It’s hard to believe, but 2013 marks the thirtieth year of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds. Their fifteenth studio album, Push the Sky Away, was released in February. I’ve been listening to it quite a bit over the last four weeks. It’s one of those rare albums that manages to be both idiosyncratic and highly listenable, which I think is quite a feat. The album was recorded in southern France, in a 19th century mansion that was converted into a recording studio.
Both musically and lyrically, Nick Cave can be a pretty dark guy. Sorrow and longing, sex and death, biblical calamity and internal strife — all make regular appearances in his lyrics. However, Push the Sky Away sees Cave putting down his Old Testament and logging on to Google. Perhaps his children were getting on his case to be more hip.
On his website, Cave writes, “These songs convey how on the internet profoundly significant events, momentary fads and mystically-tinged absurdities sit side-by-side and question how we might recognise and assign weight to what’s genuinely important.” Hence references to Hannah Montana sit side by side with reflections on the discovery of the Higgs Boson particle. I think Cave is both satirizing popular culture, and, from arm’s length, genuinely trying to figure out what makes it tick.
Here is “Wide Lovely Eyes,” a beautiful ballad from his new album, Push The Sky Away. Definitely one of my favourite tracks of 2013. “Through the garden with your secret key / Down the tunnel that leads to the sea / And step onto the beach / Beneath the iron skies.” Enjoy!