Murder Ballads Explicit Lyrics
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|2. Stagger Lee|
|3. Henry Lee|
|4. Lovely Creature|
|5. Where The Wild Roses Grow|
|6. The Curse Of Millhaven|
|7. The Kindness Of Strangers|
|8. Crow Jane|
|9. O'Malley's Bar|
|10. Death Is Not The End|
Limited Edition Version with a Full Color Lyric Booklet, and a Gatefold Deluxe Digi-pack.
Nick Cave's been writing songs about killing and other evil things since he first surfaced in 1980 as the Birthday Party's pale, skinny, goth-punk Jim Morrison. But the murder ballads that provide this set's title are different, tantalizingly deliberate. Sure, there's plenty of trademark Cave here, but Murder Ballads is a fascinating concept album that uses the narrative ballad form of the English folk tradition to tell of murder: random deaths, passion crimes, and killing sprees, all in one package. Cave clearly thrives in this genre, and he produces some of his sharpest and most facile writing to date. "Song of Joy," a genuinely scary campfire mystery of a murdered family and an unnamed killer, chillingly weaves clues into the lyrics, while "Where the Wild Roses Grow" is a narrative duet in which killer (Cave) and victim (pop star Kylie Minogue) reveal parallel tales. Cave even shows his knack for adaptation on Bob Dylan's "Death Is Not the End": he recontextualizes a song of heavenly comfort into a sort of zombie "We Are the World" (featuring Minogue, PJ Harvey, Shane MacGowan, and others) in which "death is not the end" of pain and suffering. Above all, Murder Ballads should be heard as a work of pulp fiction--as sensationally funny as it is harrowing. The already violent traditional song "Stagger Lee" becomes gangsta folk, so ridiculously packed with obscenity and brutality it would make the Geto Boys cringe. And Cave's (unintentional?) point to would-be censors--that bad-ass songs existed long before rappers polluted the airways--should not be missed. --Roni Sarig
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Top Customer Reviews
There really isn't a weak number on the album, but if there is a touch that truly marks this out as a special album, it is the ironic song that closes the album, a rather obscure Bob Dylan song entitled "Death is not the End."
In retrospect, this album, which summed up all the reflections on death and violence that could be found on Cave's previous albums, took the theme to a level where he had nowhere else to go. In a way, this may have prepared Cave's transition to a more religious perspective. I am reminded of the words someone spoke to J.-K Huysmans after he published AGAINST NATURE: the view of life express in it was so bleak that, his friend said, afterwards the only two options were the church or the noose.
So we thought. At closer inspection, Murder Ballads actually stays on a very parodic path, with even the sickest, most gruesome ballads retaining a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. Take, for instance, "Stagger Lee," a song too vulgar and twisted to even begin describing in an Amazon.com review, yet I doubt anyone could make it through the song without displaying a wildly goofy grin. "Lee" is a hit (or, more accurately, a PUNCH) that was both a daring and magnificent move for Cave, worth the price of the album alone.
The rest of Murder Ballads holds other surprises as well. Cave's use of female vocalists in several numbers (both in foreground and background) is inspired, especially in "Where the Wild Roses Grow," one of the best and more serious songs on the disc. The dark tale is told with enough haunting recollection to make goose bumps sprout in places you've never imagined.
With all the violent outbursts put forth into Murder Ballads, it was appropriate to end with Dylan's "Death Is Not the End." Here we are given a showcase of all the vocalists in the record, each declaring in their unique style, "Just remember, death is not the end." A word of comfort, perhaps? Hard to say; since Murder Ballads is such a blackly humorous, twisted album to begin with, this last number is almost too cheerful and hopeful, providing quite the opposite effect.Read more ›
The title says it all, Cave and his Bad Seeds have taken the age-old murder ballad and had their wicked way with it and would now like you to hear the fruits of their labour. Not all of these songs are old murder ballads, and those which are tend to be present with slight alterations or in lesser-known forms, but they all would not sound out of place at any time in history. The reason being that they deal with topics such as cold-blooded murder, obsessive passion and crazed hatred which are not alien to any culture.
The opener, "Song Of Joy", is full of typical Cave irony. The title refers to the wife of the singer - killed in a particularly brutal fashion, as the song reveals. Of course, the idea of naming such an unrepentantly nasty song "Song Of Joy" is only what we have come to expect from this tortured genius. Cave's wit surfaces with such moments as the description of the wife becoming sad and "Joy in name only". As the song goes on, Cave weaves in a reference to Milton's "Paradise Lost" (interestingly enough, the same section which gave him the title of an earlier song) and gives some very tantalising clues to the killer's identity. A word of warning, listening to this song at night as not overly recommended, the atmospheric nature of gloom is more than all-pervading.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Do not buy this vinyl!!! There are two B sides on the first record, and no A side to be found! Buy the CD instead, because musically it's a great album.Published 7 months ago by Anne-Sophie
one of the greatest albums ever made, this should still be on the top of the charts its that goodPublished 15 months ago by polka music best music
If Let Love In (Collector's Edition) could not be considered a sufficient comeback after the rather weak Henrys Dream (Rm) (Enhanced), this album certainly can. Read morePublished on Nov. 23 2012 by brotagonist
Prurient? Nefarious? Perhaps.
Also, lush and beautiful odes that take one mysteriously beyond the subject matter and into strangely soothing realms. Read more
Ah, dearest Nick Cave, you are music's last hope. How perfect an idea to sing little folksy, countryish ballads about gruesome murders. Read morePublished on Oct. 7 2002 by DerUeberMensch
Nick's finest, in my humble opinion. "Stagger Lee" is simply one of the best songs EVER!!!!!!! Every cut is unbelievable.Published on Aug. 11 2002
A co-worker said to me "If you love Tom Waits, then you'll love Nick Cave." And since I am a die-hard Waits fan, I bought this album on his recomendation. Lord, was he wrong. Read morePublished on July 16 2002 by S. Dufrechou
This album is Nick Cave to the hundredth power. His obsession with violence, love, death, and Southern culture (and how they all relate) populate this album like a disease -- the... Read morePublished on June 18 2002 by eRgO