In Review: Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds Skeleton Tree

nick-cave-skeleton-tree-tracklist-mainHow do you put out a record after your son dies in a freak accident?  I think a lot of that was answered in the documentary One More Time With Feeling, the film about Cave’s new album.  The film itself was more or less an hour and a half press conference for the question that would have been asked nonstop to Cave promoting the record.  Tabloids don’t want to hear about the music, they want to hear about the pain of losing a child.  When details came out on the death of Cave’s son Arthur it seemed to get worse and worse.  He fell 60 feet to his death on a bad LSD trip last year.  Cave being a very private person made that film to answer those questions.  He made the record it seems to heal.

If you were never into Nick Cave and wanted to start somewhere this album is not the place to start.  While the album has some amazing tracks, it is a very dark portrait of Cave the musician.  You aren’t going to fall in love with Cave as an artist with Skeleton Tree.  Personally I never thought the guy would put out another record.  He was gaining a ton of momentum with his last album Push the Sky away doing tons of promotion for it, and touring a lot for Cave.  He was actually opening up to the press, something I never saw him do before.  It was like a different Cave completely.  Then the most horrific thing that could happen to a parent happened.

To see this album come out such a short time after the accident was kind of mind blowing for me.  Especially thinking he would just crawl into solitude this record is pretty amazing.  Watching the film you see the absolute heartache of Cave and his family.  I am fairly confident if it wasn’t for Warren Ellis that Cave would be in a slump.  Ellis orchestrations are all over these songs, with Cave providing the somber piano and exclusively Cave vocal styling.  These songs hurt to hear at times, but a lot of Cave’s lyrics are like that.  This time only they are just way too real.  Cave the narrator becomes Cave the let me put it all out there in verse.

You fell from the sky
Crash landed in a field
Near the river Adur
Flowers spring from the ground
Lambs burst from the wombs of their mothers
In a hole beneath the bridge
You convalesced, you fashioned masks of twigs and clay
You cried beneath the dripping trees
Ghost song lodged in the throat of a mermaid
With my voice
I am calling you

You’re a young man waking
Covered in blood that is not yours
You’re a woman in a yellow dress
Surrounded by a charm of hummingbirds
You’re a young girl full of forbidden energy
Flickering in the gloom
You’re a drug addict lying on your back
In a Tijuana hotel room

With my voice
I am calling you
With my voice
I am calling you
You’re an African doctor harvesting tear ducts
You believe in God, but you get no special dispensation for this belief now
You’re an old man sitting by the fire, you’re the mist rolling off the sea
You’re a distant memory in the mind of your creator, don’t you see?
With my voice
I am calling you
With my voice
I am calling you
Let us sit together until the moment comes
With my voice
I am calling you
Let us sit together in the dark until the moment comes
With my voice
I am calling you
With my voice
I am calling you
With my voice
I am calling you
With my voice
I am calling you

 

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