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.
31 people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?