Monday, April 21, 2008

A great album in the Nick of time...

Not many artists bother to include lyrics in CD booklets these days, mainly, I suspect, because they're too embarrassed by their moon/June rhyming schemes or non-sensical string of irrelevant non sequiturs. Refreshingly, Nick Cave's "Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!" -- one of 2008's best albums -- comes with a 56-page booklet consisting of lyrics (there are also a few pics of the rather ripe Bad Seeds and Cave, himself, growing facial hair seemingly inspired by Morgan Spurlock).

The art of lyric writing seems to be a dying art, alas, probably because many popular musicians spend their high-school years behind their instruments rather than books. But Cave's words are literary and, a rarity in rock, witty. In stand-out track "We Call Upon the Author to Explain," for example, Cave sings, "Bukowski was a jerk/ Berryman was best/ He wrote like wet papier mache/went the Hemming-way..."

Whereas the previous Bad Seeds album, a glorious double titled "The Lyre of Orpheus/Abbatoir Blues," had a rootsy, acoustic, and gospel sound, "Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!" is all hard edges; Cave bellows like the Devil's preacher over primal rhythms, tribal chants, snarling organ, and guitar-playing more anarchic than Neil Young's "Weld." Catchy tunes abound. Check out excerpts here.

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