Thursday, February 17, 2005


CD of the Quarter

Abattoir Blues and The Lyre of Orpheus by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
Gordon made the comment that I seem to have a chicks-playing-piano thing happening with my music. It's a reasonably fair comment (although to be honest it's probably more of a chicks-singing thing), but it certainly doesn't cover all the music I like to listen to.

So to show how varied my musical tastes are, I'm going to talk about a piano playing guy.

Towards the end of last year, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds released a double album - The Lyre of Orpheus and Abbatoir Blues. Being a fan of Nick Cave, I'd been wanting to pick up the album for a while, but never quite got around to it. So Karina decided to get it as my Valentine's Day present. How awesome is my wife?

This is something of an interesting album for the Bad Seeds. Blixer, one of the founding members of the Seeds decided to leave the band just after the release of their last album (Nocturama). But I'm not really one to get to much into the background behind an album, so I'll just stick to comments on how it sounds.

The first stand out track for me is the first single released - Nature Boy. I heard Nature Boy several weeks (maybe even months) before the album was released, and like Bring It On from Nocturama and I Sat Sadly By from No More Shall We Part, it was an excellent choice for a first taste. It was one of those songs I immediately wanted to hear again so I could listen more closely to the lyrics. And really how could you not love a song with the line "I was like a lepper coming down with some kind of nervious hysteria".

Other tracks that stand out after only a couple of listen are There She Goes, My Beautiful World also off Abattoir Blues, and from The Lyre of Orpheus, Breathless and Supernaturally. Supernaturally in particular I really like - to me it feels like it should almost be sung in Spanish somewhere in Central America. I think it would be a great pair for Red Right Hand - it has that wild west/cowboy feel to it.

The two CDs stay true to the three themes common in most of Cave's music - God, Love and mental instability. Several of the tracks have an almost gospel feel to them - expanding on what the Bad Seeds did in And No More Shall We Part. As always there's a mix of huge, energetic songs filled with sound and music and low key, simple songs.

The Bad Seeds albums almost always seem to follow a similar pattern for me - there are a handful of songs that I almost instantly love and the rest of the tracks seem pretty ordinary. But as I listen to the album more and more, I find that more and more of the tracks are actually really cool. While I'm not falling in love with the Lyre of Orpheus and Abattoir Blues as quickly as And No More Shall We Part, it's certainly happening a lot quicker than Nocturama. Even after only two or three listens I'm finding more and more tracks I want to listen to again.

All the music I talk about here is shared by iTunes - if you work with me, take a listen and tell me what you think.

Hey! I like Nick Cave, but in more of a technical than tactical way - I just can't think of a time when seems a good idea to listen to such depressing music. The older I get the less depressing music I listen to. It was fun when I was a teenager, but now I'd rather listen to positive songs like Ooey Gooey or Yummy, Yummy Yummy.
Well, while I'd clearly be wrong if I said Cave's music wasn't depressing, he's writing more "happy" (as in "not depressing") songs as he gets older. Bring It On and Nature Boy both come to mind.

It's a fair point though, and I can understand. I've just never been one to get depressed by music. I just enjoy the sounds and the stories, even if they're dark.
Perhaps there are dark undertones to 'Ooey Gooey' that I've never seen...
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