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Tender Prey

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Tender Prey + Let Love In (Vinyl) + Murder Ballads (2LP Vinyl)
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Jan. 12 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Mute U.S.
  • ASIN: B000003Z51
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #60,389 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. The Mercy Seat
2. Up Jumped The Devil
3. Deanna
4. Watching Alice
5. Mercy
6. City Of Refuge
7. Slowly Goes The Night
8. Sunday's Slave
9. Sugar Sugar Sugar
10. New Morning
11. The Mercy Seat (Video Mix)

Product Description

Product Description

It was Tender Prey that raised the delightfully unlikely specter of Nick Cave the pop star. What was even better was that the song that damn near did it--"The Mercy Seat"--was an epic litany relating the thoughts of a condemned prisoner awaiting his walk to the electric chair. "The Mercy Seat" is Cave and his Bad Seeds at their best: the former leavening his mordant tale with grim wit ("A ragged cup, a twisted mop . . . the face of Jesus in my soup"), the latter conjuring an appropriately demented squall of electric guitars and violins. Tender Prey was a massively important album for Cave: for the first time, he is unabashed about projecting his bleak and often misunderstood sense of humor and his ability to write as good a pop tune as anyone. Tender Prey is the beginning of Cave's voyage toward acceptance by the general public and perhaps himself. Everything good he's done since--and there's been an impressive amount--starts here. --Andrew Mueller

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

By Kurt Harding on April 10 2004
Format: Audio CD
I'm in the amen corner of the industry critic and a couple of the reviewers here who think that this is Nick Cave's best effort to this point. I've been a Cave fan now for only a couple of years, but now have all of his CDs and have had the good fortune to have seen him perform several times as well. So that should make me somewhat of an authority on his music, right?
Cave has always shown great talent despite that his earlier work is rather uneven in quality. Here on Tender Prey, he finally puts together an album worthy of that talent and as the industry reviewer says, he only gets better from this album forward.
The most famous song here is Mercy Seat, a harrowing tale of the last inchoate thoughts of a man condemned to fry and die. The cacophony of the instrumentation only reinforces the potency of the lyrics. And most of us know by now that Johnny Cash reciprocated Cave's admiration of his work by covering Mercy Seat on one of his final recordings.
Mercy Seat is not by any means the only great song on the album. I like the darkly humorous Up Jumped the Devil, the yearning piano ballad Watching Alice, the brooding quasi-religious Mercy, the morbid Sunday's Slave, and the strident warnings of Sugar Sugar Sugar. Each of these songs, as well as others not mentioned show that Cave has come of age both as a musician and a songwriter.
Unlike a couple of reviewers, I don't feel that the inclusion of the second version of Mercy Seat is anticlimactic. I look at the two versions as the bread that envelopes this tasty musical sandwich. While this CD may not meet with the approval of those who are fans of Cave's earlier hard core goth punk, it should bring in new listeners who will grow to appreciate one of the finest new talents in a generation. Buy this, you'll see what I mean.
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Format: Audio CD
This was recorded all over the world at the height of Nick's heroin addiction. It really shows.
