Nick Cave’s palate is perversely broad in scope. The Australian veteran singer, songwriter and conductor is a complex storyteller, a master of the dark arts who is equally adept at touching the soul with the tenderness of an “Into My Arms” or a “Ship Song”.
Political songs, however, are not part of his DNA.
In a new entry to his Red Hand Files blog, Cave offered a thoughtful answer to a question about whether he wished he had addressed “political” issues in his songs.
I would do it if I could. Cave’s songs are almost written.
“I have very little control over the songs I write,” he explains. “They are built, incrementally, in the smallest way, and the greatest meaning is revealed after the fact. Often they are slippery and amorphous things, with unclear trajectories, position-free attempts to understand the mysteries of the heart. “
You might dare to write a protest song, “but I think, in the end, I would feel committed to doing it, not because there are no things that I fundamentally oppose, there are, but because I would be using my particular talents to deal with something that I consider it morally obvious. “Don’t hold your breath.” Personally, “she concluded,” I have little inclination to do so. It just isn’t what I do. “
While Cave’s musical works are not focused on activism or political issues, the ARIA Hall of Fame member is not afraid to speak his mind. In 2018, he criticized Israel’s cultural boycott as a “cowardly and shameful” movement.
Cave shared an email that he sent to Brian Eno, one of the artists promoting the boycott. Writing on his blog, Cave explained at the time: “I do not support the current government in Israel, but I do not accept that my decision to play in the country is some kind of tacit support for that government’s policies.”
The UK-based artist was criticized for playing two dates in Tel Aviv in 2017. The boycott “is partly why I am playing Israel, not in support of any particular political entity, but as a stance of principles against those who want to intimidate, shame and silence the musicians, “he explains, and that avoiding the nation” risks further entrenching positions in Israel in opposition to those you support. “