After spending the 80s both moving and disturbing people with his murder-ballads and murder-rackets, Nick Cave moved to South America to escape the druggy lifestyle to record The Good Son. It appears that the local music - or SOME kind of music at least - rubbed off on him, as The Good Son features several flourishes and instruments you'd not otherwise expect from Nick Cave.
Proving that he can confound you at every turn, The Good Son features choral backing vocals, vibraphones at various points, and the song 'Foi Na Cruz,' written in a language that I'm unfamiliar with (possibly Spanish or Portugese). Not only an experimental work for Cave, The Good Son also sets the 1990s off to a flying start for Mr. Cave.
Weighing in at only nine songs, The Good Son is mostly Cave's fabulous balladry. 'The Ship Song,' a successful single release, is a fan favourite and possibly the best ballad he ever wrote. However, the majestic title track, which starts off like tribesmen around a campire and builds to glorious strings, runs it very close.
The few louder moments are almost as good. 'The Weeping Song' (a 'song in which to weep,' of course) is Nick Cave in a more rawkus, but still fairly restrained mood, and with all of the Bad Seeds backing him up superbly, it's a song that gets the heart racing and sends more than a few shivers down the spine.
Nick Cave starts the 1990s in a quieter mood; but the songs are still excellent, and I'd recommend The Good Son to any Nick Cave fan, but especially those who enjoy his later, quieter material. It'd even be worth the money for 'The Ship Song' alone.