Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
By Haven Langhout
What can I say? It’s a Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds album, but more mellow than ever this time around. I’m a big fan of Cave’s earlier work so I didn’t enjoy this album too much on first listen. But the more I listen to it the more I like it. There are still the somber violins and tinkling pianos, but now the love ballads have happy endings to them. There is a theme of hope and redemption throughout. Could it be that the Godfather of Goth has finally gone (*gasp*) happy on us? Well, sort of…but not quite.
My favorite track off the album is “It’s a Wonderful Life”, a moody ballad where Cave admonishes his dour listeners to cheer up by singing lyrics like:
“We can build our dungeons in the air and sit and cry the blues/We can stomp across the world with nails in our shoes/We can join the troubled chorus who criticize and accuse/ It don’t matter, we’ve got nothing much to lose but this wonderful life.”
On previous albums, bittersweet ballads such as “Where the Wild Roses Grow” or “The Ballad of Henry Lee” ended up in one of the lovers meeting such gruesome ends as being knifed or hit in the skull by a rock. (Yeah, it’s funny in a dark way- admit it). But that isn’t the case with the love ballads on the new album. Nick Cave is obviously very in love with his wife- as evidenced by “Rock of Gibraltar.” He pledges his eternal unwavering devotion and love to his wife with lyrics like “The best thing I’ve done is make you the one to walk with me to the altar” and compares their love to the rock of Gibraltar.
It sounds like Nick Cave has finally made peace with all his demons on this album. On Nocturama, growing up sounds good.