Reviews Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds Ghosteen

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds


There’s nothing more personal than grief. It affects us all in different ways, but the one commonality often tends to be the insular. We retreat into ourselves, finding little comfort in the company of others. It’s selfish, in a way. But it’s also a necessary part of the grieving process.

It’s this truism that makes Ghosteen such a remarkable and selfless piece of art. Nick Cave has taken the unquantifiable loss of his son and chosen to share that pain with the world. And the quiet, ethereal beauty Cave manages to find on this journey has resulted in the best album of his long and storied career.

Cave has always had an innate ability to create lush visuals with his words and melodies, and track "Spinning Song" begins the Ghosteen story almost like a scene heading at the beginning of a script, grounding the listener in a a mood and feeling rather than a physical setting. Cave’s repeated refrain of “a peace will come, a peace will come, a peace will come” reads less as a statement of reassurance and more of a desperate prayer for solace.

And with the following song "Bright Horses", the mist rolls in, cool and damp, sending a deep chill through your bones. It becomes clear that this will not be an easy listen. The raw emotion is on full display and through the chorus of vocals, strings and somber piano, we can begin to piece together Cave’s fragile state of mind. In doing this, Cave sheds his usual bravado backed by strong percussive rhythms and instead lets the ambient waves of synths and strings accompany his words.

Each song throughout the Ghosteen album is heartbreaking in its own exquisite way. And just when you think you can’t possibly feel any more, the next song manages to wring a little more out of you. There won’t be another album like Ghosteen this year, and there’s a very good chance we won’t hear anything like it again in our lifetimes. But despite the pain, and the sadness and the deep sense of loss, there’s an unexpected life-affirming recitation to it all that Cave may or may not have meant to convey but manages to shine through the darkness nonetheless.

9.6 / 10Kevin Fitzpatrick
See also

VEGAS - Not Ever banner
Leave a comment

9.6 / 10

9.6 / 10

Share this content
VEGAS - Not Ever skyscraper
More by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

One More Time With Feeling

8.0 / 10 Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - One More Time With Feeling album cover
Video/DVD Review

There is no pain so great as the memory of joy in present grief - that is how ancient Greek tragedians put it. Grief and beauty. Parallels between the literate ...

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Skeleton Tree

8.8 / 10 Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Skeleton Tree album cover

When it was announced that Nick Cave was releasing a new album Skeleton Tree to accompany the release of his documentary One More Time With Feeling, it felt decidedly unnatural ...

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Push The Sky Away

8.5 / 10 Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Push The Sky Away album cover

Nick Cave is an uncaring bastard.He doesn't care if you buy his new album Push The Sky Away, nor does he care if you like it. Of course, this is not what ...

Related news

Music News Nick Cave Alone at Alexandra Palace next Thursday

Posted July 17, 2020, 5:19 p.m.

As artists continue to grapple without in-person audiences and music fans are stuck at home, artists continue to adapt. Nick Cave will perform in a film shot, live at London ...

Tours Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds 2020 dates

Posted March 1, 2020, 11:22 a.m.

  The one and only Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds have announced a fall 2020 North American tour, with support from Weyes Blood on many of the stops. With 18 ...

Records New Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds on Friday

Posted Sept. 29, 2019, 6:35 p.m.

This Friday will see the digital release of Ghosteen, the latest from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, which gets its physical format release (vinyl and CD) on Nov. 8 ...



Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:

Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.