I saw Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds last weekend at the Myer music bowl and as usual, he put on a great performance. Aside from thoroughly enjoying the concert, it also had me thinking about how I’ve often found inspiration in Nick Cave’s songs. Several of my poems and stories have been directly inspired from his music: the narratives, metaphors and images replete throughout his discography tend to stay with me until I have to write something with it.
His creative drive also is something to admire and aspire towards. To be relentlessly creating throughout addiction and loss, but also happiness and domesticity exemplify his artistic drive. This recent article in the guardian goes into more detail about Cave’s creative process and the new album.
I heard somewhere that Into My Arms was written for his father, who died suddenly when Cave was 19, and there is a melancholia to the song, as with most of his love songs. In his lecture on the love song he talks about the need for sadness in a love song:
Looking back at these twenty years a certain clarity prevails. Midst the madness and the mayhem, it would seem I have been banging on one particular drum. I see that my artistic life has centered around an attempt to articulate the nature of an almost palpable sense of loss that has laid claim to my life. A great gaping hole was blasted out of my world by the unexpected death of my father when I was nineteen years old. The way I learned to fill this hole, this void, was to write. …The great W.H. Auden said “The so-called traumatic experience is not an accident, but the opportunity for which the child has been patiently waiting – had it not occurred, it would have found another- in order that its life come a serious matter.” The death of my father was the “traumatic experience” Auden talks about that left the hole for God to fill. How beautiful the notion that we create our own personal catastrophes and that it is the creative forces within us that are instrumental in doing this. We each have a need to create and sorrow is a creative act. The love song is a sad song, it is the sound of sorrow itself. We all experience within us what the Portuguese call Suadade, which translates as an inexplicable sense of longing, an unnamed and enigmatic yearning of the soul and it is this feeling that lives in the realms of imagination and inspiration and is the breeding ground for the sad song, for the Love song is the light of God, deep down, blasting through our wounds.