Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Nocturama (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Nocturama (2003)


I'll be frank - while I do know who Nick Cave is, and how important some people think he is, I personally had never consciously listened to any of his records before "Nocturama." It's not like I purposely avoided Mr. Cave, I just never seemed to cross paths with his music.

After this record, I kind of wish that I would have before now.

But that's not to say that this album is amazing; in fact it's rather dull mediocre at points. But I can definitely hear the genius contained within these 10 songs that is probably more heavily present on his past releases. "Nocturama" seems to be quite the departure from his past work [according to one of my roommates who is a huge Nick Cave fan, who declared to me "this is crap!" after I let him borrow the disc]. The majority of the songs tend to slip by via the use of Cave's rumbling baritone voice and ample use of folk instrumentation. It's great for background music as you lie in bed at night, but it rarely gets your blood pumping.

Only twice does the album really let loose. The first sign of life on the disc is track 6, "Still In Love." The band finally opens up and kicks in some distortion as Cave sings to a lost love.

As an aside, it's of interest to note that a hefty chunk of these songs are about love, or more aptly about love lost. Funny how if a group of 20-somethings sing about their ex-girlfriend we mock them, but here is a grown man approaching old age bellowing out his pain and we applaud him for his artistic merit.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, the rock. The last track of the album, "Babe, I'm On Fire," runs over 14 minutes, and the song is more intense musically and lyrically than anything else on the album. Cave sings virtually the whole time, using innovative rhyme schemes that I never would have even thought of. Apparently this song was only rehearsed once by the band before putting it to tape, and the recording really captures the free nature of it, with fuzzy bass and pounding organs driving the track.

So overall, the album is somewhat of a dud, but there are some gems on here, even in the "unplugged" sense - "Rock Of Gibralter" is a terrific love song, and the rest of the material isn't bad, per se - it just isn't what I've been led to believe is par for Nick Cave.

Bring It On