Earlier this year in March Bob Dylan released ‘Murder Most Foul’. Nick Cave wrote about the song in The Red Hand Files Issue #91 in April. Now in November I’m finally able to do what I couldn’t find time to do back then, and that is direct your attention to both.
That’s the power of the song. The individual song: just a few minutes in which people can stake their claim to immortality. Only music – and, I think, really only pop music in its many and varied forms – can do that. Only music can make such an instant and immediate impression […] In three minutes, a song can twist you and shout at your emotions. It can elevate you. It can fulfil a need you didn’t know you had. And then you can go back to the beginning and play it again and again and again.
But all speculation aside, the value of a song does not rest with the song itself, but rather the feeling it can provoke in the listener. What moves me may not move you. And so it goes. I see the effect the songs have on my audience when we perform them live so know that these value judgements have little intrinsic meaning […] The actual value of the songs is weighed entirely in the hearts of those who choose to receive them.
This secret knowledge you have is a strength that lives only inside certain people. It is a strength that will inspire you to do wondrous things – like write stories, or draw pictures, or build rockets that fly to Mars. It will give you the courage to take on anything that the world might put in front of you. It’s a wild power that can be of untold value to the world. Your name, Ptolemy, is a warrior’s name. A boy full of inspiration with a warrior’s name! The world is waiting for you. Blow ‘em away, kid.
I’ve been a subscriber to Nick Cave’s The Red Hand Files for a few months now, and the answers he’s given to the questions put to him have at turns been thoughtful, frank, honest, funny, cynical, optimistic and lyrical. The Red Hand Files, born out of Cave’s ‘small idea that people were in need of more thoughtful discourse’ separated from social media, is just simply a musician answering questions from people interested in him, his music, and the Bad Seeds, but it feels unique and yes, given the parlous state of communication between people currently, necessary. But overall The Red Hand Files stand as testament to the musician and artist that Nick Cave is.
As he continues to produce such diverse, forward-thinking records as Skeleton Key and Push the Sky Away so deep into his career, perhaps it’s time for the name Nick Cave to be uttered in the same breath as Messrs Cohen, Bowie et el – Transforming, Vibrating
Anybody can sing about being happy in love. A great love song is not actually singing about being happy, they’re not the ones that sell. The biggest sellers are torch songs […] Even for people that are in happy relationships, there is something about these kinds of songs that produces longing. It’s melancholic. It produces something unique in the human psyche that touches us. We all long for something, we don’t know what it is, and this kind of music produces that. It’s not because it’s sad music either. People are happy in this particular feeling for some reason – Robin Gibb, The Bee Gees
All love songs must contain denude. For the love song is never truly happy – Nick Cave, Love Song Lecture
“Wanna be where you are / you’re the right one” – Dirty Projectors, ‘Cool Your Heart’