Thursday, December 03, 2009


Whether you're a Nick Cave fan, someone who hates his work, or someone like me, who pays almost no attention to the dude and can generally take or leave his stuff (I don't think I've listened to a whole song of his in over 15 years, though I liked the movie The Proposition well enough), this scathing essay is well worth reading. This is criticism done right - plenty of evidence is marshaled, and it's witty without pretending wit is enough.

Some killer lines:

"The notion that Cave is being ‘ironic’ has been used to excuse many of his worst indulgences, up to and including his pimp’s moustache. It is simply not true."

"It’s his transformation into an antipodean Elvis Costello – growing old, mild and respectably bourgeois along with his audience – that really makes me mad. Not because I believe that Cave has sold out or betrayed his musical talent – he had precious little to begin with – but because the deference paid to him and to his work grows in inverse proportion to its increasing mediocrity, to its juvenile silliness and self-parody."

"As vocalists [Cave and Kylie Minogue] match each other for emotional blandness, though Cave is certainly the more tone-deaf of the two, and the music is a syrup of over-processed strings – an ersatz folk arrangement. The accompanying video, which appears to have been filmed with a generous smear of Vaseline on the lens, presents the viewer with the unedifying spectacle of Cave fondling Minogue’s breasts and thighs as she lies in a shallow pool of water, a snake curling its way between her legs."

Go read the whole thing. It's a good one.

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