Nick Cave Discusses Still Loving Kanye West’s Music Despite His Antisemitic Comments
When one of your favorite artists goes off the deep end and publicly espouses disgusting ideas, what do you do with that artist’s music? Can you ever hear it the same way again? Those questions have been in the air for a long time, but they’re especially relevant with respect to Kanye West’s recent dive into explicit, unapologetic antisemitism. Nick Cave, for one, argues that West’s music is still great, even as he repudiates Kanye’s recent statements.
In the past, Nick Cave has has written about his admiration for Kanye West’s music. In his Red Hand Files newsletter in 2020, Cave wrote, “Making art is a form of madness — we slip deep within our own singular vision and become lost to it. There is no musician on Earth that is as committed to their own derangement as Kanye, and in this respect, at this point in time, he is our greatest artist.” As The Independent reports, Cave recently told the BBC’s Newsnight that he still feels that way about Kanye’s music.
In an interview that will air tonight, Cave had this to say:
On some level I don’t care what Kanye has to say on things, but I do love Kanye, his music. But I find antisemitism in particular distasteful. And so it’s very disappointing to hear these remarks and such sort of obvious, boring kind of reductive tropes that he’s actually pedaling. However, it’s a personal choice as to whether you can go on and listen to that person’s music. I personally can. I love Kanye’s music. I feel that he’s done the best music of anybody in some time, the most interesting, challenging, bold music… Kanye, for me, controversially, is, in my opinion, the greatest artist of our generation. I love his music.
In the past, Nick Cave has made similar arguments about Morrissey. In 2019, Cave wrote:
As a songwriter and someone who believes songs possess extraordinary healing power, I am saddened by the thought that songs by arguably the greatest lyricist of his generation — songs like “This Charming Man,” “Reel Around The Fountain,” and “Last Night I Dreamed Somebody Loved Me” — are consigned to the moral dustbin by those who feel they have been tainted by his current political posturing. I respect and understand why people respond in this way, but can’t help but feel it is of significant personal loss to them.
In that same BBC interview, as the Evening Standard reports, Nick Cave talks about the death of his teenage son, saying that he was “an incomplete or unformed human being” before losing his son.