Like most of the boatman's call album, this one is very sparse - it's essentially the piano and Nick's voice. The lyrics are Nicks best ever effort though I reckon - it's him trying to decide if someone really is the love of his life: "well we would know, won't we?/ stars would explode in the sky/ But they don't, do they?/ Stars have their moment, and then they die."
It really does repay listening to about a hundred times - very moving.
from The Boatman's Call (Mute LC5834), available on CD
All birthday party songs are pretty much the same - start the drums, then the bass, and repeat these till the end of the song. Meanwhile, Nick rants over the top, and guitars come in at the dramatic bits. Sounds bad I know, but once you have listened to them about a hundred times, they suddenly become absolutely incredible. This is my favourite one - the unbelievably low bass line kicks in, and Nick yells such gems as "Express yourself! Say something! Say something! Like 'Er'! Or 'Um'! or 'Er'!" For about 6 minutes. Brilliant.
Seriously, this one is brilliant. Nick's love song to both his new-born child and the chaotic city he was living in at the time (Sao Paulo) is an utter feast for those who love language: Nick rolls off such lines as
I thought about my friend Michel
How they rolled him in linoleum
And then shot him in the head
A bloody halo like a think bubble
Was circling his head
And I bellowed at the firmament
It looks like the rains are here to stay...
I mean - can you imagine The Strokes or Kula Shaker coming up with something like that?
Meanwhile, the music - well, Nick apparently had to say to his band - 'can't you just stay on E minor?', but such is the genius of the bad seeds that they layer it expertly and it sounds absolutely fantastic.
This was the first bad seeds song I ever got into - I remember putting it on, doing something else and having to stop as I realised I was listening to something quite out of the ordinary. If you are interested, the whole album is really really good - in my top 5 ever. I know Nick hates it, but he is quite wrong to do so.
from Henry's Dream (Mute) available on CD - Live Seeds (Mute)
05 Feb 02 ·delicado: I agree, this is a wonderful track. I'm amused to find that I had misheard the lyric. I remember being corrected several years ago (by you) on 'firmament' (I thought it was vermin). My latest mistake was to hear 'pink' where it is actually 'think'. 'Think' makes more sense I guess, but 'pink' is more disgusting. 18 Aug 03 ·Cyninglich: I have to admit it took me quite a while to straighten out some of the lyrics myself... especially the magnificent last lines: "And with her kisses bubblin' on my lips/I swiped the rain and nearly missed..."
Nick Cave is one of those musicians that cannot be put into any one category in a musical sense. This song is the epitome of that. This song sounds nothing like anything else of his that I have ever listened to, yet it is distinctly Nick Cave the same way that Tom Waits is inimitably Tom Waits, even if he were to be singing "Hit Me Baby One More Time."
First of all, this song is a hidden track. You have to go looking for it. It's actually a "0" track that you have to rewind backwards from song #1 in order to find. Computers will not play this song. Many cd players will not, either. So it's fun to track down...
Then there's the music. The best description of I ever heard of The Dirty Three is that their music "sounds like music that belongs to a spaghetti western directed by David Lynch." The wailing backgroung strings evoke a sense of forlorn longing and desperate wanting, evoking an image of fallen angels reaching towards heaven...
"We were searching for the secrets of the universe
and we rounded up Demons and forced them to tell
us what it all meant.
We tied them to trees and broke them down one by one.
On a scrap of paper it wrote these words,
as we read them the sun broke through the trees.
'Dread the passage of Jesus for he will not return.' "
Look for it. The Curious and eclectic side of you won't be disappointed.
available on CD - Songs in the Key of X (Warner Brothers)
10 May 03 ·konsu: A brilliant collaboration. One that should be commited to an entire album to say the least. Also look for Dirty 3's "Sharks" EP, which has Nick and the boys doing a great version of "Running Scared" live. I think it's a promo tour release from 98'.