2. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Jesus Alone
On first hearing the opening track to Nick Cave's new album, I knew two things:
1) It was one of the best songs I'd heard all year.
2) It was almost certainly Nick Cave's most powerful recording.
The one thing I didn't know was whether I could listen to it again. In fact, I almost stopped within the first 60 seconds. When I heard that first verse... I honestly didn't know if I could go on.
You fell from the skyYou know the story. You know happened to Nick Cave last year. And if you know Nick Cave at all, you'll have known he'd have to confront that tragedy in his music. Head on. But could I? There was a time when I could have listened to this record objectively, but I'm a father now and the idea of losing a child means more than it ever did. (My nephew died 15 years ago. I saw what that did to my brother, and to my whole family.)
Crash landed in a field
Near the river Adur
Flowers spring from the ground
Lambs burst from the wombs of their mothers
In a hole beneath the bridge
She convalesce, she fashioned masks of clay and twigs
You cried beneath the dripping trees
Ghost song lodged in the throat of a mermaid
I've listened to Skeleton Tree a few more times since then, and I can see that it's a potent, compelling and cathartic piece of art. But I still wish I'd never had to hear it, and that Nick Cave had never been forced to record it. Some things are more important than art. Will I keep listening to it? Yes. Because it deserves to be heard and confronted... head on.
With my voice, I am calling you...