This is the first song from Nick Cave to feature in the Music Library Project. What entails the ‘Music Library Project’?
Nick Cave is one of Australia’s most successful musical exports in Alternative – Indie music. When people cite great influential songwriters and poets of the last few decades Nick Cave’s name is often in the mix. Today’s song Bright Horses is from his most recent record Ghosteen (2019) which was written in the aftermath of the death of Cave’s son Arthur in 2015. This record is recognised as one of his most powerful, a meditation on mortality and our collective grief.
Nick’s trying to process and wrestle this grief is all there to see on Bright Horses. He at his most rudimentary here in terms of just letting his heart do the writing. I find my eyes welling up with tears as he clambers on to find faith and hope in this time of extraordinary suffering. It’s as though this grief has opened a new transcendent portal in his consciousness.
And everyone has a heart and it’s calling for something
And we’re all so sick and tired of seeing things as they are….
Oh, oh, oh, well, this world is plain to see
It don’t mean we can’t believe in something, and anyway
My baby’s coming back now on the next train
I can hear the whistle blowing, I can hear the mighty roar
Read full lyrics here.
The horses become the metaphor for his son’s memory, or his spirit. His wild care-free spirit with its mane full of fire. And Nick imagines himself sitting by his side, holding his hand. He knows the memories aren’t a replacement for his real son, and it won’t bring him back, but he’s sick and tired of using logic to explain to himself what has happened – horses are just horses, fields are just fields, the world is full of tyrants, and that his son really isn’t the little shape dancing at the end of the hall. But that ‘doesn’t mean we can’t believe in something’.
Upon its release, Ghosteen was met with widespread critical acclaim. It received several perfect scores and is the highest-rated album of 2019—as well as the second highest-rated album of the 2010s—on Metacritic. Ghosteen marks the 40th anniversary of Nick Cave’s recording career and more songs from this record will feature in this music library project.
Absolutely stunning. I cried. Almost too much…
It is indeed. Sometimes we need a good ol’ cry Bruce. I can’t remember the last time a song impacted me as much ‘Bright Horses’ did after first listen. I still find it exceptionally moving.
Agreed! It is masterly!
Their are many special moments in it, but when he sings ‘And I’m by your side and I’m holding your hand’ takes my breath away. So beautiful.
I like the horses’ manes aflame…
Very haunting…I’m learned more about him recently. I like this.
You can feel his sense of redemption and futility in the same breath. It’s just brilliant how he has conveyed his conflicted emotions and then to end on something so resolute. Did you see Cave’s documentary 20000 days on Earth?
No I didn’t. I’m still learning more about him. I saw a post by him about what is happening right now.
I will make sure to see that. He is an interesting artist and I didn’t know he has been around so long.
I’m also still learning more. I came across his music early in my life starting with ‘The Ship song’ on ‘the Good Son’ album which I wore out to death. The Ship song is one of the greatest songs I’ve ever heard btw.
I didn’t really gel with his stuff and I still don’t like I do with Cohen or Dylan, but my God has he got some great material out there if you are in the mood. He reminds me a lot of Cohen regarding his obsession to poetry, personal growth and spirituality. He has a more Gothic mystical side, but he’s a good egg and a talented so and so Haha.
Yea I’ve learned more from the bloggers like you about him. I didn’t realize he was in the 80s until I was checking out the charts. I’ve liked what I’ve heard.
Not one you can just listen to at a party…but neither is a lot of the stuff I like.
I think I may have mentioned to you before about ‘Tupelo’ from the 80s. Drop all tools if you haven’t heard this song of his. Lol
LOL…done I will listen to it tonight Matt.
The music video sucks. I recommend just listening to it audio if you can. Cave’s music can take eons to catch onto I find.
Cohen is a good comarison you did.
They are / were both obsessed with the words driving the song. Have you heard Bright Horses again? It’s masterful don’t you think
That one made my heart hurt. I can’t imagine creating something that beautiful out of anguish but I hope I could….he certainly did.
I love it, although it’s takes some courage to fully invest oneself in it for the entirety of the song.
Oh, yeah. Totally agree.
Just more of a reason to love this guys works. Good choice Matt.
One heck of an album that Ghosteen. I’m glad you liked Bright Horses CB
Bright Horses is incredible, the heartache is so real in the song. Losing his son is so unimaginable, I’ve lost several siblings in the last few years. When I listen to this song I think of my brother Dave, “And I’m by your side and I’m holding your hand
Bright horses of wonder springing from your burning hand.” I have tears in my eyes as I write this, such a song of brokenness that anyone who has lost someone close will understand. Thanks Nick your a true artist!!
Thanks very much for sharing your connection with the song. I’m sorry to read about your recent losses in your family. It’s important we can find ways to grieve and if this song acts as a means to do that – then all the better. Cheers Doug.