Friday, September 24, 2010

Album Review: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds- The Good Son (1990)

Cave loves the Children!

Released on the heels of Cave's most rocking album to date Tender Prey, The Good Son was maligned upon its release by Cave fans for its emphasis upon ballads and love songs instead of focusing on other Cave topics such as death and Old Testament rapture.  Although this description of The Good Son is true, it should not be served as a distraction, but instead should be served as a welcoming point for a new direction in Cave's career.

Instead of overpowering the narratives of his songs with bombastic music, which no doubt worked to effect on his earlier work, Cave decides to be much more minimalistic on the music.  However, this minimalist approach does not distract from the lush orchestrations or the power Cave's  lyrics, which is on full display.

Cave directs his lyrics to be focused on heartbreak and love, and although this combination can be damning to some songwriters who have spent the majority of their career having a hard rock mentality, Cave is able to handle his lyrical subject with great emotion.  Take for example The Ship Song, a love song that is seemingly simplistic.  Although the song can be taken as a love song, the song is also about letting go with the person you love and letting them discover themselves in the world, even if that means not being by their side.

Another great highlight of the album is the duet between Cave and Blixa Bargeld on The Weeping Song, which tells the story of a son's betrayal to his father.  Cave's tenor and Bargeld's bass help elevate the song from a simple duet to a haunting melody about sadness, betrayal and even possibly murder. 

Finally, The Good Son should not be seen as some aboriginal album on Cave's discography, but instead should be seen as evidence that Cave is just as comfortable writing love songs and ballads.  Personally, this album is my favorite Cave album, and is a perfect starting point for any person seeking to get into the work of Cave and his music.

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