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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nick Cave In Beautiful, Non-Murder Related Album Shocker!!!
To say that all of Nick Cave's albums before this point had been solely about murder is slanderous. That said death, dirt, darkness and rage have tended to be recurring themes throughout his entire career. The watermark for this was his previous album 'Murder Ballads' which examined the actions of numerous psychos in intrepid detail. It charted the victims, tried to find...
Published on 5 Feb 2002 by marauderite

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2.0 out of 5 stars Looking at buying your first Bad Seeds album? Don't start here!
I love Nick Cave. I have all his albums. However, as much as people rave about it, I just don't get it. To cut a long story short, it is BORING!

Don't get me wrong this album has some five star tracks on it. 'Into My Arms' is stunning. 'Black Hair' and 'Green Eyes' however are cringe worthy. The problem is every song is played at a funeral pace. The Bad Seeds...
Published 2 months ago by Penguin_army


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nick Cave In Beautiful, Non-Murder Related Album Shocker!!!, 5 Feb 2002
This review is from: The Boatman's Call (Audio CD)
To say that all of Nick Cave's albums before this point had been solely about murder is slanderous. That said death, dirt, darkness and rage have tended to be recurring themes throughout his entire career. The watermark for this was his previous album 'Murder Ballads' which examined the actions of numerous psychos in intrepid detail. It charted the victims, tried to find reason within a serial killer's head and generally exhumed all possible blood and gore it could from its limiting themes.
So where did this simply stunning album come from? Is the man getting more sensitive with age? On this evidence it would certainly seem so. The gentle piano which sparks the album to life is as big a contrast to the content of 'Murder Ballads' as one could find. In fact, 'Into My Arms' is a truly fine, almost sickly sweet love song which, were it not for Nick Cave's howl and the 'smarter than the average bear' lyrics, could belong to Burt Bacharach.
Fear not. Cave has not become a complete softie. Though he has clearly found a muse of sorts this has not stopped him from seeing the dark side of love. The title 'People Just Ain't No Good' speaks for itself. Within love there are doubts and 'The Boatman Calls', as well as celebrating the joys it can bring, bears witness to the pain of it falling apart.
Some of the tracks, are better than others. 'Brompton Oratory' and 'There Is A Kingdom' don't stand out in the same way as 'Far From Me' and 'Where Do We Go Now But Nowhere' but that is not to say that they do not merit their place. As some of the very best albums do, 'The Boatman Calls' requires you to listen to everything, providing you with an emotional odyssey rather than a set of songs.
This is an essential album to anyone who appreciates genuinely heartbreaking songwriting. If you try it, you will be rewarded. And all this from the man who 'killed' Kylie Minogue.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where Do We Go Now, But Nowhere?, 15 Jan 2004
This review is from: The Boatman's Call (Audio CD)
Cave says it himself. The best love songs are the ones that deal with the more melancholic aspects of the emotion... jealousy, loss, betrayal, misery and so on. I share his viewpoint. For most, love is a painful sentiment too hard to express; even the best songwriters have at times been forced to rely on bland clichés and empty sentimental musings. Not Cave though. Here he is able to wrap his painful expressions in a number of metaphorical shrouds in order to create a more reflective experience for the listener... though, never does he feel the need to hide the more personal aspects of the songs.
The music always reflects the lyrics; so here we have Cave's signature piano style acting as the backing for his affecting baritone vocals. The bass is strong, the drumming slow, the strings distant and mournful... each of the Bad Seeds bring a unique angle to the emotional make-up of the music that creates an even more resonant listening experience. The songs are all cut from the same cloth, but the deft musicianship of the band means that each track has it's own musical signature. So we have slow, melodic piano ballads like the sorrowful and deeply religious Into My Arms; up-tempo instrumentation work like Idiot Prayer; and beautiful, but sobering string based confessionals such as Lime Tree Arbour, and my personal favourite, People Ain't No Good.
Cave's lyrics have never been better, as he leaves behind the over the top narrative ramblings of the previous album, Murder Ballads, and instead infuses his words with a sense of gutter-trash poetry and haunting religious symbolism. Many of the compositions have a painful intimacy to them akin to Dylan's seminal Blood on the Tracks, in which we can actually feel the singer emotionally opening up to the listener in the hope that that one special person may be out there paying attention. It may lack the cultural relevance of Dylan's album, though it is AS hauntingly beautiful in it's ideals. Quite simply, this is a must.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The album on which he bowed out for four years., 15 April 2006
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This review is from: The Boatman's Call (Audio CD)
After remaining tremendously prolific since the inception of his new band The Bad Seeds, by 1997 Nick Cave had over fifteen years with them and a relationship with PJ Harvey behind him. The previous year's self-parodying Murder Ballads album had made him a star, partly thanks to the censor-baiting 'Stagger Lee.' But, perhaps due to his breakup with Harvey, Cave chose once again to confound the expectations of those around him.

