Nick Cave Details Why He Doesn't Make Protest Songs

“Songs with political agendas inhabit a different space.”

Music
9,205 Hypes 10 Comments

Back in March, legendary Australian multi-hyphenate musician Nick Cave thoughtfully explained why he won’t change old “problematic lyrics” in an open discussion with his fans. “These days, some of my songs are feeling a little nervous. They are like children that have been playing cheerfully in the schoolyard, only to be told that all along they have had some hideous physical deformity,” he explained on his website The Red Hand Files. Now he’s tackling the topic of ‘The Protest Song’ and why his music doesn’t fall into that category.

The letter comes on the heels of a wave of protest songs aimed at police brutality and the widespread Black Lives Matter movement raising awareness of the systemic racism that plagues the United States of America. A fan reached out to Cave, saying, “I love your music and its ability to relate common suffering, as you have discussed in the past. Do you ever look back at your anthology and wish you had been more overtly politically outspoken – referring to activism rather than politics per se – in your art?”

Cave opens up the letter describing his music, saying, “Perhaps the thing you enjoy about my songs is that they are conflicted, and often deal in uncertainties and ambiguities.” Back in October 2019, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds released Ghosteen to widespread acclaim from fans and critics alike. Read Cave’s response below:

Songs with political agendas inhabit a different space. They have little patience for nuance, neutrality or impartiality. Their aim is to get the message across in as clear and persuasive a manner as possible. There can be great value in these sorts of songs, but they are usually born from a particular combination of rigidity and zealousness, which I personally do not possess. My songs seem to be resistant to fixed, inflexible points of view. They have, as you say, a concern for common, non-hierarchical suffering. They are not in the business of saving the world; rather they are in the business of saving the soul of the world.

I guess I could write a protest song, but I think I would, in the end, feel compromised in doing so, not because there aren’t things I am fundamentally opposed to — there are — but because I would be using my particular talents to deal with something I consider to be morally obvious. Personally, I have little inclination to do that. It’s just not what I do.

Read the full letter via his The Red Hand Files website. In more music news, The Streets have shared another new single, “Falling Down”, from the upcoming mixtape None Of Us Are Getting Out Of This Life Alive.

Read Full Article

What to Read Next

Portugal Coach Fernando Santos Says He Doesn't Regret Benching Cristiano Ronaldo
Sports

Portugal Coach Fernando Santos Says He Doesn't Regret Benching Cristiano Ronaldo

The soccer star only made his way on the field as his team was trailing 1-0.

Los Angeles Declares October 1 "Bad Bunny Day"
Music

Los Angeles Declares October 1 "Bad Bunny Day"

“LA’s population is 50% Latino.”

Off-White™ Re-Releases the Virgil Abloh and Jenny Holzer T-Shirt to Benefit Planned Parenthood
Fashion

Off-White™ Re-Releases the Virgil Abloh and Jenny Holzer T-Shirt to Benefit Planned Parenthood

100% of the proceeds will benefit the reproductive healthcare non-profit.


Parisian Brand côte&ciel's FW22 Collection Delicately Balances Fabrics, Form and Functionality
Fashion

Parisian Brand côte&ciel's FW22 Collection Delicately Balances Fabrics, Form and Functionality

A modular collection that features reflectivity, ready for the darker months ahead.

(multee)project Launches Self-Cleaning Face Masks in Two Sizes
Fashion

(multee)project Launches Self-Cleaning Face Masks in Two Sizes

A portion of the proceeds will go towards #GetUsPPE.

New Balance Celebrates Kawhi Leonard's California Homecoming with OMN1S "First Light"
Footwear

New Balance Celebrates Kawhi Leonard's California Homecoming with OMN1S "First Light"

The two-tone style is inspired by California’s sunny weather and summertime hoops culture.

Valentino Sues Landlord of Flagship Fifth Avenue Store
Fashion 

Valentino Sues Landlord of Flagship Fifth Avenue Store

The Italian brand wants out of its lease on the New York City shop.

Beastie Boys and Spike Jonze Revisit Their Early Years on Rick Rubin's Podcast
Music

Beastie Boys and Spike Jonze Revisit Their Early Years on Rick Rubin's Podcast

The frequent collaborators reminisce on their historic run.

Young Thug Joins Diplo for 'Fortnite's Next "Party Royale" Concert
Gaming

Young Thug Joins Diplo for 'Fortnite's Next "Party Royale" Concert

Officially titled “Diplo Presents: Thomas Wesley With Special Guests Noah Cyrus and Young Thug.”


Artists Launch Initiatives to Benefit Black Lives Matter and Justice Organizations
Art 

Artists Launch Initiatives to Benefit Black Lives Matter and Justice Organizations

Including Alexis Eke’s ‘Waters’ print, a charitable print sale called See In Black and more.

adidas Officially Announces YEEZY QNTM "Barium"
Footwear

adidas Officially Announces YEEZY QNTM "Barium"

The QNTM’s first mass market release will be available in full family sizes.

A New Photographic Series Makes the Most of Lockdown Props
Art

A New Photographic Series Makes the Most of Lockdown Props

A photographic series created amidst the confines of lockdown.

Novak Djokovic Has Tested Positive for Coronavirus
Sports

Novak Djokovic Has Tested Positive for Coronavirus

The world’s No.1 tennis player is “extremely sorry” for potentially spreading the disease.

Netflix Celebrates Creativity While at Home With New "HOMEMADE" Short Film Series
Entertainment

Netflix Celebrates Creativity While at Home With New "HOMEMADE" Short Film Series

Filmmakers from all around the world have produced diary entries, fictional films, and more.

More ▾
 
Subscribe to our Newsletter

Gain access to exclusive interviews with industry creatives, think pieces, trend forecasts, guides and more.

By subscribing, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Looks like you’re using an ad-blocker

We charge advertisers instead of our readers. Support us by whitelisting our site.

Whitelist Us

How to Whitelist Us

screenshot
  1. Click the AdBlock icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Under “Pause on this site” click “Always”.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the AdBlock Plus icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Block ads on – This website” switch off the toggle to turn it from blue to gray.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the AdBlocker Ultimate icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Switch off the toggle to turn it from “Enabled on this site” to “Disabled on this site”.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the Ghostery icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Click on the “Ad-Blocking” button at the bottom. It will turn gray and the text above will go from “ON” to “OFF”.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the UBlock Origin icon in the browser extension area in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Click on the large blue power icon at the top.
  3. When it turns gray, click the refresh icon that has appeared next to it or click the button below to continue.
screenshot
  1. Click the icon of the ad-blocker extension installed on your browser.You’ll usually find this icon in the upper right-hand corner of your screen. You may have more than one ad-blocker installed.
  2. Follow the instructions for disabling the ad blocker on the site you’re viewing.You may have to select a menu option or click a button.
  3. Refresh the page or click the button below to continue.