Possibly one of the most brave and bold things that you could do after the sudden and tragic loss of a son is to create a new album. That’s what Nick Cave has done this past week.
I saw Nick Cave in Melbourne a few years ago and it was truly the most remarkable concert I’ve been to in my whole life. As a live performer he’s completely all-consuming, and hypnotic. People sway and quiver with emotion as though listening to a spiritualist preacher. But Cave is no false prophet, he’s the real deal, a rock n’roll mystery wrapped in an enigma that refuses to be pigeon-holed.
He was touring for his album ‘Push the Sky Away’
That live performance was full of the fire of a thousand suns and seemed to push aside all objective reality in favour of an emotional landscape and deep, dark subconscious energy that is raw, compelling, disturbing and beautiful.
When Cave’s son died by accidentally falling from a cliff in Brighton, it was even more poignant for the people who know and love his music. It feels as though I know him intimately through his music. An artist and a great person didn’t deserve such a tragedy. But there it is, sometimes terrible things happen to great people and that’s when art always helps you to cope with loss and tragedy.
Art is like a frayed old rope ladder descended into a well and into the darkness. Art of all kinds whether it’s music, writing, art has the transformative power to heal and to make sense of the unimaginable.
So the chameleon artist of Nick Cave has risen again like Lazarus for this epic, powerful album, probably his darkest one yet. If mourning has a sound, then this is what it would sound like.
One More Time with Feeling is a film which tells the story of his son’s death and the making of the new album Skeleton Tree. This is the story the way that Cave intended.
I love how he always manages to hold and control the narrative of his own art with such ferocity. Even as he tells intense stories about life, the man himself remains completely mysterious.
Put yourself in a Nick Cave mood right now, whether you’re with others or alone, the music is the other living breathing person in the room. You know what I mean?