Tuesday, March 31, 2009

828. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Murder Ballads (1996)

Track Listing

1. Song Of Joy
2. Stagger Lee
3. Henry Lee
4. Lovely Creature
5. Where The Wild Roses Grow
6. The Curse Of Millhaven
7. The Kindness Of Strangers
8. Crow Jane
9. O'Malley's Bar
10. Death Is Not The End


Although not the best Nick Cave and Bad Seeds album, those are still to come and some are not even on the list, Murder Ballads is possibly the ideal introduction to the man. This is true for several reasons: first, the theme of murder ballads is pretty much a distillation of Cave's ambience and themes, second the quite accessible format of the songs, most being around 4 minutes long also makes for a good introductory album, thirdly the presence of collaborations with people like PJ Harvey and Kylie make this possibly his most accessible album.

Accessible in Cave's world is a pretty weird thing nonetheless. Cave revels in murderous depravity throughout the album, with such gusto that you can't help but be infected by it. There is an almost childish love for the gruesome and macabre in these songs, none more so than in the great O'Malley's Bar.

This accessibility is also expressed by the fact that it is Cave's best selling album, even if I am sure many of the people who bought it after listening to Kylie collaboration Where The Wild Roses Grow were quite surprised with the content, hopefully pleasantly surprised. As always the arrangements are quite brilliant, and as always the album is pretty terrific overall.

Track Highlights

1. O'Malley's Bar
2. Stagger Lee
3. Henry Lee
4. The Curse of Millhaven

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Murder Ballads is 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 MTV even nominated Cave for their "best male artist" award of that year, though this nomination was later withdrawn at Cave's request

Henry Lee:

1 comment:

Rod McBan said...

It sure is a lot of fun to sing along to.