9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 31 May 2000
Rock artists have frequently turned to the 'covers album' as a way out of an artistic corner, such as the time-honoured 'writer's block'. In Nick Cave's case, with 'Kicking...', it's more what he can bring to the song, how radically he can rework it, wringing out of (sometimes) familiar material a new interpretation, a new meaning. Although it's an uneven affair, Cave manages to turn such hoary pop fodder as his fellow Australians The Seekers' 'Carnival Is Over' into the bleakest, most desolate of songs of separation. It was he who first turned to Gene Pitney's 'Something's Gotten Hold Of my Heart', several years before Marc Almond (who was, and presumably still is, a friend of Cave's), and cut through to the heart of a song of quite achingly heartfelt yearning. It's a theme that is a constant in his work, as his latest recording, 'The Secret Life of The Love Song' explores both in spoken word and some judiciously-chosen items from his back catalogue. Elsewhere, Jim Webb's 'By The Time I Get To Phoenix' is turned inside out in inimitable Cave style, with the Bad Seeds showing commendable restraint throughout. 'Kicking Against The Pricks' proved to be both artistically and commercially successful, and helped Cave break out once and for all from the Goth shadows that his previous band, the Birthday Party, had been painted into by the Music Press. A fine work, but one which he would go on to better with future Bad Seeds albums.
on 13 April 2014
Have this on vinyl and missed playing it so much I've bought the cd so that I can play it easier and more often. A classic album, and the cover versions are so soulful and beautiful - I would never have appreciated these songs by their original artists. Plain and simply, I love this lp!
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 22 December 2001
This is an often ignored gem is the Bad Seeds back cataologue. It's definitley one of the best covers albums I own. but, apart from the fact that Cave's versions of these songs are brilliant rereadings, this album will introduce you to so many other people's work. For me, this album led to Johnny Cash, the Velvet Underground (and Lou Reed) , Elvis Presley and Muddy Waters. Thank you Nick.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful and bleak vignettes made more lost and morose than the original sparkling Radio 2 seemingly kitsch masterpieces. Nick showed the way, scooping off the froth to consume the bitter bile contained within these odes to drink a deep draft, then looking up, he blows it into your face.A great incisive thrust into middle America to rip open the silent tears of lost families wandering around in circles looking for a home to erect. So we round up Johnny Cash, Gene Pitney, Glenn Campbell, Velvet Underground, New Seekers and host of other mournful bleak prairie songs to create a red velvet showpiece, the pizaz ripped from the cabaret an ode to the dead and dying. This is William Faulkner set to music as the Gothic Showpieces of Southern decay crackle under the dead weight of history. Popular songs are whistled for five minutes and then they are forgotten under the tide of historical amnesia. Here Nick and his Seeds have dug them up and whistled their tunes
You can belt along to the lyrics as Nick pours his blackened soul into the malevolent soundless emptiness, as these are full space. Then he brings to these vales of silent trickles down the chin of tears and beer spilling from the corner of the mouth. As he enters the song he breaks its spine and rips open its gullet to climb within and wreak another version of events. These songs are the equivalent of Ed Gein wearing a mask to be someone else.
3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 22 April 2000
Just listen to tracks like Alex Harvey's 'Hammer Song' So mournful...so beautiful. That along with 'By the Time I get to Pheonix' are the standout tracks for me. Though Leadbelly must be smiling in his grave at the way Cave handles his Black Betty. Superior album by a superior band!
2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 21 April 2000
Highlights on this album have to be the mournful Alex Harvey written song 'The Hammer Song' and a superior version of the Roy Orbison classic 'Running Scared'. All the tracks are more than worthy of a listen and the album stands for me high amongst the best of Cave and the Seeds. Great man! Great band!