|Studio album by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds|
|Released||27 April 1992|
|Recorded||November–December 1991 at Sound City Studios in Van Nuys, California, United States|
|Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds chronology|
|Singles from Henry's Dream|
Henry's Dream is the seventh album released by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, in April 1992.
This album remains a big favourite amongst Bad Seeds fans, although Nick Cave himself was reportedly unhappy with the production by David Briggs. Briggs preferred a "live-in-the-studio" method he had used with Neil Young. This led to Cave and Mick Harvey re-mixing the album, and ultimately to the Live Seeds recordings, as Cave wanted the songs "done justice".
It was the first album to feature long-standing members Martyn P. Casey (bass) and Conway Savage (piano, organ), both Australian. The latter is a singer-songwriter in his own right and has contributed distinctive backing vocals to a handful of Bad Seeds songs; here he and Cave deliver a rousing duet in the chorus of 'When I First Came to Town'.
The album is considered by some to have a vague "concept", i.e. song narratives overlapping and/or sharing characters.
The lyrics of "Christina the Astonishing" are based on the life of Christina Mirabilis, a 12th-century woman generally regarded as a Christian saint.
Cave later claimed the songs were heavily influenced by street beggars he saw in Brazil. "They'd get their acoustic guitars with one or two strings and bang away and make a racket that had no sense whatsoever. It was very violent and seemed to come straight out of the heart. Very unmusical."
Henry's Dream was released on 29 April 1992 in the United Kingdom and on 12 May in the United States. The album was released on CD, 12" vinyl and cassette. Although released on Mute Records, international distribution was handled by a number of associated labels. Indisc issued the album in Belgium, Liberation Records in Australia, Alfa Records in Japan, Virgin Records in France and Greece, and Elektra Records in the United States. Australian pressings were available in a box set including with a three-track promo cassette and initial French pressings came with a promo CD including "Papa Won't Leave You, Henry," "Straight to You," "Brother, My Cup is Empty" and "Loom of the Land." Limited editions of other pressings came with an enclosed poster and t-shirt. A second pressing of the album was issued on 13 February 1996 throughout Europe and the United States. On 29 March 2010, Henry's Dream was reissued as a collector's edition CD/DVD set, including the remastered album, a 5.1 surround sound mix, bonus tracks, a short film about the album, the single's music videos, and exclusive liner notes.
The album's two singles—"Straight to You" and "I Had a Dream, Joe"—were released on 30 March and 31 August, respectively. The singles were a moderate commercial success. Both singles charted in Australia, at number 96 and 75, respectively, and "Straight to You" charted at number 68 in the UK Singles Chart and at number 7 in the Indie Chart in April 1992. "I Had a Dream, Joe" also reached number 10 in the Indie Chart upon its release.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds promoted the album with an initial tour across Europe, North America, Japan and Australia in 1992. The tour consisted of five legs and fifty-five concerts, and began in Norwich, England on 26 April 1992 and concluded in Brisbane, Australia on 12 December. In 1993, the band continued touring, adding a further two legs and twenty-three concerts in Australia, Europe and Israel, beginning on 24 January 1993 in Melbourne and concluding on 10 June in Düsseldorf, Germany. During the tour, the band performed at several music festivals, including Pukkelpop, the Reading Festival, Livid, Big Day Out and Via-Rock.
Selected recordings from the tour were featured on the band's first live album, Live Seeds (1993). Video recordings from the band's two shows in the Paradiso in Amsterdam on 2 and 3 June 1992 are featured on the live DVD Live at The Paradiso, released alongside the band's tour documentary The Road to God Knows Where (1990) in 2006.
|Drowned in Sound||8/10|
|The Great Rock Discography||8/10|
|The Village Voice||C|
Upon its release, Henry's Dream received generally positive critical acclaim. David Browne of Entertainment Weekly said the album "sets Cave's deep, dolorous voice and scab-picking lyrics to windswept, tote-that-barge arrangements" and that "Henry's Dream may finally demonstrate what the fuss is all about", awarding the album a B+ rating. Allmusic editor Ned Raggett noted that the album "showed the band in fierce and fine fettle once more", describing Cave's lyrics as "a series of striking, compelling lyrics again exploring love, lust and death" and said the songs "showcase the Seeds' peerless abilities at fusing older styles with noisy aggression and tension." Raggett also called "Loom of the Land" "one of Cave's best songs ever" and awarded the album four out of five stars. Spin and Rolling Stone both awarded the album four out of five stars. However, Robert Christgau, editor of The Village Voice's Pazz and Jop section, rated the album a C and said "if this is your idea of great writing, you may be ripe for his cult. Otherwise, forget it--the voice alone definitely won't do the trick." The remastered edition of Henry's Dream was also well-received. BBC Music reviewer Mike Diver referred to the album, and the remaster of Tender Prey (1988), as "anything but poor albums" and said that even without former member Roland Wolf "the instrumentation loses little of its potency, and religious imagery remains prominent in Cave’s wordplay." Alexander Tudor of Drowned in Sound called the songs "a masterclass in narrative songwriting" and referred to them as "favela-punk", adding that "the album’s atmospheric centrepiece conveys the mystery of faith (and the weirdness of folk traditions), rather than just rattling out a pretty tune."
Henry's Dream was listed in a number of album of the year lists, particularly in the United Kingdom. Melody Maker listed it as number 7 on their End of Year Critics List in 1992, NME ranked it at number 5 on its end of year list, and Vox listed it as number 14 in its Albums of 1992.
All songs written and composed by Nick Cave.
|1.||"Papa Won't Leave You, Henry"||5:54|
|2.||"I Had a Dream, Joe"||3:43|
|3.||"Straight to You"||4:35|
|4.||"Brother, My Cup Is Empty"||3:02|
|5.||"Christina the Astonishing"||4:51|
|6.||"When I First Came to Town"||5:22|
|7.||"John Finn's Wife"||5:13|
|8.||"Loom of the Land"||5:08|
|9.||"Jack the Ripper"||3:45|
|Australian ARIA Charts||41|
|Austrian Top 40||40|
|Dutch Top 100||70|
|German Albums Chart||59|
|Swedish Albums Chart||49|
|New Zealand Albums Chart||47|
|UK Albums Chart||29|
|1992||"Straight to You"||96||68|
|"I Had a Dream, Joe"||75||—|
— denotes a single was released but did not chart.
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