The Boatman's Call is like an anti-Cave album. Of course, Nick Cave had done ballads before, some beautiful, some tender, some ironic, but never before had he put together an entire album of crooning, skeletal songs rarely featuring more than a piano for company of the man himself. Often regarded as the best he ever made, I find it not quite so good; but it's certainly fractured and beautiful.

'Into My Arms' lets you know how the rest of the album is going to go. With little instrumentation, the Bad Seeds are all but absent across the disc. But when they do appear, it's worth it, lending polite synthesizers to 'Lime Tree Arbour,' or even a solitary bass guitar to 'Into My Arms.' What emerges is some of the most pleasant music Cave has ever produced (excluding 'Green Eyes') and certainly the most hymnal, as on 'There Is A Kingdom' or 'People Ain't No Good,' the latter remaining a staple in his live sets to this day.

I only really appreciated this album after seeing Nick Cave live; when you hear his punked-up, ravaged version of 'West Country Girl,' a mess of feedback and piano smashing, you'll long for the quiet sanctity of this album. A fitting end to the first phase of his career, before he re-emerged four years later.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Truly Remarkable Progression, 30 Mar 2004
By 
Mr. A. Miles "Al Ov N.H.E." (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Boatman's Call (Audio CD)
When you listen to the deranged row of The Birthday Party and early Bad Seeds albums like From Her To Eternity and Tender Prey, it is hard to believe that Nick Cave even lived till 1997, let alone lived to record this deeply sombre and moving album of piano ballads. The first line is "I don't believe in an interventionist God." So obviously from the start the intense tone of this head-spinningly brilliant masterpiece is set. Lyrically the album is impossibly romantic and I could offer practically any line from any song as a quote, so wonderful are the words to these beautiful songs. As with other most writers of this ilk Cave fell prey to drink and drug abuse during his career, and in common with the fabulous love songs of other noted indulgers Tom Waits and Shane McGowan, the music is best when pondering loss and pain. Cave's voice is tone-perfect throughout and this is arguably the best singer-songwriter album of the 90's. The Bad Seeds remain unintrusive but add to every song's atmosphere in a beautifully discreet way. Every music fan should own this album, it is Cave's finest, and maybe, just maybe, he is a better lyricist than Bob Dylan.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SOLEMN & RESTRAINED, 30 July 2002
By 
Pieter Uys "Toypom" (Johannesburg) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Boatman's Call (Audio CD)
This album with its spiritual imagery contains the odd anthemic ballad, like the rousing There Is A Kingdom, and intimate, subdued songs like Into My Arms, Lime Tree Arbour and the resigned People Ain't No Good. Cave interweaves spiritual and sensual metaphor, much like Leonard Cohen. On Where Do We Go Now But Nowhere? one half expects those Cohenesque female vocals to frame his deep voice, but they're not there. My favorite is the weary and erotic Green Eyes, the first line of which is a translation of a sonnet by the medieval French poet Louise Lab. She was the first to write sonnets in French (the style originated in Italy) and was known for her passionate themes. Cave then turns her love poem into a lament of epic proportions filled with equal amounts of romantic longing and despair. Quite a tour de force and enhanced by a strategic swear word or two. The poetic effect is greatly enhanced by the vocal technique: lines are first spoken then sung, which gives it a very ritualistic flavour. Fans of The Boatman's Call would love the albums "New Mother" and "How I Loved You" by Angels of Light, since these contain similar great melodic ballads of gravity and solemnity.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, surreal, sad, beautiful album., 17 Dec 1999
This review is from: The Boatman's Call (Audio CD)
