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I See a Darkness

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iTunes Review

I See a Darkness was the first full-length album released by Will Oldham as Bonnie "Prince" Billy, and it differs by degrees from his work as Palace Brothers and Palace Music. It still features his creaky, gnarled voice spitting forth aphorisms from a variety of narrators. The musicianship and production are improved, though not to the point of slickness. The melodies are more concise. "A Minor Place" is virtually hummable and upbeat. Of course, it wouldn't be a true Oldham experience if there weren't songs dabbling in the dark arts of dread and despair. "Nomadic Revelry (All Around)" pushes forth with a mountain music lope that casts an eerie spell. "I See a Darkness" (later covered by Johnny Cash) is a beautifully formed tale of a man battling depression, while "Black" further explores the weird and wicked poetry of the dispossessed. "Death to Everyone" takes that darkness and turns it into a first-person rant that revels in its evil. By the time the finish line is reached with the two-minute coda, "Raining in Darling," it's with bittersweet joy and relief.

Customer Reviews


With over 4,000 songs and counting on my ipod, I can still say this is one of the best albums I own. Though I like a lot of Oldham's other stuff as well, this to me seems like his most realized and cohesive album. It adds up to punch me in a way very few albums do. Oddly too, I can appreciate these songs in the midst of despair or complete comfort. It's one of those albums I just truly thankful for.

I See A Darkness

One of the most beautiful albums I have ever heard, it's my first Will Oldham album. I came to it through Pitchfork Media's list of the 100 greatest albums of the '90's, where it was ranked 9th. Forget the '90's, this is one of the best records ever. I mean if The Man in Black covered the title track, it has to be good...

Why don't you have this?

One of the best albums that I own. Conveys that bleak outlook that somehow remians tinged with hope better than any of Oldham's other work. If you like any of his other stuff, get this. The sound is a bit heavier than his more countrified stuff (i.e. Palace music, ease down the road, etc.) or the more atmospheric Letting Go, and to good effect.


Born: December 24, 1970 in Louisville, KY

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

After his stints performing as Palace, Palace Songs, Palace Brothers, and under his own name throughout the '90s, by the end of the decade Will Oldham seemed to finally settle on the Bonnie "Prince" Billy moniker as the main outlet for his work. Regardless of the name he used to release his music or the musicians supporting him, Oldham's style remained largely the same, pitting shambling and often sparse music against his creaky, world-weary voice and literate lyrics. The Louisville, Kentucky native...
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