If he would only rerelease this as a live album, then maybe we, the fans, would stop wondering why this is on every goth "top 10" list ever written.
Listen to it again. It's so uneven and bassy. Perhaps that what's Nick wanted. But I find that a bit hard to believe cosidering the turmoil that was ruining Nick at the time.
The Mercy Seat - I love Nick Cave. I feel as though I have a firm grasp on his cynicism and anger. However The Mercy Seat has to be one of his worst songs. Most fans would shout "Blasphemer!!" But I challenge them to listen a bit closer. Is there any reason why Nick has to sing the chorus for over 7 minutes? The lyrics are wonderful. Yet for some reason, the song fails IMHO. The 4 minute version on Live Seeds is far superior. It seems like the song translates much better to acoustic guitar.
Up Jumped the Devil, Deanna, Mercy - All great songs with those fantastically literate lyrics. Up Jumped the Devil has such a cool showtune feel to it, sort of like a cabaret in Hell.
Watching Alice - It's ok. I love the lyrics. Nick really conveys a man's dissapointment in finding out that his private angel has a sordid sex life. Unfortunately the crappy bass mix really sours an otherwise awesome song.
Slowly Goes the Night - Blah! My least favorite Cave song of all time. Something about this really turns me off.
Sunday's Slave - Ehh. I like the rhythm.
Sugar, Sugar, Sugar - It's passable, obviously filler. Nick Cave filler is better than most though.
City Of Refuge - This is a close second to Slowly Goes the Night in terms of being Nick's worst song. It just doesn't go anywhere.
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Format: Audio CD
This is probably my favorite Nick Cave album. Musically, it's very diverse going from intense rock ("The Mercy Seat", "Deaana", "City Of Refuge") to beautiful increasingly melancholy ballads ("Watching Alice", "Mercy", "Slowly Goes The Night") to middle ground territory ("Up Jumped The Devil"), but all with an extremely dark, isolated, scenic atmosphere that only Nick Cave could conjure. Americana, Piano ballad, Gospel, old 50's rhythm and blues, and uncategoirzable...all are on full display here. Cave's music is so starkingly original and relentlessly emotional in its melancholy that he exists in a world all to his own, and is 10 times more dark than any dumb metal band or cheesy goth artist. His lyrics are equally powerful, ranging from pure stories of horror and redemption to more isolated tales of desire and depression. Listening to this sounds like listening to a troubadour from the anarchic remains of the world. If that sounds like something you can handle, then dive right in.
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By brotagonist TOP 1000 REVIEWER on Dec 5 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Tender Prey is an essential Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds album. It is the final of the so-called 'Berlin' albums, which are the masterpieces of Nick's career. It boasts some great songs, like The Mercy Seat, Up Jumped the Devil, Deanna, Mercy, City of Refuge, Sunday's Slave and Sugar Sugar Sugar. A must-have!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 40 reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
PREY BABY PREY April 5 2010
By K. H. Orton - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is quintessential Bad Seeds. If you're looking for an introduction, I'd say this is the place to start. If you must have only 1 in the Bad Seeds' welcome 7 album collector's edition re-issue campaign, this is it! It's not only a lot closer to the vinyl I remember, this long overdue re-master let's you hear every drop of blood falling from the end of a pin amdist the strum und drang.

