Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

  • Henry's Dream [Mute/Elektra, 1992] C
  • The Best of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds [Reprise, 1998] Dud
  • No More Shall We Part [Reprise, 2001] Dud
  • Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus [Mute, 2004] Choice Cuts
  • Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! [Anti-, 2008] **

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Henry's Dream [Mute/Elektra, 1992]
Cave's admirers crow about his literary virtues--a rock musician who's actually published a novel! and scripted a film! about John Henry Abbott, how highbrow! Then they proffer dismal examples like "I am the captain of my pain," or the bordello containing--what an eye the man has--a whalebone corset! (Whalebone is very literary--it hasn't been used in underwear since well before Nick was born.) If this is your idea of great writing, you may be ripe for his cult. Otherwise, forget it--the voice alone definitely won't do the trick. C

The Best of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds [Reprise, 1998] Dud

No More Shall We Part [Reprise, 2001] Dud

Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus [Mute, 2004]
"The Lyre of Orpheus," "There She Goes, My Beautiful World," "Hiding All Away" Choice Cuts

Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! [Anti-, 2008]
Gosh--at 50, he's almost Dylanesque for blessed moments, plus he utters the welcome words "Bukowski was a jerk" ("We Call Upon the Author," "More News From Nowhere"). **

Further Notes:

Subjects for Further Research [1980s]: I admit it, I have a problem with death freaks. And since I also have a problem with Americans who obsess on America's "dark side," I have more of a problem with non-Americans who follow suit. Death fans compare the Birthday Party to P.I.L. even though Cave's band was palpably cornier, which took some doing. They compare the Bad Seeds to, well, the Gun Club--only better, you know? Damn straight. There are strong songs on Tender Prey, and occasionally I think I might appreciate the covers album Kicking Against the Pricks when face to face with terminal illness. But somehow I suspect I'll have other priorities.