The singer’s 17th album with The Bad Seeds came out at the start of last month.
Recently on his frequented newsletter, Cave has discussed “self-righteous” woke culture, Morrissey‘s recent declarations of far-right support and given a 16-year-old fan moving advice on body positivity.
In the latest instalment, a fan asks: “Many people have remarked that Ghosteen is a sad album, but I don’t think it is at all. In fact I don’t think I’ve ever heard a more uplifting, jubilant record before. Why do you think people are reacting so differently to it? I almost feel like I’ve misinterpreted it.”
Another question touches on whether ‘Ghosteen’ is a “haunted” album.
In response, Cave says: “I am very happy to hear you describe Ghosteen as uplifting and jubilant, Jonah. This was certainly the Bad Seeds’ objective when we made the record. We wanted each song to feel as if it were climbing toward an exultant and euphoric state, for the record to be a vessel that transported the listener far away from the world and its troubles, and that it lived in the jubilant and hopeful beyond.”
“If there is sadness in Ghosteen, perhaps it is the recognition that we are often blind to the splendour of the world and indifferent to its attendant wonder. Perhaps the sadness is the recognition that the world is indeed beautiful, that it spins within the palm of our own hands and its beauty is available to all, if only we had eyes to see.”
He goes on to agree that ‘Ghosteen’ is “haunted”, saying: “Perhaps the songs became a kind of free-floating conversation with the spirit world, buoyed up by the absence of the ones we love. Perhaps the ghostly forms of the departed are all around us, magnetised toward the act of creation.
“Perhaps they see that to be alive and upon the earth, at this time and against all the odds, is the most rare and coveted of things, and to be making art such a singular and fortuitous privilege, that they just wanted to come along for the ride.”
In a five-star review of ‘Ghosteen‘, NME‘s Elizabeth Aubrey calls the album “a beautiful account of harrowing grief,” adding: “‘Ghosteen’ is one of the most devastatingly accurate accounts of grief that you’ll ever listen to. Yet it’s also, astoundingly, one of the most comforting.
“Few mediations on grief manage to navigate despair and catharsis as well as this. Cave encourages us to candidly speak about grief, be it through wild imaginings, eerie hauntings or gentle longings. Only then, as he points out, can we find some sort of “peace of mind.”