Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds
The Good Son


4.5
superb

Review

by DanBored USER (3 Reviews)
April 13th, 2007 | 55 replies


Release Date: 1990 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Good Son is The Good Album.

Nick Cave is known by a sizeable amount of people as one of music's foremost doom mongers. To me at least he's not, rather he's the Australian Tom Waits.

The Good Son (sharing it's name with a film starring an evil Macaulay Culkin and Elijah Wood, maybe named after the album?) opens with a song partially in Brazilian, which to me conjures up Leonard Cohen. As often the case on the album, it's quite sparse, with just a piano, some drums and vibes, Nick Cave's voice and low in mix strings. In this case, there's the addition of some backup vocals. The title translates as something about the cross, possibly the first appearance of religious imagery here.

The title track opens with an altered version of the folk song "Another Man Done Gone". This song appears to be about son trying not to be forgotten by his family with other concerns, and again there's some strings, dramatic percussion and buried Blixa Bargeld guitar.

Sorrow's Child is a Scott Walker like piano song, following the albums usual instrumental sound with some nice backing vocals.

The Weeping Song is one of the most infectious songs ever to feature a German industrial musician singing like a foghorn thats been immersed in various gunk. It's also an example of the often forgotten humour in Nick Cave songs.

Father why are all the women weeping
They are all weeping for their men
Then why are all the men there weeping?
They are weeping baaaaaack at them

Maybe it's just down to Blixa Bargeld's delivery of the Father half of the song, but that and:

Why are all the children weeping
They are merely crying son
Oh are they only crying father
Yes true weeping is yeeeeeeet to come.

I've heard a lot about people commiting suicide to this song, but to me it's too infectious and funny to be able to kill myself to. This song is very sparse as usual, just percussion, piano, vibes and bass under the duet, but it still manages to sound expansive, like a Morricone score condensed into just over 4 minutes.

The Ship Song is one of the best love songs I've ever heard, sounding a lot like Leonard Cohen initially, building on the chorus to be almost Walker-ian. In the course of this song no animals were harmed, although a lot of dogs were set on Nick Cave in the course of it. It's another example of the slow build Cave is so adept at, there's even room for a vibraphone solo towards the end. Not many albums you can say feature both Blixa Bargeld and a vibraphone solo.

In fact just this one.

The next song The Hammer Song (he likes putting song at the end of titles, doesnt he?), starts with some blipping noises, and after every few lines Blixa interjects a weird echoey surf guitar line, and then the hammer comes down. At first the menace in the song is restrained just to his chomping at the bit lyrics and the recurring guitar, but as it goes on the song builds, with even the strings sounding strangely menacing. Basically from this song we find out he doesnt like being hit with a hammer (who does) and the Biblical imagery resurfaces in the snake handed angels.

Lament is a dry run for the later Boatman's Call album. Only here there's some weirdly menacing backing strings, and some Tom Waits like lyrics about jailhouse smiles and scarlett moons. I've never heard as much vibes as I have on this album.

The Witness Song initially sounds like Step Right Up being delivered over Why Can't I Be You by The Cure. It also showcases Nick Caves tendency to repeat himself, repeat himself, repeat himself. No one else gives so much detail in songs.."I ENTERED FROM THE EASTERN DOOR/SHE ENTERED THROUGH THE EASTERN DOOR!", and later he exits through the Eastern door and she exits by the WESTERN door. Hmm....anyway, this song seems to be an account of a particularly strange night with religious symbolism.

This song is almost gospel sounding, with the constant chant of the backing vocals and impatient clatter of the drums and percussion. Can I get an amen?

Lucy is an example of a Nick Cave song done better by someone else, in this case Shane Macgowan, whose voice suits the song better. It's a nice enough little lullaby closer, with some fantastic piano from Roland Wolf who gets an extra writing credit for it it's so good. This is a song that Radiohead took the cue from for Motion Picture Soundtrack, this song being like a particularly sincere, Scott Walker like retread of Goodnight by the Beatles, apart from being sung to a dead girl. This is Nick Cave remember, and after he's finished the song enters an instrumental coda very similar to Radiohead's later ending to Motion Picture Soundtrack.

This is a fantastically underrated album, one showing all shades of Cave.


user ratings (189)
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other reviews of this album
Ryan W. (4)
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds still manage to keep their theme...


Comments:Add a Comment 
AlienEater
April 13th 2007


716 Comments


nick cave is great

i prefer birthday party to the bad seeds thoughThis Message Edited On 04.13.07

jrowa001
April 13th 2007


8750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yay a nick cave review. this album is good, i prefer murder ballads, let love in, boatmans call, lyre of orpheus/abbatoir blues over this. great review, you captured what makes nick cave the crazy guy he is. he has a new album out with a band called Grinderman (i think thats the name) and its supposed to be pretty good

AlienEater
April 13th 2007


716 Comments


it is

smokersdieyounger
April 13th 2007


672 Comments


Grinderman are really good, I've got Nick Cave's greatest hits, but want to get an actual record soon. Very descriptive review.

Sepstrup
April 14th 2007


1563 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is definitely one of his best efforts. I find him to be inconsistent most of the time, but The Good Son is solid all the way through.

Meatplow
August 22nd 2008


5524 Comments


Great album, his angst dissipates somewhat and is left with a beautiful melancholy. Great lyrics, great music.

This is probably his greatest album, every track hammers me.

jrowa001
September 23rd 2008


8750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this has moved up to a 4.5 and im appreciating this release more. a lot of parts that never really hit me are hitting me hard now. his vocals evoke so much emotion

fireaboveicebelow
September 24th 2008


6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I haven't listened to this yet

Meatplow
September 24th 2008


5524 Comments


do it! album is gold

fireaboveicebelow
September 24th 2008


6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ok...ooo a choir

Hewitt
September 24th 2008


371 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I've been getting into some Nick Cave recently. I just got this so I'll give it a listen tomorrow.

fireaboveicebelow
September 24th 2008


6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

also look at Henry's Dream, I think I like it more than this

Meatplow
October 31st 2009


5524 Comments


Yeah, i'm getting back into this.

Beautiful album, always puts me in such a mood.

DoubtGin
December 26th 2010


6752 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

my favourite of his probably

foreverendeared
December 26th 2010


14678 Comments


No More Shall We Part ♥

I need to listen to more of their albums, though.

Meatplow
December 26th 2010


5524 Comments


you really do

foreverendeared
December 26th 2010


14678 Comments


I have that album and Boatman's Call, any recommendation on which album to get next?

DoubtGin
December 26th 2010


6752 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

you can't do much wrong with him

Let Love In, The Good Son, and Tender Prey are what I'd recommend

Meatplow
December 26th 2010


5524 Comments


just about everything tbh

DoubtGin's recs are as good as any

WhiteNoise
April 12th 2011


3243 Comments


Just bought this after being addicted to the ship song and the weeping song all week. Love Nick Cave.



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