Nick Cave Albums Ranked

Nicholas Edward Cave AO (born 22 September 1957) is an Australian singer, songwriter, author, screenwriter, composer, and occasional actor, best known for fronting the rock band Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Cave’s music is generally characterized by his baritone voice, emotional intensity, a wide variety of influences, and lyrical obsessions with death, religion, love, and violence. Cave co-wrote, scored, and starred in the 1988 Australian prison film Ghosts… of the Civil Dead (1988), directed by John Hillcoat. He also wrote the screenplay for Hillcoat’s bushranger film The Proposition (2005) and composed the soundtrack with frequent collaborator Warren Ellis. The pair’s film score credits include The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007), The Road (2009), Lawless (2012), and Hell or High Water (2016).  Cave’s work has become the subject of academic study, and his songs have been covered by a wide range of artists, including Johnny Cash (“The Mercy Seat”), Metallica (“Loverman”) and Snoop Dogg (“Red Right Hand”). He was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2007, and named an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2017. Here are all of Nick Cave albums ranked.

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10. Ghosteen (2019)

“This album will gently rip your heart out and then put it back. Truly a treasure, I listen to it daily and still find new sounds and meaning. Doesn’t hurt to know the back story, gives added depth, but will touch you deeply nonetheless. Just a soul-changing album, highly recommended.”

9. Tender Prey (1988)

“The most famous song here is Mercy Seat, a harrowing tale of the last inchoate thoughts of a man condemned to fry and die. The cacophony of the instrumentation only reinforces the potency of the lyrics. And most of us know by now that Johnny Cash reciprocated Cave’s admiration of his work by covering Mercy Seat on one of his final recordings.”

8. The Good Son (1990)

“This is one of these happy albums of Nick Cave.There are good songs like “Weeping song” or “Ship song”.Ballads like “Sorrow child” and “Lucy” and one of my favorite sounding like western-style “Hammer song”.One way or another that’s the album I will recommend to someone who wants to be fun of Nick Cave or just want to be familiar with his music”

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7. No More Shall We Part (2001)

“This is a great album. The intelligence of the lyrics alone put this up there with Dylan’s “Blood on the Tracks,” but it’s more personal, and thus more immediate than even that great Dylan effort (and Cave’s a better singer). The religious themes of Cave’s songs (often allegories, such as “Fifteen Feet of Pure White Snow”(spiritual blindness)) may take some listener’s by surprise, but song craft and story telling quickly take over. In many of the songs, the gentle harmonies of Anna and Kate McGarrigle wrap around Cave’s singing, elevating them even further. This assistance is particularly dramatic in “O My Lord.”

6. Push The Sky Away (2013)

“I have always enjoyed the songs of his that have made movie sound tracks (such as “I will love you until the end of the world” and “Into my arms”). They are heartfelt and have a sense of passionate urgency that I very much enjoy. It was not until “Dig Lazarus Dig” that I found that I was enamored by a whole album. “Push the Sky Away”, to my take on his music, reverts to songs that I grown to love from the different sound tracks – a much more subdued energy – with a wonderful take on angst and passion.”

5. Abattoir Blues/The Lyre Of Orpheus (2004)

“Abattoir mixes elements of gospel, southern rock, blues with a Tom Waits-ish twist. Lyre transitions with a track that blends a sound between the 2 discs and then weaves into a folk-like manner of song for the rest of the album. The track, Breathless offers an original use of flute that adds an innocence not often heard in their songs.”

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4. Murder Ballads (1996)

“This is a collection of breathtakingly original, genuinely spooky songs, each telling a story from beginning to end. Where The Wild Roses Grow, Death Is Not The End, Henry Lee are all brilliant, but then so is every track on this album. If you like original music that has something to say, this is an album for you.”

3. Let Love In (1994)

“Particularly interesting is the juxtaposition of the two versions of “Do You Love Me?” which serve as the bread in this dark and chilling musical sandwich. The jaunty first version is filled with violent passion while the slow-paced second version is a macabre and profoundly disturbing tale of predatory pedophilia and torture. After long study of the lyrics, I have come to the conclusion that it may even reference a snuff film. Both are tremendous songs, filled with raw emotional power.”

2. Skeleton Tree (2016)

“This maybe very well be one of his top 5 albums. Sometimes great art can come out of tragedy and sorrow. This is very much the case. The words and music are haunting. Unlike some reviewers here who think the music is weak, I beg to differ. I loved the music. True, a lot of the lyrics are spoken and he may very well be influenced by his idol, Leonard Cohen, who has been doing exactly that for his 2-3 last releases.”

1. The Boatman’s Call (1997)

“For this album specifically… I like that most of the tracks seem more basic and raw than what I’m used to. It’s nice to focus on his voice and the lyrics with minimal theatrics. There are occasional religious references, both subtle and blatant, that I find intriguing in many of the songs. Without thinking too hard about it, my favorite tracks are probably (Are You) The One That I’ve Been Waiting For? (of course-that’s why I bought it in the first place), Brompton Oratory (which, by the way, is a Roman Catholic church), and West Country Girl (which I really feel showcases Cave’s capability for musical and lyrical genius).”