For all the righteous fury of his early years, Nick Cave has learned that songwriting can be a delicate business. How to articulate the most personal and internal thoughts in a way that successfully conveys their sentiment but doesn’t diminish their mystery? Cave’s current album Ghosteen successfully navigates such concerns, of course. Despite arriving on a flotilla of mythic creatures and peppered with haunting, magical visions, Cave’s contemplative maturity, wisdom and humanity are never other than fully present on Ghosteen. There might be horses, flamingos and lions on the cover; but the music itself is inspiring and uplifting.
This month’s cover story is a deep dive into Ghosteen – telling the story of its genesis and mapping Cave’s evolving creative processes over his last three albums. Key collaborators and friends including Andrew Dominik, Marianne Faithfull and Bobby Gillespie offer their insights, while a trove of unpublished photographs and sketches help bring this “gospel record of love songs” vividly to life. We hear, also, from Cave himself and Warren Ellis.
If Ghosteen was one of our albums of 2019, you might find some early favourites for 2020 among this year’s Preview – our biggest ever survey of forthcoming albums. We’ve news and revelations on 21 releases, including those by Paul Weller, The Weather Station, Rolling Blackouts CF, Patti Smith, Shabaka Hutchings, Khruangbin, Stephen Malkmus, David Crosby, The National and more. So far, we’ve heard some or all of about half these records – and I’m pleased to report that 2020 looks set to be a robust year for new music.
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