Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – “Bright Horses”
Nick Cave has written some pretty bleak verses, especially following the passing of his son Arthur, but I’m not sure any have hit me as hard as the lyrics to “Bright Horses”: I can hear the whistle blowing, I can hear the mighty roar / I can hear the horses prancing in the pastures of the Lord / Oh the train is coming, and I’m standing here to see / And it’s bringing my baby right back to me. Cave has been wallowing in gloom since 2016’s Skeleton Tree, but somehow the hope (denial?) present in this track is even more obliterating. Here’s this man who has lost his son tragically, just waiting at the train station to see his child again. Whether he’s literally waiting at a station, or if it’s a metaphor for some kind of afterlife, is up to interpretation. As a new father, this passage during the more broadly breathtaking Ghosteen absolutely broke my heart. It’s also the most beautiful and memorable song on what might be Cave’s best album – so no matter how you look at it, “Bright Horses” is a must-hear moment.