The music of Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds (part 3 of 5)

Album: Henry’s Dream (1992)
The album is considered by some to have a vague "concept", i.e. song narratives overlapping and/or sharing characters. On first listen I'm not as passionate about the record as his fans seem to be. A few of the songs are just too intense for my taste, though I have a feeling the album will grow on me over time.

Favorite tracks:
I had a Dream, Joe
Straight To You
Papa Won't Leave You, Henry

Favorite lyrics:
Well, the moon it looked exhausted
 Like something you should pity
 Spent an age-spotted
 Above the sizzling wires of the city
 Well, it reminded me of her face
 Her bleached and hungry eyes

Album: Let Love In (1994)
While not as well-known as 1996's Murder Ballads, I feel  Let Love In (1994) works better as a full album, with more variety.

Favorite tracks:
Red Right Hand  (Subsequently included on the X-Files compilation Songs in the Key of X (1996). A remix was used on Scream 2 soundtrack)

Nobody's Baby Now
I Let Love In
Do You Love Me?
Do You Love Me? (Part 2)

Favorite lyrics, from I Let Love In:
“Despair and Deception, Love's ugly little twins
Came a-knocking on my door, I let them in
Darling, you're the punishment for all of my former sins”

Album: Murder Ballads (1996)
As its title suggests, the album consists of new and traditional murder ballads, a genre of songs that relays the details (and often consequences) of crimes of passion. "Where the Wild Roses Grow," a duet featuring Cave singing with Kylie Minogue, was a hit single and received two ARIA Awards in 1996. Murder Ballads was the band's biggest commercial success to date, most likely helped by the unexpected repeated airplay of the "Where the Wild Roses Grow" video on MTV. MTV even nominated Cave for their "best male artist" award of that year, though this nomination was later withdrawn at Cave's request. Entertainment Weekly rated the album an A and warned it was "Not for the squeamish, this is the rare pop record that resonates with the weight of the ages,"

Thoughts: Stagger Lee could be some of the most vulgar lyrics of his career. I love 2-3 songs from the album(see below), but overall I find the LP a bit impersonal and disconnected from reality. Granted the tribute to old-fashioned storytelling was the concept, and Nick Cave’s lyrics are well-written, but I don’t feel much about it, and I wouldn't listen to the album often. For me, slightly repetitive that all the songs are about death and murderers. Perhaps as with Henry's Dream (1992) repeat listens will win me over.
Fun trivia: The death count on the entire album comes to 65, or a mean average (rounding) of 6.5 deaths per song.

Favorite tracks:
Where the Wild Roses Grow (featuring Kylie Minogue)
Henry Lee (featuring PJ Harvey)
The Kindness Of Strangers

Favorite lyrics:
“And I've been known to be quite handsome. In a certain angle and in a certain light”

Any thoughts on the music? Have you listened to Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds? Or are you new to the band as I am? As always, comments are welcome. Part 4 of 5 coming soon.


  1. "Straight to You" is one of my all-time favorite Nick Cave songs and how can anyone not love "Where the Wild Rose Grows" w/ Kylie Minogue? Kylie is just amazing and certainly someone that deserves more respect in the industry.

    1. @thevoid99: Glad we agree on those. If I do top 10 songs of Nick Cave’s career, both tracks you mention have a great chance of inclusion, highlights from the albums for sure.
      Kylie’s latest album I thought was poor, although she’s sporatically put out good music in the past.

    2. I prefer Kylie as a singles artist.

    3. @thevoid99: I recently discovered Kylie’s breakthrough 1987 single "The Loco-Motion" is actually a cover, the original is from 1962

  2. Hi Chris - great great coverage! I'm a HUGE Nick cave fan (my son's name is Nick after him) but you've come up with some facts here (partic about Murder Ballads) that I didn't know. I agree that Let Love In - as popular as it is - is underrated. And I'm the same - I prefer the songs on murder ballads separate to the entire album. I also happen to love the duet with PJ Harvey (Henry Lee) but Let Love In has so many of my all time fave Nick Cave songs, including loverman which I think is one of the sexiest songs ever written. (Sigh) I spent MANY humid Sydney nights panting to that album.

    1. @Lisa Thatcher: Thanks for sharing your views on Nick Cave. I’ll admit I’m not his biggest fan, though I love many of Cave's tracks. Interesting you named your son after him!
      For me, Let Love In is underrated and Murder Ballads is overrated. Haha, I doubt I’d pant to Nick Cave, maybe if I was female and lived in a hot climate :) An oversight that I didn’t include Loverman.


What do you think about the post? I look forward to hearing from you. Rest assured I will reply soon.


Related Posts with Thumbnails