Abattoir Blues

Yes, Nick Cave, our morbid friend.

Yesterday, I talked about the great 90’s music drought. Then I contradicted myself immediately talking about Zap Mama, a group who made some of their best music during those godforsaken years. Here we have another artist who was busy doing great work during this time. I did not become aware of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds until fairly recently. Cave has been making music since his debut with the Boys Next Door back in 1978.  As it turns out, he made some of his most definitive works during the 90’s, such as “Murder Ballads” (96), “Let Love In” (94).

He is known for his deeply romantic, violent and disturbing lyrics – which is why I was not able to appreciate his music when I was younger. Four years ago I was finally ready. I was experiencing some romantic diffuclties, for the first time in my life, stupidly pining for someone I hate now. For some months I found myself repeatedly listening to Nick Cave’s greatest hits, wallowing in misery. Today, being a happier person, I find  Mr Gloomy  somewhat less relatable.

This song is the title track from the 2004 album “Abattoir Blues”. The album along with its twin “the Lyre of Orpheus” came out at the height of my depression, and I had many hours of sweet sorrow in its company.

Abattoir Blues

The sun is high up in the sky and I’m in my car
Drifting down into the abattoir
Do you see what I see, dear?
The air grows heavy. I listen to your breath
Entwined together in this culture of death
Do you see what I see, dear?
Slide on over here, let me give you a squeeze
To avert this unholy evolutionary trajectory
Can you hear what I hear, babe?
Does it make you feel afraid?
Everything’s dissolving, babe, according to plan
The sky is on fire, the dead are heaped across the land
I went to bed last night and my moral code got jammed
I woke up this morning with a Frappucino in my hand
I kissed you once. I kissed you again
My heart it tumbled like the stock exchange
Do you feel what I feel, dear?
Mass extinction, darling, hypocrisy
These things are not good for me
Do you see what I see, dear?
The line the God throws down to you and me
Makes a pleasing geometry
Shall we leave this place now, dear?
Is there someway out of here?
I wake with the sparrows and I hurry off to work
The need for validation, babe, gone completely berserk
I wanted to be your Superman but I turned out such a jerk
I got the abattoir blues
I got the abattoir blues
I got the abattoir blues
Right down to my shoes

Nick is certainly one of my favorite poets, one whose words stand equally well without music.

My top poets:

  1. Leonard Cohen
  2. Nick Cave
  3. Tom Waits
  4. Bob Dylan
  5. Lou Reed

Notice how Dylan is only number four…but that’s for another post.


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