Monday, July 28, 2008

Get Ready for Love

I left off, abruptly back in March while on the topic of Nick Cave. I covered his dark side, but left his tender side untouched. Due diligence follows.

Nick Cave, sinister ringmaster, near do well, bon vivant, aggrandizing and exploiting the depths of the human condition, the good and evil that exists in the pit of every man's soul. His raw, haunting tales are the marrow of his repertoire, but these alone do not comprise the full measure of the artist. The sinewy tendon and muscle attached to the bones of his music is the love song. In addition to providing a certain gravitas to his catalog, they display a maturity that distinguishes Cave as a truly well-rounded songwriter, a journeyman of the heart, traversing it's deepest chambers and excavating every drop of emotion from within.

The softer side of Nick, while always apparent to some extent in his earlier work, was fully realized on 1997's Boatman's Call. This period is marked by his relationship and subsequent breakup with singer Polly Jean Harvey. Cave's delicate arrangements are a striking departure from previous Bad Seeds material and this brevity only enhances the content of these songs. His ability to call upon efficient arrangements and marry then to the simplest of allusions and the most basic of premises, (a walk together, a breakup, a longing for unrequited love) are at the same time sparse and lush, and altogether mesmerizing.

When you hear a Bacharach love song, it's transparent. A product. A song written for the sole purpose of existing as a love song. Sung by another and meant for someone else entirely. An objective offering on the subject. Cave in turn reverses the polarity, turning the love song inside out. At once achingly personal and sincere, and still ambiguous enough to be offered to the listener, transcending into our assimilated collective experiences. His love songs are in essence, the very soul of Nick Cave, and yet, not his possession at all.

I'm just sayin'.

Into My Arms (live on Letterman)

Lime Tree Arbour (Live)

Nobody's Baby Now

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds- Nobody's Baby Now

Henry Lee (w/ PJ Harvey)

1 comment:

TCB Walsh said...

Henry Lee is a fantastic song and an even better video. Their intimacy is palpable to the point where it is almost uncomfortable to watch. I feel like I am intruding on their intimacy. I bet they used to sing this song to each other in the bathtub. If there was ever a couple meant for each other it was Mr. Cave & Polly Jean. Thank you for sharing Mr. Monkey.