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Murder Ballads CD+DVD
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Stagger Lee is simply stunning. I have heard old versions and they don't come close to what Cave has done after he adds his touch.
Where the Wild Roses Grow is a hauntingly beautiful and strikingly sordid song that reminds me of one of Joyce Carol Oates' early macabre short stories. Kylie Minogue's angelic vocals as victim are in sharp contrast to the evil that emanates from Cave's.
My favorite is the epic O'Malley's Bar, a tale of a man gone mad who ruthlessly and brutally murders everyone in his neighborhood bar but shrinks at the end from taking his own life. Appalling violence marks this fourteen minute saga from start to finish.
Songs of murder and violent death have been around since the days of antiquity, but here Nick Cave masterfully takes the genre to a new level. If you enjoy mystery, horror, a well-written and well-told tale, aren't too squeamish and are open to something unusual, then I highly recommend that you buy Murder Ballads. You won't be sorry.
Within weeks, it had become the soundtrack to my world. It was vicious, it was grim, it was hysterically funny. It was like the script of "Pulp Fiction," "Reservoir Dogs" or "Jackie Brown" as told through English folksong or Appalachian mountain tale.
I giggled with horrified glee as a loving family man and good doctor murdered his family with cold calculation on "Song of Joy." I guffawed as openly gay criminal Stagger Lee threw over expectant hooker Nellie Bound, to molest and murder her manly boyfriend. I cheered as Crow Jane efficiently gunned down the 20 miners who raped her, and laughed as a lovelorn boy was led astray by the beautiful ghost ("Lovely Creature") of a girl long since dead. I smirked and sighed at the overwrought tearstained drama of "Kindness of Strangers" and "Where the Wild Roses Grow." I loved the Nick and P.J. (Harvey) duet, "Henry Lee." I think we'd known for a long time that P.J. was Nick's perfect foil, and letting her play murderous mistress to Nick's faithless lover was perfect musical casting.
Finally, we were given the opportunity to hear Nick go postal on the local patrons of "O'Malley's Bar," and the local suburbanites of the town of Millhaven, in which Nick casts himself as a golden-ringleted, psychopathic fourteen year old girl.Read more ›
The title says it all, Cave and his Bad Seeds have taken the age-old murder ballad and had their wicked way with it and would now like you to hear the fruits of their labour. Not all of these songs are old murder ballads, and those which are tend to be present with slight alterations or in lesser-known forms, but they all would not sound out of place at any time in history. The reason being that they deal with topics such as cold-blooded murder, obsessive passion and crazed hatred which are not alien to any culture.
The opener, "Song Of Joy", is full of typical Cave irony. The title refers to the wife of the singer - killed in a particularly brutal fashion, as the song reveals. Of course, the idea of naming such an unrepentantly nasty song "Song Of Joy" is only what we have come to expect from this tortured genius. Cave's wit surfaces with such moments as the description of the wife becoming sad and "Joy in name only". As the song goes on, Cave weaves in a reference to Milton's "Paradise Lost" (interestingly enough, the same section which gave him the title of an earlier song) and gives some very tantalising clues to the killer's identity. A word of warning, listening to this song at night as not overly recommended, the atmospheric nature of gloom is more than all-pervading.Read more ›
There really isn't a weak number on the album, but if there is a touch that truly marks this out as a special album, it is the ironic song that closes the album, a rather obscure Bob Dylan song entitled "Death is not the End."
In retrospect, this album, which summed up all the reflections on death and violence that could be found on Cave's previous albums, took the theme to a level where he had nowhere else to go. In a way, this may have prepared Cave's transition to a more religious perspective. I am reminded of the words someone spoke to J.-K Huysmans after he published AGAINST NATURE: the view of life express in it was so bleak that, his friend said, afterwards the only two options were the church or the noose.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Case came cracked. If you like Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds though, you'll love this album-- absolutely amazing, just like all of their other ones.Published 4 months ago by K Jones
Mesmerizing, not a subject matter you can relax to easily.Published 7 months ago by Leo Hirschocker
awesome cd was of my favorites by nick cave. with songs like stagger lee, where the wild roses grow with kylie Minogue, the curse of milhaven and death is not the end. Read morePublished 8 months ago by arnold
I had heard the "Where the Wild Rose Grow" song Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue contained in this album, and that made me want to buy the whole disc. Read morePublished 11 months ago by jenesuispasgoth
The best album by this great band. Categoricly this is some sort of Gothic folk and blues/post-punk/contry-jazz fusion. Heah. Read morePublished 12 months ago by CRAZOTOLOGY