The best of the baddest
I am no Nick Cave afficianado but it seems the man is making a real come-back into the critical consciousness with his most recent album, ‘Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!‘. Of course, critical trends mean almost nothing, and if this excellent compliation tells us anything, it’s that Cave has been writing strange and powerful music for three decades. What is nice about this Best Of is that there is no contemporaneous filler – no bonus tracks or live outtakes – used to market the CD. The selection – though always debateable on artists who have had such a rich discography – seems representative (if not totally comprehensive) of their best work.
While Cave and the Bad Seeds have continued to release bold and challenging music in the new millennium, this compilation is a great introduction to their work before. It encompasses their raw, earlier punk-flavoured songs (‘Deanna’), through some of their expansive and experimental pieces (‘The Carny’) and generous helpings of Cave’s doom-laden balladry (‘Into My Arms’, ‘Nobody’s Baby Now’). It shows both Cave’s comic side, his romantic persona and the gothic-cinematic melodrama of tracks from the fantastic ‘Let Love In‘ (although sadly that album’s wonderful title track is not included). A latter day Leonard Cohen, Cave is a poet with an irreverent punk spirit – a unique artist when so much modern music lacks true identity and authenticity.