Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds | Ghosteen
Forty years into his career, Nick Cave emerges with one of his most powerful albums yet, an endlessly giving and complex meditation on mortality and our collective grief.
On the sublime Ghosteen—the first album Nick Cave has written and recorded entirely since the death of his teenage son, Arthur, in 2015—he sorts through his grief and all the requisite stages, occasionally as though in real time. His mood drifts between domesticity and depravity. He empathizes with the true believers who wept beneath Jesus’ feet at the crucifixion. He latches onto friendship and love in any shape they take. He loses his faith, then fights desperately for any belief that can replace it. Scored by synthesizers, pianos, and electronics, the process is alternately harrowing and comforting for the first hour of the album, Cave’s waking nightmare on full display.
But then, in the album’s final verse, at the close of the dangerous “Hollywood,” he steps back from the edge of a nervous collapse to paraphrase a Buddhist parable in his fractured falsetto: “Kisa had a baby, but the baby died,” he sings. And so begins “The Mustard Seed,” a tale in which a mourning mother, Kisa Gotami, tries to save her baby by asking for seeds from houses where no one has died, as prescribed by the Buddha. Alas, someone has already died in every other house, so Kisa is left to bury her child and manage another home where the specter of death has crept across the threshold. “It’s a long way to go to find peace of mind,” Cave repeats at the end, the bassline’s tension and his wounded tone emphasizing the cold irony of the epiphany. Still, the takeaway is clear: He has not been alone in his sadness, and neither will you when the time comes.
A little more than a year had passed since Arthur’s death when Cave released Skeleton Tree, a masterful record that, like the best of his catalog, used our mortality as way of considering what matters most. Hearing it as anything other than a response to the recent tragedy seemed nearly impossible. But the accident only informed Skeleton Tree, a new solemnity settling over the songs like morning mist.
- A1 Spinning Song
- A2 Bright Horses
- A3 Waiting For You
- A4 Night Raid
- B1 Sun Forest
- B2 Galleon Ship
- B3 Ghosteen Speaks
- B4 Leviathan
- C1 Ghosteen
- C2 Fireflies
- D1 Hollywood
|Label:||Bad Seed Ltd.|
|Genre:||Experimental, Ambient, Pop|
|Drager:||2 x Vinyl, LP, Album, Stereo|