As for the album itself, here's proof darkness & chaos can yield a New Day.

Without a doubt, "The Mercy Seat" is a tremendous feat & deservedly has become Cave's signature song. Despite the honor of being covered by Johnny Cash, The Bad Seeds' original remains definitive.

Close on the heels follows one of my personal favorites, the underrated, "Up Jumped the Devil", featuring priceless, one of a kind, tongue-n- cheek lines like: "my blood was blacker than the chambers of a dead nun's hearrrrrrt".

In addition, Tender Prey boasts another classic in the reckless Romantic abandon of "Deanna".

Elsewhere, you have the spooky voyeuristic longing for "Alice", tales of John the Baptist & killers lurking by the side of the road to the City of Refuge.

None of which accounts for the one-too-many, late night Sinatra reverie of "Slowly Goes the Night", a tune Cave admits having "this mad scheme that involved singing the song in tune...Never did get there" (despite the week it took to lay down the vocals).

All of which may give you some indication what they were up against coming up with this 1988 classic. Musically, an absolute mixed bag of misfits that band together in Wild Bunch camaraderie---leaving a beautiful corpse behind every time.

In terms of my personal tastes, this is one of the best albums of the mid to late 80's, along with Tom Waits' Rain Dogs & The Pogues' Fall from Grace with God. After this, Cave & co. would make a dramatic about face with the melodic, melancholy of The Good Son. In terms of the Bad Seeds, Tender Prey marks the end of an era.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
His best? Aug. 3 2001
By Bill R. Moore - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This is, without a doubt, Cave & The Seeds' best album up to this point, and many insist that it is their best to this day. It is the culmination of everything that they had been working toward up to this point, as good as ever, but more refined, better-sounding, smoother, in a word: better. This is their masterpiece. The Mercy Seat kicks things off and is one of the most astonishing songs I've ever heard in my life. The lyrics, matched with the crashing, momentum-gaining backdrop combine with the end result of one of the most intense song in Nick's or anyone else's catalog. This is simply one of the most powerful narraritives in contemporary music. This is one of the few songs that truly cannot be described-it has to be heard to be believed. To be sure, this is the highpoint of the album, but there are other highlights. Up Jumped The Devil is a pleasant rollicking, tongue-in-cheek tune of the type that Cave often indulges in. Deanna sounds like a 50's beach-ballad gone Satanic. Most of the rest of the album consists of Cave's trademark slow, brooding piano-led ballads, and the ones included here are some of his best ever. The seemingly upbeat, by contrast, and eminently beautiful song New Morning closes the album on a very nice note. Skip the shorter, tacked-on version of the Mercy Seat, it cannot top the original, and only serves to uproot the album's climax. However, the meat of the album (everything but it) is excellent, and serve to make this CD, surely, one of the most underrated out there. Essential.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Light Sparked By Darkness May 4 2003
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Audio CD
This record was a massive influence on me back in the day. True, it's a bit dated now, but at times it is a vivid example of what Nick Cave does best. Namely, making great pop songs out mankind's darker impulses. If the kids on American Bandstand ever heard "Deanna", they might say, "it has a great beat & you can dance to it!" Even if it might serve as the soundtrack to serial killer, Charles Starkweather's 1950's spree. "Mercy Seat" is a classic in Cave cannon. The fact that Johnny Cash recently deigned to cover it to stunning perfection on SOLITARY MAN is all the proof one needs.
My personal favorites are, "Up Jumped The Devil" & "So Slowly Goes The Night". "Devil" not only features an infectious groove, but the lyrics are flat out hilarious. A perfect example of Cave's unique brand of black humor. I mean, who can resist a line like, "blacker than the chambers of a dead nun's heart"?
On "Night" he sounds drunker than Shane Macgowan at 3 a.m. He seems to be channeling his inner Dino on this one. Cave's singing is so atrociously off-key, not to mention gleefully lugubrious, that it would do any Holiday Inn lounge lizard proud. But with closer inspection, you can actually hear the sound of a man eating his heart right off his sleeve. In truth, it's the lyrics that save the day. They are as devastingly honest as they are poetic. The whole thing's pure magic in my book.
The closer, "New Morning" is the other classic on this record. I love how he compares the moon & the stars (of one night too many) to "the troops that laid conquored". So, who says poetry is dead? Some listeners out there might as well be.
As for the rest, "City Of Refuge", "Alice" & "Mercy" each have their charms to commend them. "Sunday's Slave" & "Sugar, Sugar, Sugar" may not rank as Cave's most compelling work, but they don't bog the proceedings down. I just wouldn't count them among my reasons for coming back to this record.
So TENDER PREY is a mixed, well dated affair. But at day's end, it makes for a memorable cocktail. For my money, it makes light out of career sparked by darkness.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
the very best album from one of modern music's very best Nov. 17 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I'm no tourist when it comes to Nick. From The Birthday Party's essential recordings to "The Boatman's Call"...I am no stranger to the genius that is Cave. This, however, was, is, and always will be THE quintessential album by Cave and the Seeds. "The Mercy Seat"? My God...does music come any more powerful than this? For the sake of mankind, I hope not...I don't think we could handle it.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Please Disregard The One Star Review Of This Brilliant Record Oct. 15 2012
By Mark Abrahamsen - Published on
I don't normally like to review records, but giving this record a one star review is bad taste. That reviewer clearly doesn't understand Nick Cave and the very nature of true Goth-ish music. I've been a Nick Cave fan for a while, and I know Tender Prey is a brilliant record that not everyone is going to appreciate. So, I'll say it again, disregard the one star review and pretend listen through it for yourself.