Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I'll Crawl Over Fifty Good Pussies Just to Get to One Fat Boy's Asshole

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Murder Ballads

Since I (belatedly) started getting into Nick Cave's Abbatoir Blues double album I've been picking up random albums from his back catalog here and there, but none of them has impressed me quite as much (although The Boatman's Call is still growing on me). But the other day I got Murder Ballads, which from the first listen more than lived up to Abbatoir Blues.

This album is a collection of songs about death, murder and love, based on the murder ballad tradition. Despite the heavy subject matter Cave's lyrics are often quite humourous. My favorite track is Stagger Lee, which describes the daily activities of 'one mad motherfucker' as he goes around causing havoc. Cave's lyrics are particularly clever and catchy on this song, and I especially like his enthusiastic use of profanity. The most memorable line is that quoted in the title of the post.

Also of note are The Curse of Millhaven, which, with infectiously upbeat backing music, relates the tale of a psychotic fifteen year old girl who preys on the members of the little town of Millhaven, and of course Nick Cave's most successful song Where the Wild Roses Grow, which can attribute it's popularity to the presence of that grating poptart Kylie Minogue.*

The album ends with a very pretty cover of Bob Dylan's Death is not the End, during which various guests and band members each get a chance to sing a couple of lines. And it's only natural that our man Blixa Bargeld gets the coolest line:

When the cities are on fire
With the burning flesh of men
Just remember that death is not the end.

Musically this album is not too dissimilar to others he put out at around the same time, although it tends towards being more upbeat because of the less serious mood of some the songs. It's the lyrics that make this album stand out so well, and it's simple concept works to make it a perfect example of a concept album that fits together nice and cohesively. It's definitely given me more impetus to continue collecting Bad Seeds albums.

*For some reason I find her particularly annoying, even when compared to other popstars. Some light can be shed on the cause of this dislike by observing that even when singing a song written by the brilliant Nick Cave, she still sounds like a fucking robot.

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