‘I don’t believe in an interventionist God,’ the opening line of the first track on this classic Nick Cave album. An album that is very dark but makes for great background music. How come pop music can sound great even when the lyrics speak of doom, gloom, and God-less despair? There is hardly one cheerful song, although ‘There is a kingdom’ does try to inject some hope for the future. It feels as if Cave is mourning some deep loss. Inevitably the loss of a lover if I’m hearing the songs right. His juxtaposition of faith in God with faith in the hope of recovered love is a common enough theme. It grates for me to write this, but even though some of the lyrics are just wrong (theologically wrong), you can feel the power of them… you know what Cave is getting at. Can our theodicy learn anything from lyrics like the one below?
Best lyric, in its context of course, is from brompton oratory:
No God up in the sky
No devil beneath the sea
Could do the job that you did
Of bringing me to my knees
Outside I sit on the stone steps
With nothing much to do
Forlorn and exhausted, baby
By the absence of you
there is a kingdom
(are you) the one that I’ve been waiting for?