With Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds heading into Forte territory this month, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to spend a day listening to Nick Cave songs to compile this list.
Stagger Lee (1996)
Coming from arguably one of the best releases, Murder Ballads (1996), it’s a dark, disturbing tale with a brooding bass line. In this track he creates one of his most iconic evil protagonists. One of his finest works.
Forever discovering life’s dirty tales and miseries, Cave came across the story of Elvis Presley’s birth in Mississippi when his twin brother, Jesse Garon, was delivered stillborn 35 minutes before a torrid flood. “Well Saturday gives what Sunday steals / And a child is born on his brothers heels / Come Sunday morn the first-born dead,” the track sings in a menacing tone. Take this as your apocalyptic warning.
The Mercy Seat (1988)
In another example of Nick Cave’s fine story-telling ability, enveloping everyone in the characters he created, he takes on the role of a killer condemned to death row (““And the mercy seat is glowing / And I think my head is smoking”). Featuring stark, wavering piano that winds its way through the track, and strings near the song’s climax, it’s an unsettling song – and that’s exactly where its perfection originates.
The Ship Song (1990)
The heart of this song really lies in the lyrical genius of it. “Come sail your ships around me / And burn your bridges down” is a line that many music fans will recognise. It came with heavy criticism from Cave fans at the time, the preacher of despair suddenly got a pop-ballad of sorts to his name? Fair to say, they all hugged and made up to this track.
Henry Lee (1996)
While many will rate ‘Where the wild roses grow’ with Kylie Minogue as his finest duet, the sexual tension and connection Nick Cave has with Polly Harvey in this song is mesmerising.
Where the wild roses grow – ft Kylie Minogue (1996)
Red Right Hand (2007)
The Weeping Song (1990)
You can pick up tickets to Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds in Ballarat via the website.
When & Where: North Gardens, Ballarat – January 15