Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
"Abattoir Blues / The Lyre of Orpheus"
1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die
The surprise I found listening to this album after reading its praise in “1001 Albums” was which half packed which emotional punch. It seemed obvious based on Stan Jarin’s review, as well as the titling, that “Abattoir Blues” was the downtrodden half and “The Lyre of Orpheus” was the upbeat half. It was not so.
“Abattoir Blues” (part one of the double album) was not all that bluesy. It opens with the rousing “Get Ready For Love” and follows with other upbeat tracks like “There She Goes, My Beautiful World” and “Hiding All Away,” (my favorite track on either half of the album). After listening to the opener and the second track, “Cannibal’s Hymn,” the album was living up to the sexuality emphasized in the write up by quoting the song “Babe, You Turn Me On:” “I put one hand on your round, ripe heart, and the other down your panties.”
I would be surprised to find out that “The Lyre of Orpheus” half wasn’t nearly as raunchy as Jarin made it out to be. In fact, there was a hell of a lot more blues on that half than the blues-titled first half. Not that I’m complaining.
Personally, I enjoyed the first of the two halves better. It’s music for a good time. Listening to both halves simultaneously might have been a mistake however. “The Lyre of Orpheus” was certainly full of pretty, sad songs. Taken by itself, and not juxtaposed with it’s jumpier counterpart, it might yet shine through as the better of the halves. Nick Cave has a way with words, no matter what the mood.
Based on the critics who reviewed the two halves separately, the jury is still out. I would recommend both sides for a listen however. I enjoyed it a heck of lot more than I did the Bad Seeds’ 2008 release, “Dig, Lazarus Dig!!!”
INTERESTING FACT: An “abattoir” is a fancy way to say slaughterhouse.