The Boatman's Call

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The Boatman's Call
Studio album by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Released March 3, 1997
Recorded June—August 1996 at Sarm West Studios, London, United Kingdom
Genre Alternative rock
Length 52:07
Label Mute/Reprise
Producer Flood, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds chronology
Murder Ballads
(1996)
The Boatman's Call
(1997)
The Best of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
(1998)
Singles from The Boatman's Call
  1. "Into My Arms"
    Released: 27 January 1997
  2. "(Are You) The One That I've Been Waiting For?"
    Released: 19 May 1997
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars [1]
Entertainment Weekly B+ [2]
Pitchfork Media (9.3/10) [3]
Record Collector 5/5 stars [4]
Rolling Stone 4.5/5 stars [5]
Uncut 5/5 stars[4]

The Boatman's Call is the tenth studio album by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, released in 1997. The album, which is entirely piano-based and a departure from the band's post-punk catalogue, remains one of the most critically acclaimed releases of Nick Cave's career.

Background and production[edit]

Recording for the album began at Sarm West Studios in London, United Kingdom in mid-1996, with "The Garden Duet", one of the album's outtakes, being the first song recorded. Though the bulk of The Boatman's Call was recorded at Sarm West, further recordings — including overdubs — were later done at Abbey Road Studios.

Musically, the album's tone is considered sombre and minimalist and marks a major departure for Cave and The Bad Seeds. Moving away from full-band arrangements and character-based narratives, the album's music and lyrics move towards the more intimate sound of Cave's solo voice accompanied by piano or a few other instruments. The tempo is also generally slow, reflecting many of the moods of the songs. Many of the lyrics seem to reflect on Cave's personal relationships and spiritual yearnings at the time of writing. Some songs are thought to be directed at either the mother of Cave's oldest son Luke, Viviane Carneiro (in "Where Do We Go Now But Nowhere?") or PJ Harvey, with whom he had a brief relationship around that time (as referenced in "West Country Girl", "Black Hair" and "Green Eyes").

Cave performed "Into My Arms" at the funeral of Michael Hutchence and demanded that the TV cameras be shut off for his performance out of respect for Hutchence. The song "People Ain't No Good" was also featured in the movie Shrek 2. In October 2010, the album was listed in the top 30 in the book, 100 Best Australian Albums.[6]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Nick Cave. 

No. Title Length
1. "Into My Arms"   4:15
2. "Lime Tree Arbour"   2:56
3. "People Ain't No Good"   5:42
4. "Brompton Oratory"   4:06
5. "There Is a Kingdom"   4:52
6. "(Are You) The One That I've Been Waiting For?"   4:05
7. "Where Do We Go Now but Nowhere?"   5:46
8. "West Country Girl"   2:45
9. "Black Hair"   4:14
10. "Idiot Prayer"   4:21
11. "Far from Me"   5:33
12. "Green Eyes"   3:32
Total length:
52:07

Bonus tracks[edit]

Outtakes and other songs[edit]

A number of other songs were recorded at The Boatman's Call sessions, some of which were later released as b-sides to the album's two singles and also on Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds 2005 compilation album, B-Sides and Rarities.

  • "The Garden Duet"
  • "I Do, Dear, I Do"
  • "Opium Tea" (released on B-Sides & Rarities)
  • "Sheep May Safely Graze" (released on B-Sides & Rarities)
  • "Wake Up My Lover"
  • "Farewell, Goodbye, So Long"
  • "I Got Another Woman Now, Dear"
  • "Little Empty Boat" (released as a b-side on "Into My Arms")
  • "Right Now I'm A-Roaming" (released as a b-side on "Into My Arms")
  • "Come Into My Sleep" (released as a b-side on "(Are You) The One That I've Been Waiting For?")
  • "Babe, I Got You Bad" (released as a b-side on "(Are You) The One That I've Been Waiting For?"')

Critical reception[edit]

The Boatman's Call received almost unanimous critical acclaim upon release with many reviewers citing it as Cave's most poignant album.

Personnel[edit]

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Technical personnel

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1997) Peak
position
Australian ARIA Albums Chart[7] 5
Austrian Top 40[8] 18
Belgian Albums Chart (Vl)[9] 4
Belgian Albums Chart (Wa)[9] 18
Dutch Top 40[10] 58
Finnish Albums Chart[11] 17
French SNEP Albums Chart[12] 26
German Albums Chart[13] 19
New Zealand RIANZ Albums Chart[14] 4
Norwegian Albums Chart[15] 2
Swedish Albums Chart[16] 3
Swiss Hitparade Chart[17] 32
UK Albums Chart[18] 22

Singles[edit]

Year Single Peak positions
AUS
[19]
FIN
[20]
NOR
[21]
NZD
[22]
SWE
[23]
UK
[18]
1997 "Into My Arms" 26 10 8 41 46 53
"(Are You) The One That I've Been Waiting For?" 67

References[edit]

  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "The Boatman's Call - Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds". Allmusic. 
  2. ^ Flaherty, Mike (1997-03-14). "The Boatman's Call Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2013-02-27. 
  3. ^ Berman, Stuart (2011-05-25). "Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds: Let Love In / Murder Ballads / The Boatman's Call / No More Shall We Part". Pitchfork Media. 
  4. ^ a b "Nick Cave / Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Boatman's Call CD Album". CD Universe. Retrieved 2013-02-27. 
  5. ^ Diehl, Matt (1997-03-20). "Nick Cave: The Boatman's Call : Music Reviews". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2007-12-05. Retrieved 2013-02-27. 
  6. ^ O'Donnell, John; Creswell, Toby; Mathieson, Craig (October 2010). 100 Best Australian Albums. Prahran, Vic: Hardie Grant Books. ISBN 978-1-74066-955-9. 
  7. ^ "australian-charts.com - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - The Boatman's Call". australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  8. ^ "Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - The Boatman's Call - austriancharts.at". austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  9. ^ a b "ultratop.be - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - The Boatman's Call". Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  10. ^ "dutchcharts.nl - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - The Boatman's Call". dutchcharts.nl. Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  11. ^ "finnishcharts.com - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - The Boatman's Call". finnishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  12. ^ "lescharts.com - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - The Boatman's Call". lescharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  13. ^ "charts.de". Media Control Charts. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  14. ^ "charts.org.nz - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - The Boatman's Call". charts.org.nz. Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  15. ^ "norwegiancharts.com - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - The Boatman's Call". norwegiancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  16. ^ "swedishcharts.com - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - The Boatman's Call". swedishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  17. ^ "Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - The Boatman's Call - hitparade.ch". Hitparade. Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  18. ^ a b "NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS | Artist | Official Charts Company". UK Albums Chart/UK Singles Chart. Official Charts Company. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  19. ^ "australian-charts.com - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Into My Arms". australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  20. ^ "finnishcharts.com - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Into My Arms". finnishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  21. ^ "norwegiancharts.com - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Into My Arms". norwegiancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  22. ^ "charts.org.nz - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Into My Arms". charts.org.nz. Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 April 2012. 
  23. ^ "swedishcharts.com - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Into My Arms". swedishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 April 2012.