Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: Murder Ballads

Nick Cave, Murder Ballads, Nick Cave and the Bad SeedsNick Cave and the Bad Seeds: Murder Ballads
As part of Mute Records slew of Nick Cave re-releases, the label reissues 1996’s Murder Ballads. The album had the displeasure of being the follow up to the seminal, Let Love In. Murder Ballads continues the dark pathos that songs like “Red Right Hand” and “Loverman” started on Let Love In. The result is a dark and violent album.
If you ever want to question if Nick Cave has street cred, listen to “Stagger Lee.” The track has as many swears as your average hip hop track and probably as many murders. Nick Cave tells the story of Stagger Lee with verses like “He said, ‘Mr. Mother Fucker, you know who I am?’/And the barkeep said, ‘No, and I don’t give a good God-damn!’ to Stagger Lee/He said, ‘Well bartender, it’s a plain to see/I’m the bad motherfucker called Stagger Lee, Mr. Stagger Lee!’/Well, the Barkeeper said, ‘Yeah, I’ve heard your name down the way/And I kick motherfucking asses like you every day,/Mr. Stagger Lee’/Well, those were the last words that the barkeep said/’Cause Stag put four holes in his motherfucking head.”
That is not to say that every song is as violent or as profanity-filled as “Stagger Lee” on Murder Ballads. The album does contain some actual ballads and some of those ballads are beautiful. “Where the Wild Roses Grow” is a duet between Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue. The track is a dialogue between a killer and his victim but the darkness of the lyrics are juxtaposed to lush strings and a slow piano ballad.
The real story for the reissue is the extras. The four bonus tracks include Nick Cave’s cover of the traditional Appalachian murder ballad, “Knoxville Girl.” The bonus tracks also include the fun but extremely noise “King Kong Kitchee Kitchee Ki-Mi-O.”
The album itself is a masterpiece and surely one of Nick Cave’s finer albums. The addition of bonus tracks and the inclusion of music videos and a documentary just put the album over the top. The Murder Ballads reissue seems like a must have for any Nick Cave fan.
Rating: 8.6/10
MP3: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds “Knoxville Girl”
Buy: iTunes or Insound!