Having always been a fan of Cavey's I wasn't too impressed with the notion of having to put up with what could almost be described as a middle-age-album. I coulnd't have been more wrong; in fact, I'd be happy to have Into my Arms played at my future child's christening. Nobody's Baby Now has become a firm staple among my female friends during the after-hours of a long night out. The whole album has a quiet and pensive feel about it, with the Seeds deliberately supporting from far away in the aisles and well it works, too. Absolutely worth every penny of the price; fantastic lyrical combinations together with low, strumming, quietly present evil in some cases. Perfect to finish off a night out with that special geezer..Nick Cave has definitely become the Master of Lovesong.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars captivating, 9 Dec 2008
This review is from: The Boatman's Call (Audio CD)
This was my first Nick Cave album afer years of hearing the name but never even looking him up on the internet. Also my first Amazon review so that is how highly I regard these songs. The first six tracks are simply stunning, the second half doesn't appeal as much to me. Now I have started to buy the rest of his back catalogue I still come back to this as his most powerful material. Obviously a very poignant time in his life. Some of the arrangements are so simple but songs like lime tree arbor and brompton oratory move me every time I hear them. Truly haunting songs, very raw emotions and an honesty in the lyrics that I can't believe anyone else will ever come close to. His voice holds you spellbound and makes your mood rise and fall as the songs unfold. Definately music that really moves the soul - there is just no comparison to any artist around today. See them live and you realise just how much charisma Nick Cave has and how cool he and the Bad Seeds really are. Strutting around like he just doesn't care and showing no signs of being early 50's. An inspiration to us all!! I'd also rate the bulk of the new album, Dig Lazarus Dig, as highly as this but for different reasons.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars dark slant on the human physche, 11 Jan 2008
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Boatman's Call (Audio CD)
I'm not going to bore you with a sophisticated coffee table critique that actually says little and bores you to tears. But I would say that if you are in to music with a realistic edge, with a tune, but a dark slant on the human physche, then this album's a must. I think it's superb.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars God-like genius!, 3 April 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Boatman's Call (Audio CD)
This album is absolutely amazing. Beautiful, heartbreaking songs that leave you haunted with the fact that there can be so much pain derived from love affairs. Very depressing! Nick Cave lays his soul totally bare... Standout tracks for me are Far From Me and Where Do We Go Now But Nowhere.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, 11 July 2006
By 
Mike J. Wheeler (Kingswinford, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Boatman's Call (Audio CD)
This was the first Nick Cave album I properly listened to. I picked it up after seeing it listed on someone's top 100 albums list elsewhere on the web. I thought I'd give it a try and was suitably very, very impressed. This was Cave and the Bad Seeds' 10th studio album. At that stage of most bands' careers all the inspiration is gone and those that carry on just put out the same old stuff again and again (or inferior material). Not Cave though. 'The Boatman's Call' is a heartfelt exploration of Cave's recently ended relationships. It is extremely personal, so much so that Cave himself has said that he regretted this. However, the product of all that soul-searching is a beautifully dark but heartfelt work of genius. From the opener 'Into my Arms' to the final track 'Green Eyes' there is not a bad track on this album. Its highlights are the two tracks puportedly about Cave's relationship with PJ Harvey ('West Country Girl' and the haunting 'Black Hair') but it also includes a track lifted for use in Shrek 2 that some people might be more familiar with 'People Ain't No Good'. All of the album is played in the same minimalist style putting Cave's voice and words centre stage. One word of advice - don't play it around the kids when you first put it on as like some of Nick Cave's other works there is liberal use of the F word. Highly recommended. (10/10) Flawless
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The Boatman's Call (Remastered)
The Boatman's Call (Remastered) by Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds
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