Sunday, 1 March 2015

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Push the Sky Away [2012]

Winter 2013. To say I’m dissatisfied with my life is a misunderstanding. I'm in the process of redefining myself and find comfort in few things when I decide to hit the road again. And so it happens that cold German highways are the place where I hear Push the Sky Away for the very first time. 

Over the years I considered Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds interesting, but a bit too flashy for my taste. Some songs were nice, but the albums as a whole were usually too much. Push the Sky Away amazes me till today. It embraces musical minimalism, focusing on slow loops and simple strings, laying emphasis on Cave’s theatrical singing that sometimes even seems real. And in this cold honesty it made a nice company for my journey to Berlin.

The opening We Know Who U R could be a hymn from social media to me and you, my poor lost souls. Seriously though, it is a tale rather sweet in its sadness, with a bitter taste of the ascetic sound. Lyrically, I love how nature (or simply – trees) represents the numbness typical to how many people nowadays feel and how Cave’s “we” are those who crack during daytime and wander without any sense only to find the light in the evening. Given that it is a common routine of people struggling with early stages of depression, I’d dare to say the song can be seen as a way of recognising this illness.

Wide Lovely Eyes is a simple, lovely goodbye of the lovers. Nothing bad, but also nothing special. On Water’s Edge the mating rituals of young generation are being reinvented. Cave is making it sound slightly horror-like and the music makes me drift off to the memories of Berlin’s Ringbahn at dawn, passing empty stations, poor neighbourhoods and barely awake people. 

Jubilee Street shows melody and pace perfect for strolling around. It unwinds slowly like a disillusioned cigarette smoke on the winter morning, so common on the western streets. This song visualises all the loneliness of the life in the city and dishonesty of our lifestyles. It’s a subtle story of love, obsession and learning. I really like the I ought to practice what I preach message, after all, shouldn’t we all? wouldn’t the world be a better place if we did?

Mermaids has great atmosphere of loveliness and slow acceptance of missing a lover. The lyrics are mostly a small catastrophe though. We Real Cool once again proves Wikipedia as a disastrous inspiration for wording, but it does sound good with its calm desire, and arising but controlled anxiety. Finishing Jubilee Street has a quite different sound than its beginning, being relatively cheerful (just like me after a few hours of travelling).

Can't remember anything at all
Flame trees line the streets
Can't remember anything at all
But I'm driving my car down to …
this opening of Higgs Boson Blues pretty much sums up its meaning as a gorgeous stream of consciousness / road song. Driving in slow motion, lazy thoughts  – isn’t it the essence of travelling alone? The singer wishes to teach, and back during my first listening, I wish to learn and hear all he says about the destruction caused by white men. It’s a good story and it breaks my heart to co-feel the heartbeat of all our common misdoings. 

It’s not healthy to cling on to these feelings for too long though. As they say finishing the album,
You've got it, just keep on pushing and, keep on pushing and
Push the sky away
Good words, and I add – don’t forget about the feelings. But focus on action. Will it cure the depression? No. But if you’re better and you keep on doing good things that bring you happiness, perhaps it will take it more time to strike back. And if you're on the road, make the most of it.

1 comment:

  1. Good to finally have u back!
    The new design looks great ^_^