCD-23010 Bonnie 'Prince' Billy* I See A Darkness(CD, Album) P-Vine Records PCD-23010 Japan 1999 Sell This Version
WIGCD 59 Bonnie 'Prince' Billy* I See A Darkness(CD, Album) Domino WIGCD 59 UK 1999 Sell This Version
URA001 Bonnie 'Prince' Billy* I See A Darkness(CD, Album) Spunk, Palace Records URA001 Australia 1999 Sell This Version
724384694920 Bonnie 'Prince' Billy* I See A Darkness(CD, Album) Labels 724384694920 Europe 1999 Sell This Version
WIGCD59 Bonnie 'Prince' Billy* I See A Darkness(CD, Album) Domino WIGCD59 UK 1999 Sell This Version
PR 22 Bonnie 'Prince' Billy* I See A Darkness(CD, Album) Palace Records PR 22 US 1999 Sell This Version
wigcd59p Bonnie 'Prince' Billy* I See A Darkness(CD, Album, Promo) Domino wigcd59p UK 1999 Sell This Version
PR 22 Bonnie 'Prince' Billy* I See A Darkness(LP, Album) Palace Records PR 22 US 1999 Sell This Version
WIGLP59 Bonnie 'Prince' Billy* I See A Darkness(LP, Album) Domino WIGLP59 UK 1999 Sell This Version
WIGLP 59 Bonnie 'Prince' Billy* I See A Darkness(LP, Album, TP) Domino WIGLP 59 UK 1999 Sell This Version
WIGLP59 Bonnie 'Prince' Billy* I See A Darkness(LP, Album) Domino WIGLP59 UK 2002 Sell This Version
WIGCD 59 Bonnie 'Prince' Billy* I See A Darkness(CD, Album, RE) Domino WIGCD 59 UK 2007 Sell This Version
WIGLP59 Bonnie 'Prince' Billy* I See A Darkness(LP, Album, RE) Domino WIGLP59 UK 2012 Sell This Version

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inshreds66

inshreds66

July 18, 2016
referencing I See A Darkness, LP, Album, RE, WIGLP59
How can you tell which version is which??? ? ?
m0rten

m0rten

October 29, 2013
edited over 3 years ago
referencing I See A Darkness, CD, Album, PR 22
This is a very fine album and it deservingly got its due recognition from the press corpus. Their only point of critique seemd to be of its depressive lyrical themes. It's curious how the object of description, instead of the way in which the object is descibed is the thing being questioned here. In my opinion, that really goes to show that there are no sensible ways to shun this albums lyrical prose or musicianship for that matter. It took me about ten or at least eight back to back listens of this album to fully ¨get it¨. Not because of intricate instrumentation, inaudiable lyrics or weird time signatures, but because of its sheer uniqueness as far as genre goes. It's quite hard to lump this record into any sort of category, this vinyl very much spins on its own musical orbit. Although some influences can of course be heard. Country music in general is very present within these songs. What is really impressive is that Billy uses the fomula of that upbeat oldtimer country song to tell tales of death, mutilation and depression. Another strong influence, as I hear it, is Nick Cave circa 'Your funeral, my trial'. This album speaks in very much the same way as that one does, its pathos as brilliantly obvious.

'I see a darkness' begins with its simplest and most efficient song. 'A minor place' unfurls with an almost nursery rhyme like quailty. The bard here has come to terms with his life and embraced his dark fellow traveler, his minor place. In this way of seeing it a possible last paragraph of this tale is told in the begining of the album. A minor citique here could be that this song would acutally fit great as an album closer. But to be fair, it in no way impedes the pace of the album being placed first in order. The next song, Nomadic revery, is where the real musical quailites of this record begins to shine through. I really can't overstate how special this song is to me, unfortunately that also makes it very hard to describe. I'll simply say that this is a great song which only reaffirms the general feeling of woe that the album cover inspires but the opening song almost deminishes. It feels as though listening to this song is the only proper way to explain it.

Moving on into darker territories, 'I see a darkness' the Pièce de résistance here, is also perhaps Billys finest tune to date. A slowburning ballad which, when its chours comes, swells into a gigantuan statement of bleakness. The song has famously been coverd by Johnny Cash on his lauderd American recordings, no doubt a fine tribute but it never comes close to the urgency of the original recording. The next trio of songs are not quite similar to one another but can be described with the same words. They are not standout tracks but at the same time far from 'fillers'. They exist as simple pleasures to further convey the dark mood of the album. As you've probably realized, my unequivocal praise of this album stems from it not only having a impossibly great roster of individual songs but also its ability to impress a mood upon the listener that is very much greater than the sum of its parts.

Moving on, Madeleine-mary is the only song here that I've yet to fully connect with. It's not a bad song in its own right, I simply can't appreciate it as much as the next fan. 'Song for the new breed' and 'Today I was an evil one' works in very much the same way as three tracks before 'Madeleine-mary'. All these five tracks could of course also be descibed and analyzed in depth, but my review is already streching out, so I've decided to focus on my favorites. The next to last song here, 'Black', is alongside 'I see a darkness' the albums bleakest moment. It tells the same sort of tale as the opening track but from a very different perspective. In 'A minor place' the darkness was only hinted at within metaphors such as 'the scars of last year's storm, rest like maggots on my arm' but here, in 'Black', there is a full on war raging between depression and stability/acceptance within the main character. Only after a violent power struggle can the author come to terms with his demon self.

The album ends, however, on a joyful note. 'Raining in darling' is a simple ode to love and life, an elonged and almost too simplified musical explanation of the proverb 'after rain comes sunshine'. If these songs stem from Billys personal life experiances, which they probably do, I can't say I envy this man one bit. But if this is the case, questioning the sequence of the songs is also pointless. A fictional tale would be more believable if it ended with the main character coming to simple terms with his struggle as he does in 'A minor place' instead of suddently appearing above all darkness. But this is only piss in the wind, and should not be put into consideration when you listen to this album for the first or hundreth time.

maybitmabel

maybitmabel

January 17, 2006
edited over 11 years ago
referencing I See A Darkness, CD, Album, RE, WIGCD 59

The title track on this record has literally moved me to tears in the past. Johnny Cash's version (featuring Will Oldham) is possibly (and somehow impossibly) even better.