Sometimes you can be aware of a band or singer without really having much of a clue about the bulk of the work that they do. So ask me about Nick Cave and I’ll tell you that I have known of his existence for many many years; that Paul, one of my flatmates in the dimly remembered Albert Street flat was a big fan from when he was in the Birthday Party, that he has since made a career recording with The Bad Seeds, solo, and more recently with Grinderman and that he is highly regarded as a musician by most established critics. I’ll have read many interviews and glanced at reviews, but ask me to give you an actual example of the mans work and until now the answer youd’ve got from me would be that track he did with Kylie when she went all dark and indie.
So I listened to TENDER PREY – NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS (1988) with really no prior knowledge of what to expect, other than the Q Magazine comment that this is “The album equivalent of a serial killer. Dark, even for Cave”.
Now it has probably become clear to you by now that my reviews are not exactly in-depth considerations of the art of the musician – nor am I intent on dissecting the production, arrangements, lyrics or really any of the normal stuff that you might expect from an album review.
I am simply taking the opportunity to experience each of the albums on the Q250 list, try to get an overeview of what I think of it, and then see what comes out as I type. As I listened to Tender Prey, bearing in mind the comment from Q, I just kept thinking that it sounds like he’s having a bit of a laugh with us. I can’t claim that I paid too much attention to the actual lyrical content so maybe it’s darker than I realised but it wasn’t the brooding intense record that I was expecting. In fact with a cursory ear I’d describe some of it as upbeat. What I’m really trying to say is that I quite liked it with ‘Mercy’ and ‘Sugar Sugar Sugar’ particularly sticking in my mind. It may be time to investigate more musical output from Mr Cave.
I approached ILL COMMUNICATION – BEASTIE BOYS (1994) with some trepidation; I didn’t have very high hopes and it’s probably fair to say that I thought I had an idea of what to expect. I was wrong. This album was a complete revelation to me. Although the first few tracks confirmed my expectations – raps over fairly rocky beats; I found that I was enjoying it more than I thought I would. As ‘Sabotage’ kicked in (the one track that I’d heard before) I realised that I was having a great time with the album. And then more surprises. As the album progressed I was hearing flutes, african rhythms, and almost jazz style tunes. I swear that there are tracks on this album that if I’d been asked who it was without knowing there is no way I would have guessed it was the Beastie Boys. I’m not saying I’m converted, but I’m certainly more willing to give their other albums more of a chance.
Definitely the most surprising (and satisfying because of that) album from the list so far.