Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Let Love In

Let Love In (1994)


1. Do You Love Me? 2. Nobody’s Baby Now 3. Loverman 4. Jangling Jack 5. Red Right Hand 6. I Let Love In 7. Thirsty Dog 8. Ain’t Gonna Rain Anymore 9. Lay Me Low 10. Do You Love Me? (Part 2)


That Nick Cave. He’s such a romantic. When he pleads, “do you love me like I love you?” during Let Love In’s opening cut, don’t you just want to squeeze him tight and smother him with cuddles and Valentine’s Day chocolates? What a charmer! Wait, hang on a minute…

“Blood running down the inside of her legs/The moon in the sky is battered and mangled.”

Oh, that’s right. He’s raping a little girl in this song. I forgot. That bastard!

If you’ll recall, the last time Nick devoted most of an album of songs to the topic of love with The Good Son, it wasn’t quite up to his usual standard of brilliance. Let Love In is definitely another album where love is the central theme, but the difference between it and its predecessor is that The Good Son was an album of love songs, and Let Love In is an album of songs about love – and the sorrow and pain that it often goes hand in hand with. Certainly, the fact that, in the title track, atop a bed of melancholy yet driving piano arpeggios, love is personified as “the punishment for all my former sins,” “my tormenter,” and several even nastier things indicates that these songs ain’t exactly “Love Me Do.” Love is a twisted, pain-bringing force on this album… I can’t say enough about how powerful the album opening and closing two-parter “Do You Love Me?” is. Most songwriters wouldn’t dare to even touch pedophilia as a lyrical topic, but Nick doesn’t just go there – like a great short story writer, he creates a character that may commit horrific acts, which are described in Nick’s usual terrifying and visceral yet eloquent way, but also has a soul—corrupted as it may be—filled with tragedy, conflict and turmoil. Way to go, Nick Cave, making me feel sorry for a made up child rapist. Asshole. Then, of course, he can turn right around and deliver “Nobody’s Baby Now,” a gorgeous romantic guitar ballad worthy of… I dunno, some renowned romantic poet. I actually don’t care for much poetry at all. Too much rhyming. I guess it’s the same in music, but in music there’s a melody. Poetry is just words on a page that rhyme and sound stupid when you read them. But that’s just my opinion. Once I told this asshole that I felt poetry was limiting in that it usually has to rhyme and fit a meter, and you know what he did? He scoffed and said, “Poetry is like a bird, and prose is like a potato.” Do you know who that asshole was? Billy Collins. Former poet laureate of the United States. For real. Look him up. And if you see him, tell him to shove his potato up his ass.

A result of hooking up with Birthday Party and Your Funeral… My Trial producer Tony Cohen, Let Love In was easily the most sonically polished and detailed Bad Seeds album to date upon its release. No more of that dead, thin sound that plagued all the 80s records… this stuff is radio ready. Hence, it produced three singles: the first was “Do You Love Me?” and the second was “Loverman,” where the enhanced production value audibly pays off. At its core, it’s a hard rock song that relies so heavily on soft/loud dynamics that Metallica got jealous and covered it on their 1998 Garage Inc. album. But with all the creepy backing vocals, extra percussion, Grand Canyon echo on the chorus and various other bits of ear candy, it’s… well, it’s sure as shit better than anything Metallica was doing around this time. The third single was “Red Right Hand,” which is probably the most popular Nick Cave song of all time due to its prominent placement in several movies and TV shows including, but not limited to, Scream and The X-Files. It’s easy to see why – it’s the perfect theme song for a creepy, mysterious villain! Or, to put it in the words of Nick Cave himself when he introduced it when I saw the Bad Seeds live in 2008: “this song is about a guy who walks from the back of the theater to the front. And from right to left. And also diagonally.”

The best tunes here are certainly at as high a level as the band had ever reached before, but the second-tier tracks seem a bit more perfunctory than they had in a while. The sneering rockers “Thirsty Dog” and “Jangling Jack” don’t have a whole lot to them aside from fast tempos and some sorta gnarly-sounding guitar riffing… though the former features a really odd and interesting rhythm and group backing vocals that sound to me like they take their inspiration from traditional Russian dance music. The latter, on the other hand, just features the ugliest Nick vocal I can ever recall hearing. Some might feel the same way about his near-Vegas-y overselling of the tongue in cheek self-eulogy “Lay Me Low,” but I actually think it works for the song, a drunken-sounding piano-and-organ spiritual. But ultimately, Let Love In is one of those half A and half B albums… split the difference and you’ve still got one of the Bad Seeds’ most diverse and melodic efforts. A good starting point for new fans.

Oh, and I really hope Nick Cave actually has “Let Love In” tattooed on his chest. That would be hilarious.

One Comment

  1. Avegail wrote:

    Who the fuck is denver geeltnmen, dont be playing silly buggers here, listen to me, nick cave is the shit alright meg? old nick cave not new old nick cave, like grinderman is a bit shit aye.

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