Nick Cave and the Bad seeds – Skeleton Tree
Sometimes, an album’s personal meaning can be so intense that it throws the listener’s field of vision right out of sync. Skeleton Tree is that album. The Bad Seeds’ 16th studio record comes shortly after the death of Nick’s son, Arthur, and presents a masterpiece of love and destruction. Powerful, emotionally harrowing yet beautifully steady, each track is so fragile and sombre that they remain extremely difficult to listen to, but even harder to turn off.
Unsurprisingly, it is a dark journey which allows us to delve into Cave’s feelings, connecting with him personally through his journey into a new world, one of loss and never forgetting. It is far less polished than any other Bad Seeds’ album, which was what they set out to achieve. It is unanchored, creating freedom for atmosphere and truth, yet in that it is no different most latter-day Cave albums, and it still reverberates with the same rock and roll darkness that we all know. Lyrically genius, each word is haunting yet stunningly poetic, and structurally repetitive as if the tracks are stuck on loop – a metaphor one might imagine for the singer’s thought process throughout his mourning.
With such an accomplished band behind him, the sound of grief – as some are calling it – screams heartache, and much like many other Bad Seeds songs the accompaniment can break your heart one minute, then mend it the next. It’s an intriguing, incredibly deep album that makes us all remember why we listen to music – to be moved. 9/10
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