Nick Cave’s sepulchral love songs are just the thing for a gloomy day. You can just wallow in the blackness. Perhaps becoming a Nick Cave fan isn’t the healthiest pursuit, nor is it for the faint of heart, but it’s very rewarding for those who cherish their demons. I think it’s productive and helpful to view your own darkness and a beautiful and fascinating thing, but be careful not to sink too deep. There are boundaries. A lot of Nick Cave’s songs are horrifically depressing – he’s quite beguiled by murder and murdering, among other things. The other side of that dark moon is a near-religious hope for redemption. Underneath the gory wordplay, the writer truly believes in the healing power of love. Cave might appear to occupy an entirely different universe than Leonard Cohen, but the two do share one important thing; they each, in their own way, equate the romantic with the spiritual. The ability to love in the romantic sense is the beginning of learning spiritual love. Love is the crack through which the light comes in, to paraphrase a famous line. Nick Cave takes a much bloodier path to that conclusion, but in the end it’s the same one. It’s that promise of, corny as it may sound, the redemption of the heart, that makes all those murder ballads mean something more than morbid amusement.