Skelton Tree is an odd album. It isn’t dissimilar to much of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ discography, yet at the same time it just feels hollow, and not in a bad way, just in a atmospheric one.
The reason for that is probably that Nick Cave’s son died in the middle of the recording of the album. He died after the lyrics were made however so there are no hidden autobiographical messages, but his death is important to the album because you can feel it in how Cave makes the album move and grind emotionally towards the end.
The artwork of the sixteenth studio album by the group.
Nick Cave is probably the only artist from the 1980s who is still expected to release a great record each time, there is no one who you can compare him to, he has had better albums than Skeleton Tree, but few people would call this album the weakest in his catalogue, but if I were to make a list of best albums made by 59 year olds, Skelton Tree would probably be at the top.
There is a very simple issue with the album however, it has few hooks and it has few really grabbing songs. The album uses multiple non-standard song structures and it feels incredibly unpolished, and to all that the fact that the album changes genre every five minutes and you shouldn’t have a good album.
Australian Nick Cave first gained fame in Post Punk group The Birthday Party.
Songs like Jesus Alone, Rings of Saturn, I Need You and Skeleton Tree are all-great, but to a certain point the songs on the record all flow seamlessly with each other despite all the experimentation done by Cave.
The album is emotionally devastating and it rawness can result makes it uncomfortable during the albums playtime, it’s probably one of Cave’s least accessible albums, but the thing is it still feels like it could be one of his best.