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Monday, November 22, 2004


Commentary from the Goodson list on Yahoo Groups

From: "Vegvary"

"So, Regina, you've been a fangirl a long, long time - what do you see happening here with Cave??? There are others, peers of his, who are churning out consistently emotive, evocative, fresh and artistic work...and I find myself despairing with comparing. I mean, I'm not stymied because I don't think he was ever the "musician" part of the brew, the writing is still, for the most part, Cavean...isn't it?"

From Regina:

Well, without really knowing what's going on with him, my wild speculation would be that it all went something like this. With The Boatman's Call, Nick discovered that he could write songs that were really about how he, Nick Cave, felt about things without any kind of mythic metaphor (I discount the Christian elements of the album, because I see those as Nick's exploration of what it meant to him) or shocking imagery or murders or even much violence in the music itself. Although he says he's somewhat embarrassed by it now, he did learn that he could do this material, and that people were receptive to his changing directions. So he continued on in a similar vein with And No More..., adding back in a bit of the metaphor but also adding more of "how Nick Cave feels about the world." He also has the Bad Seeds build the music back up a bit from the sparseness of TBC. I don't really hear the McGarrigles as very different from the choruses the men of the Bad Seeds used to sing, just prettier.

So far, so good, and I'm still with him. TBC isn't one of my favorite Cave albums, but I won't deny it's a solid effort. I have no explanation for Nocturama, or at least none that could conceivably satisfy Cave fans across the spectrum of Nocturama opinion. Perhaps he felt a disconnect between his newer style of emotional sharing/political statment and his older style of music, and reached out into the pop rock world for some hooks to anchor his rushing thoughts, all tumbling out in the new freedom of being able to sing about what Nick Cave, the man not the iconic Gothic Prince of Darkness, is thinking. A manic episode album, if you will. I also wonder if there has been some element of feeling that he is a family man and thus it isn't appropriate for him to sing of death, mutilation, despair, etc. He is a teacher's child, after all.

And now the new albums: there's a bit of a swinging back to earlier themes and styles. The lyrics, as you say, are still Cavean, more so than the last two albums (which did not contain a single instance of fisting between them, I don't think). I think that the two new albums are a mishmash of all the things he has been exploring over the past I guess 8 years or so--the post-junkie, love of his life little babies years--with a nod to the fact that he is still the same person he always was at the core. He's integrating those two individuals into the person he is now, and the albums reflect that transitional state.

All of this could be wildly wrong, I don't know. But it's how I see it, and it's also what keeps me listening for more. I think he's very transitional right now, and I hope that he will continue to mature into something as fine as he was when he was young--not the same, but equally fine in its own right.

I do wonder what would happen if he turned that once fearsome and mighty pen of his to prose again.

Well, there's always that movie being made, I'm forgetting the name of it right now.

posted by Ross Monday, November 22, 2004

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