Monday 22 August 2011
Monday Musical Meme
Having adopted Silent Sunday, I've decided to join another meme, Mammy's Musical Monday Meme. I love reading other people's memes but I don't join in very often because if you do a meme every day of the week, there's no room to post just, well, blog posts! But I love music and I don't listen to enough these days. I think each week I'll explore one of my favourite artists and offer three songs of theirs.
I came late to Nick Cave, as a teenager I found him too intense, too inward looking and just a little bit intimidating. I wanted rage, I wanted social comment, and no one delivers that better than Nick Cave, however he wasn't direct enough for me at that time and I preferred to listen to directly angry music like Hunters and Collector and Midnight Oil. As I've got older, I've become more introspective, more keen to explore social nuances and depth of complex emotions.
I like this rendition of his classic "Ship Song", because its complex, so many different artists, representing different parts of Australian music and culture, altogether at the Sydney Opera House, interpreting this song. I love how all these different artists can find meaning in this piece of music And it sends shivers down my spine, it makes me cry, and it makes me so desperately homesick. Watching this I feel so apart from everything Australian, and I miss it so very much. And perhaps, its no surprise, that both Nick Cave and I have left Australia and made our homes in the UK, that in Australia we couldn't be the person we wanted to be, that we sought the mother country to make our adult home. I find it comforting that Nick, like me, seems to be stuck between being Australian and being English or perhaps European.
This was the first Nick Cave song I heard, one Friday night on RAGE, the ABC all night music programme, that made me really sit up. The lyrics, the passion and the midly ridiculous but compelling video. And it was this song that I thought about when Joseph was in hospital, when I heard him cry I would think "he is merely crying, his weeping is yet to come".
I love Nick Cave's music because he can at once deeply unsettle but also comfort. His voice is perhaps best suited to reading poetry, he sounds almost uncomfortable when he sings, and I like that. He reminds me very much of Leonard Cohen, another brilliant songwriter, whose songs never quite sound right sung by someone else, yet who himself, is not technically a brilliant singer.
I've struggled with the last song to leave you with, there are so many to chose from, but I've chosen perhaps the easy way out, and leave you with the original "Ship Song".
I adore how Nick Cave can pen a perfect love song, and not use that word. Simple, yet complicated, direct, yet not. Nick Cave reminds us, living abroad, that Australian music can be complex and brilliant and reach all of us, no matter whether we live in Melbourne or Manchester.