Friday, December 7th, 2012

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – We No Who U R

Yes, this is a Ke$ha cover. Isn’t it?


Anthony Easton: Is this the most subtle cunnilingus metaphor since Leonard Cohen’s “Light as a Breeze,” or am I making dirty something that is haunting and sacred? That said, both Cave and Cohen have taught us that sexy, creepy, sacred, and Jesusy are not horribly different things. 

Brad Shoup: Nicholas, that title… what the hell, man? An ill-fitting wink for what’s essentially an existential trip-hop tune. His rococo excesses have never thrilled me, but I can deal with black comedy this muted.

Alfred Soto: Like leaves changing color and presidents’ hair going grayer, there are absolutes we can count on. Another is Nick Cave, swathed in echo and getting ponderous over something or other. The surprise is how un-ponderous this sounds. Apparently Cave heard Leonard Cohen’s I’m Your Man and The Future and decided to program his own Casio while a femme singer cools sympathetic, blank accompaniment. Next time he can program some heat. 

Alex Ostroff: I’ll cop to not being that familiar with Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, but I always thought that they had a harder edge to them. Regardless, ‘We No Who U R’ mostly just makes me excited to see Leonard Cohen in concert with my mother this Friday, and reminds me that there are very few people who can pull off Cohen’s shtick and still remain remotely interesting, let alone vital.

Ian Mathers: The whole Grinderman thing was, let’s be honest, embarrassing; but at least it had the febrile, desperate intensity of the middle aged male slowly realizing just how out of touch he was, and it probably fostered the nasty good humour of Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!, one of the few decent things Cave’s been able to produce in the last couple of decades (he’s still lauded, but honestly he’s been more successful as a screenwriter than anything else since The Proposition at least). DLD!!! partly succeeded because Cave embraced his inherent stentorian ridiculousness and used it, but here the song seems to be reaching for something quiet, maybe elegiac, and instead it just sounds puny. Cave in full flight has sometimes been glorious, often been annoying, but on this scale it just sounds like very weak sauce indeed.

Edward Okulicz: I’m into this, but not without reservation.  It would have been better if it had been a bit more gothic-horror (a la “Red Right Hand”) or wittily macabre (a la Murder Ballads) or moodily pensive (a la The Boatman’s Call) or fiery (like his 80s output), or even if it had been more Cohen-esque than it already is — but you gotta sing from your gut, not croon from your heart, Nick! He can do so many things that “We No Who U R” smacks of something that falls between some of his stools.

Jonathan Bogart: Angling for that Lana Del Rey duet, huh, Nicky?

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