Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: Skeleton Tree

bad-sNick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Skeleton Tree
(Bad Seed Ltd.)

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“Good grief,” a phrase familiar to most and resonant to more than a few. Due to tragic events, Nick Cave is exposed to this, prompting creativity to be both savior and reasoner. Skeleton Tree is Cave’s ode to grief. The opening track, “Jesus Alone,” is a musically minimalist piece with a lonely synthesizer wailing in the background, as if crying for help, and lyrically maximalist featuring a vague set of characters with the chorus being a simple statement to a mysterious recipient. “Rings of Saturn” is the stark opposite (well, except for the content of lyrics as Cave is not known for his lack of words). A good ol’ fashioned “millennial whoop” is featured in the chorus, propelling this tune to something rather catchy. Following this is “Girl in Amber,” which is an equally somber tune that plainly states “if you want to leave, don’t breathe…” While up for interpretation, it seems to lean toward the subject of suicide. At this point in the listening experience, it should become apparent that this record is dark, and not the usual Nick Cave-dark, but something more leaning toward the shadows. However, it is not without its vulnerability. Skeleton Tree is as bleak as it is revealing as it is humanizing. Perhaps the stand outs of the album are the final three chapters, if you will, of the story. “I Need You,” a brooding number that reminds one that “nothing really matters.” “Distant Sky” features a beautiful duet with Else Torp, and lastly the title track, which ends on a somewhat uplifting note. Skeleton Tree truly chronicles the story of a man walking through deep water.

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About Morgan McDaniel

Morgan McDaniel lives and breathes music. Part sound engineer, part musician, he attended LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts focusing on technical theatre and is a recent graduate from SAE Institute in New York. He has worked at several top-tier recording studios in New York, including the Magic Shop and Eastside Sound. On the job, he has been in charge of making sure sessions run smoothly by running errands for clients and engineers as well as setting up and breaking down the live room. In addition to this he has run live sound at the Living Room, Wicked Willies and Cafe Wha. A native New Yorker based on the Upper West Side, Morgan writes music reviews for Short and Sweet NYC and formerly played bass in the psychedelic rock band The Golden Grass, who have toured Europe and opened for Deep Purple. He currently plays lead guitar in the Brooklyn based heavy rock outfit Mirror Queen.
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