Listening to Nick Cave

A record you won’t listen to very often but if you do hear it, and I urge you to, you will never forget it.

“With my voice I am calling you”

Made after one of his children accidentally died and I’d guess he knows we can’t not know that.

“If you want to leave”

Surround yourself with the sound of it, I’d say. It’s an immersion, a sound-well.

“The urge to kill someone was basically overwhelming”

You’re wherever you are. He’s in despair in a supermarket queue.

“The animals pull the night around their shoulders”

Wondering what the word ‘Anthrocene’ means? And if the songs, if songs they are, are curses or prayers. The music so carefully played but also like they’re all making it up under the words as the words emerge. ‘The supermarket’ returning as the songs deepen when you think there are no more depths to get to, towards desolation or maybe salvation?

“I thought I knew better so much better”

Raw need now, just breathe, this is not pop music.

Then the dawn comes up and a woman sings beautifully, reassuringly, letting him rest a moment.

“Let us go now my one true love and watch the sun rising in your eyes”

Raw need just breathe.

“They told us our gods would outlive us but they lied”

Setting out for a distant sky, the two of them

“To where the children will be rising”

Then it comes in like a hymn.

“Sunday morning, Skeleton Tree
Nothing is for free”

The song that made me stop the car when it came through the radio months ago. The song that made me listen to Nick Cave at last.

“Nothing is for free”

Like when you were a child and you’ve been crying inconsolably and you’re picked up and you’re still crying, but it’s all right now.

“And it’s all right now,
And it’s all right now”

I have never in my life heard a record anything like this. So savage. A beauty so beyond my poor words that I can only try.

I have tried, here on this Saturday afternoon at the end of September in 2017. Listen to this:


Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds “Skeleton Tree”

Published by Ronnie

Writing about life, Liverpool and anything else that interests me. As well as working with others to make the world a fairer and kinder place:

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