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on 9 May 2011
I love this CD. I'd never really heard the birthday party before but was really into Nick Cave and the bad seeds. After listening to this CD I am now a massive birthday party fan. This is just as good as the best Bad seeds stuff and in a very different way. The hole thing is just relentless amazingness!
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on 6 November 2000
Charting the band's evolution from the depraved nursery rhymes of Mr Clarinet and Happy Birthday to the harsh swamp-blues of their later work, this album is absolutely essential. Cave's violent lyrics draw from the bible and the deep south, pursuing themes that have run throughout his subsequent career with the Bad Seeds. Mick Harvey's drumming flies off at tangents, leaving Tracy Pew's lurching bass to keep the rhythm pounding on. Rowland S Howard's scratchy guitar scrawls add another layer of chaos to the mix. This is the sound of a band whose sheer attitude and inventiveness have yet to be equalled.
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on 14 May 2003
This is the best (best of) compilation ever. Pounding, pulsing
psycho basslines, clanging, wretched guitars, anguished screams... Funeral-like, murderous drums...It's utter audio nihilism, anger-concentrate and the lyrics.....incredible,
tragedies, chased by a witchhunt across swampland, the fall of heaven into decay and death,. And Howard S. Rowland is one brilliantly creative and distinctive guitarist. Most people nowadays play their instruments like they were taught...listen to this for some lessons on how to make TRUELY timeless music. Noone else sounds like this...Made between 1980-83. They walk
all over the sex pistols...and grind them into the dirt for good measure...Tracks 3,4,10,14,16,17-20 are unrivalled...
"they hunt me like a dog, down in swampland...
come my executioner...come my bountyhunter
I cannot run no more...Nooooo!!!
When your caught you swing and burn...down in SwaaaaampLand!!
The trees are building fog...Like so many jilted brides...
The smell of gasoline...Now I'm burning like a saint....
down in SwaaaaampLand!!"
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on 27 June 2008
It seems that every other day a new band emerges that is described as raw or genius but very rarely to the two ever meet. This Best Of achieves that feat although it really will not suit the majority of musical tastes.

I came across this album while listening to a lot of Nick Cave's more recent work and I assume many others will be doing likewise. For this reason it may be important to compare The Birthday Party to both Grinderman and The Bad Seeds. First off, Hits contains no ballads or slow songs - do not buy this on the strength of The Boatman's Call or similar sounding albums and songs. To be fair the Grinderman album, although described as raw, is far too structured and linear to be compared to TBP.

Even older Nick Cave albums like Tender Prey are very different from this collection of sounds.

All that said, this album is as feral, raw and unhinged as anything you are likely to hear and is truely an album that has to be played loud. Yes, lyrically this reads as Cave before he matured but in terms of pure, unabridged noise this quite unsurpassable.

Listening to this album it feels as if the whole thing is on the edge of breakdown, that there is a chance of the band just impoding into a brutal fight. As Caves yelps and words struggle to be heard over the screaming guitars and thumping drums. It truely must be heard to understand as no other album seems to care less if anybody likes it or not.

It too is difficult to believe that these songs are all over 20 years old as they sound as if they were released yesterday. These timeless tracks are brutal, violent and savage and simply bleed aggression but will not be for everyone.

Buy this album, give it a chance to stick in your head (ie listen to it more than once) and if you appreciate music that is created to be loud, uncompromisng and devilishly clever and you will love it.

Truley what the term "raw" was penned for.
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on 6 December 2014
It's OK.
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on 21 November 2015
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Remembered them from the Peel show. Thought I would remind myself. Bad move - complete rubbish, despite the well deserved reputation of Nick Cave
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