Everything about this song is haunted.

There is a reason this song is Damien Rice’s top played Spotify track, by more than nine million hits. That’s because it’s haunted. From the intro melody, to the meek restraint in Lisa Hannigan’s vocals, to the violin strains you barely hear until they’d fading out with a cymbal roll, every sound is as small and subtle as it needs to be. Lyrically, bitterness intertwines with fear and desire. It is not so much sad as it is self-indulgent, borne of resentment. This is one of those songs where one line carries the message, like a hypnotist uses a crystal, but the admissions of wrongdoing are the kind that get caught in your throat. This is one of those songs, where you play it, and someone hears it, and tells you they love it, and they don’t need to tell you why. Maybe because the weight of the emotion is so moving, maybe because it’s got a taboo edge, but mostly, I think, because it is haunted, and these are not words or sounds that, if you’re hearing what they really mean, you are likely to forget.

“Leave me out with the waste
This is not what I do
It’s the wrong kind of place
To be thinking of you
It’s the wrong time
For somebody new

It’s a small crime
And I’ve got no excuse

Is that alright?
Give my gun away when it’s loaded
Is that alright?
If you don’t shoot it how am I supposed to hold it
Is that alright?

Give my gun away when it’s loaded
Is that alright
With you?

Leave me out with the waste
This is not what I do
It’s the wrong kind of place
To be cheating on you
It’s the wrong time
She’s pulling me through

It’s a small crime
And I’ve got no excuse

Is that alright?
I give my gun away when it’s loaded
Is that alright?
If you don’t shoot it, how am I supposed to hold it
Is that alright?
I give my gun away when it’s loaded
Is that alright
Is that alright with you?

Is that alright?
I give my gun away when it’s loaded
Is that alright?
If you don’t shoot it, how am I supposed to hold it
Is that alright?
If I give my gun away when it’s loaded
Is that alright
Is that alright with you?…”

~9 Crimes
Damien Rice, 9