The Best Of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
In 1997 a 16 track retrospective covering the career of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds would have made for some difficult choice of content, ten albums strong since '84 the groups sound had developed a step away from the early days of intellectual angry man post-punk experimentation to more mature realms leaving quite a body of work behind.
Lyrically inspired by a headful of literary and historical influence as well as the wit of Cohen; albums such as From Her To Eternity
, The Firstborn is Dead
and Tender Prey
featured sparse and depressing soundscapes of dissonant noise which could become a primal roar of angst or a shower of melancholy at the drop of a hat, folk tinged and often bass led with an interweaving twang of guitars and piano that made for some complex and satisfying arrangements as a backdrop to Cave's morose and angry voice.
The band is often seen to have truly hit their stride in terms of songwriting with mid-career works such as The Good Son
, Henry's Dream
and Let Love In
, finding their own unique niche in maturity by expanding to an often relaxed and beautiful contemporary adult sound sandwiched in between compositions that are as aggressively rock as anything attempted previously but written so much more smoothly. 1997's The Boatmans Call
was released just before this compilation, bringing a new era of critical acclaim from previous critics of the group for a departure to more intimate songwriting featuring just Cave's solo voice, piano and a few instruments. A couple of songs are included.
The obvious single choices are all here, the bizarre rock bounce of Deanna
, the dark, smoothly profound nightmare of Red Right Hand
, the thunderous, apocalyptic imagery of Tupelo
, the elegant and simple beauty of The Ship Song
, the chilling duet with Kylie Minogue Where The Wild Roses Grow
, and of course the groups signature song and darkest hour, The Mercy Seat
. Amongst this fan favourites such as Do You Love Me
, the Tom Wait's styled evil circus music poetry recital The Carny
, the majestic Straight To You
, The Weeping Song
and an excellent PJ Harvey duet Henry Lee
rightfully make the cut, padded out by a couple of tracks chucked in to represent the early years in the form of From Her To Eternity
and Stranger Then Kindness
. Two songs are featured from The Boatmans Call
for good measure, with Into My Arms
and (Are You) The One I've Been Waiting For
making an appearance.
The song choices here are an excellent representation of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds during their 1984-1997 period and an excellent starting point for anybody wanting an overview of the group. Of course with any best of/greatest hits release there tend to be several song omissions in favour of others that will displease any constant listener of the group, here this is true with opportunities to use songs such as Wanted Man
, The Good Son
, Papa Won't Leave You Henry
and Stagger Lee
wasted. Despite this personal gripe, this is an excellent compilation and a well recommended entry point to a superb group with a large body of work to cover.