It’s an album I have to be in the right mood to enjoy, but when the time is right, no other album can scratch that particular itch. I have to admit I always find my attention does start to wander with the songs post-Spaniolated, but up to that point I love it. Hard to pick a favourite – My Dog Was Lost… is irresistable, and Chris Michaels bounds out the gate, but at a push maybe Chief Inspector Blancheflower for its brilliant narrative and one of my favourite codas of any song.
I wouldn’t say it’s my favourite album of theirs; the album’s second half is uneven, Whaddit I Done is just plain silly, and I’ve always found Visiting Friends to be a bit of a momentum killer. But with that said, the first half of Sung Tongs might just be the greatest run of songs AC have ever put together. Who Could Win A Rabbit, Winter’s Love, Kids On Holiday and Sweet Road are just delightful, life-affirming songs. Leaf House is a stunning opener, and always a live fave. But it’s The Softest Voice that always gets me; the way the melody winds up and unwinds itself makes it sound like it’s being played from some sort of magical toy music-box. I’ve always felt that the much-overlooked Campfire Songs is a great companion piece to this album too.
Did they mean to release this list on April 1st instead of the Joy Division one?
I really would’ve thought there would be more love on here for Decades. I actually can’t comprehend a top 10 Joy Division list without it.
By the looks of Ian MacKaye, a straight-edge diet does not make you immune to a beer gut.
I’ve just listened to Rise Above for the first time in years and my core issue with it remains the same as it was back then; that for all its clever musical trickery, it feels completely disconnected from its source material. They might as well have sung The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society over the music, for all the difference it would make. Their last two albums are far superior in my opinion.
A couple of recurring trends in the comments here:
– So many different Nick Cave albums have been referred to as “underrated”, further underlining just how uniformly strong his discography is.
- He knows how to keep all his fans onside. Those who loved the Birthday Party seem to find particular joy in Grinderman, whilst those put off by the relative levity of his recent releases seem to have fallen in love all over again with the release of Push The Sky Away.
Absolutely, spot on. Given the state of Cave at the time, it may be better to regard it as Mick Harvey’s finest hour, rather than Cave’s.
The first thing that struck with me with this list – as has already been mentioned above – is how low Your Funeral…My Trial is. For me, it’s the first truly great Bad Seeds album, the one that really gave the Bad Seeds a true identity in terms of sound, as expansive and multi-facted as that sound may be. For me it’s right up there, with only Let Love In, Abatoir Blues/Lyre Of Orpheus and maybe Tender Prey rating higher.
With that said, I’m in complete agreement with #1, amazing given the astonishing quality across the entire Nick Cave canon. If Your Funeral… established the Bad Seeds various songwriting modes, then Let Love In brings top-drawer examples of all of these: ballads in Nobodys Baby Now and I Let Love In; unhinged rockers in Jangling Jack and Thirsty Love; songs of unrepentent lust like Loverman; gallows humour in Lay Me Low, and of course one of his most iconic songs in Red Right Hand. It’s the closest thing to a definitive Bad Seeds album.
In general this is a great list. Abatoir Blues/Lyre Of Orpheus is always a favourite for me as it was my entry point into Nick Cave, and I’m pleased to see Henry’s Dream fairly high up, as it sometimes gets a bad press. I too agree that it’s difficult to know exactly where Push The Sky Away stands in the grand scheme of things, but every listen seems to push it upwards in my estimation. I’ve never been that into The Boatsman’s Call; when I want Cave in reflective mode I tend to turn to the more interesting musical arrangements of No More Shall We Part, for me perhaps Cave’s most underrated album.
In many ways though, as daft as it sounds, I think Cave’s entire discography is underrated. Cave’s unwavering quality (let’s ignore Nocturama) and diversity puts him alongside, if not above his peers, and yet because there is not one standout album in his canon, he’s not – in the eyes of those who compile these tiresome Best Albums Of All Time lists – judged to have released an album that can rank alongside Blonde On Blonde, Revolver, Rain Dogs and the like. Simply not the case.
Is #1 really just Yeezus:Expanded Edition?