So yesterday I spoke about a few artists from the 90’s I listened to at the time, but don’t anymore. Seems like the logical thing to do is talk about the ones I still listen to now. Unfortunately for Australian music, but lucky for me in terms of keeping this nice and easy, there’s not actually that many – which is true of music from all over the world in reality, due in no small part to the fact that very late in the decade I lost all but a very small percentage of my CD collection, not many of which I’ve actively sought to replace.
Which means that you can consider this post more or less a testement to the most prolific of Australian artists, Nick Cave.
I acknowledged back in the 70’s that Nick Cave and his associated projects are of quite high import when it comes to Oz music, and there’s probably very little about his music and career that I can say that would be anything new to most people, but I can tell you that I had no interest whatsoever until Do You Love Me? was released from 1994’s Let Love In.
That song did very strange things to my head. I wrote a bunch of stuff in order to try and explain those things, but in reading it back I realised it got wildly divergent and veered distinctly into 18+ territory (probably not in the way that you might immediately think – I was talking about a common social phenomena and certain concepts that are treated as separate entities, when – while they’re not the same thing – can be part of one thing… Maybe not so much ‘strange things’, but something new to me at the time). So I think I’ll just omit it and say that I found it curiously evocative.
Perhaps more strangely, I maintained that Do You Love Me? was the only good Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds song, and it wasn’t until years later I realised how wrong I was with the release of No More Shall We Part in 2001. I guess you could call it the slowest seduction ever, and I played hard to get in the extreme because even then I was happy enough with a Best Of collection and NMSWP right up until last year. Thank God music doesn’t ever lose patience with listeners and just remains quietly persistent in sending out the signals to take notice. I’ve informally named The Mercy Seat (from 1988’s Tender Prey) as one of – if not the – greatest Australian songs of all time for a few years, but Let Love In is now my favourite of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ albums thus far.
Since it doesn’t feel quite right simply leaving it at that, I think Regurgitator also warrants a mention. Just because Tu Plang is the only Australian album from the 90’s I can remember literally hanging out to get my hands on. Wikipedia asserts it was released in 1996, but I’m almost sure that can’t be right (i.e. I could have sworn it was a year or two earlier than that). Other sources corroborate Wiki, so I guess my brain’s making up history.
Not that it matters, really. Kong Foo Sing was the debut single from Tu Plang, and I thought it was the best. song. ever. the moment I heard it. In part novelty, though they had more going for them than that and have quite a few choice tracks to their credit. If you listen to the lyrics, you’ll see this one’s about fortune cookies, named after the restaurant they came from.
Smiles abound – the cookie has spoken. Classic.
I did follow the ‘Gurge beyond their debut ( ! (The Song Formerly Known As) from the follow-up album Unit still gets a look-in every now and then), but from the 90’s, Nick Cave is the only Australian artist I (kinda) listened to then that I still play consistently. That might actually get a little disconcerting if I think more about it.