Monday, 13 November 2017

The Genius of Nick Cave

#28: Night Of The Lotus Eaters [extended version]

One of Nick's most hypnotic and eerie songs, it's essentially based on Mick Harvey's three-note riff repeated over and over. Taken from 2008's 'Dig!!! Lazarus, Dig!!!' album, it's credited to the Bad Seeds, but sounds more like what Grinderman were doing around that time. In fact, the line-up - in the video at least - features only three Bad Seeds: Warren Ellis and Jim Sclavunos were both in Grinderman with Nick, but here it's Harvey in place of Martyn P. Casey.

The meaning of the song is rather opaque. In Greek mythology the lotus-eaters were a race of people living on an island dominated by lotus plants. The lotus fruits and flowers were the primary food of the island and were a narcotic, causing the inhabitants to sleep in peaceful apathy. Nick uses chivalrous symbolism for the role against the "philistines and barbarians" - a heater is a kind of shield and a sap is a short club. Therefore are the lotus eaters the brainwashed materialistic masses "roaming the shopping malls"? Is he urging us to fight back against our "catastrophic leaders" to keep our honour and integrity? Or am I way off the mark?



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