Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

The Ship Song

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If Nick Cave has one absolute shining moment in his long career, it would almost certainly have to be this. The centerpiece of the excellent The Good Son album, which saw him and his Bad Seeds exploring a less-high-volume but still dramatically engaging approach to their attractive musical mélange, "The Ship Song" is as much as a romantic classic as anything Sinatra or Scott Walker was ever known for. Starting off with Cave's piano and Mick Harvey's soft vibraphone, then backed by some solid backing croons from Harvey and Blixa Bargeld, Cave softly intones, with just enough of an air of command and control, an astonishingly romantic lyric. With the band building up into a full arrangement as the descending chords of the chorus carries forward, Cave creates lines that feel like centuries-old classics: "Come sail your ships around me/And burn your bridges down/We'll make a little history, baby/Every time you come around/Come loose your dogs upon me/And let your hair hang down/You are a little mystery to me/Every time you come around." The guitars chime the melody just so, Thomas Wydler's drumming adds just the right punch and roll, and Harvey wraps up with a beautifully tender vibraphone part. Simply majestic.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
The Good Son 1990 Mute 5:14
No Image 1990 Mute
No Image 1991
Various Artists
Elektra 5:11
The Best of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds 1998 Reprise / Mute 4:42
The Videos 1998 Rhino
Lovely Creatures: The Best of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, 1984-2014 2017 Mute / Mute US 5:14