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Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Dos: Day 283
Monday, Oct 22, 2012

“Where The Wild Roses Grow [feat. Kylie Minogue]”
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

1995

“♫ I nodded
my head/ as I
lay on the
bed/ “If
I show you
the roses will
you follow?”
♫”

Well, kneeling next to Kylie Minogue’s semi-naked body and touching it, how would that be for you?” “A religious experience” is how Nick Cave described caressing Kylie Minogue’s chest and body during the video shooting “Where The Wild Roses Grow.”

Cave reminisced about the experience when he explained, “It was close to a religious experience. I’d had a long-standing obsession with Kylie since she putout Better The Devil You Know, and I remember seeing her sing that on the television thinking: Fuck, I’d really like to see her sing something slow and sad. I think that would be a beautiful thing to see- this pop star sing something that was coming from the heart. And I set about writing songs for her and then the Murder Ballads came up and I wrote [“Where The Wild Roses Grow”] especially for her. It is a murder ballad, but that song is also a metaphor for my feelings about Kylie Minogue. One of pop music’s most violent and distressing lyrics” and “when Kylie Minogue sings these words, there is an innocence to her that makes the horror of this chilling lyric all the more compelling.”

If you think about it, “Where The Wild Roses Grow” is an odd paring. A sultry pop songstress who oozes with sex appeal and a literary poet with righteous rocker tendencies, think an Australian Shakespeare with penchant for murder ballads. But because these two Aussie icons are so different is what makes “Roses” work. It’s actually a morbidly beautiful love song that climaxes in death. Not your average fodder for a pop song but the murder gives it a more romantic gothic feel that Cave and Minogue bring to light in the stunning video.

Nick discussed how he came up with this ode and murder ballad for Minogue, when he said, “Where The Wild Roses Grow was written very much with Kylie in mind. I’d wanted to write a song for Kylie for many years. I had a quiet obsession with her for about six years. I wrote several songs for her, none of which I felt was appropriate to give her. It was only when I wrote this song, which is a dialogue between a killer and his victim that I thought finally I’d written the right song for Kylie to sing. I sent the song to her and she replied the next day.”

Images and allusions as roses to “Elisa Day’s” nether lips, corpse sex and S&M death games with such romantic language turns “Where” to an unrequited love ballad with murderous overtones. It’s the strings and lush feel of the songs that strip “Rose” from its homicidal intentions, into a doomed lover cursed by his loss. It’s a metaphor on how we purposely sacrifice relationships and then mourn the end of love at our own hands. Does this make us all murder balladeers? Maybe not but that’s what makes Nick Cave the King Ink of the Anti-Pop song. Nobody mixes murder and love better than Cave and his Bad Seeds. Rediscover the Bad Seeds ballad with a tongue for murder and a twinge romance… intrigued?

Kylie Minogue is the siren who’s figure and magical chest inspired the religious experience that became “Where The Wild Roses Grow.” Glimpse the signs with Nick Cave, Kylie Minogue and The Bad Seeds as your mystically lethal guides. Are you ready to believe?

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