Nocturama - Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds
Metascore
73

Generally favorable reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. Everything is predictable and sounds like something Cave has done before. The Bad Seeds' edges are smoothed over by the too-slick production; Cave's lyrics are not provocative or funny or much of anything worth hearing.
  2. Nocturama isn't an awful record, just a problematic one, mostly due to the fact that the spontaneous studio atmosphere under which he's trying to operate doesn't allow for the careful crafting that bore his prior masterpieces.
  3. But with two (admittedly gigantic) exceptions, Nocturama reneges on its promise-- something's still missing from most of these tracks.
  4. 70
    This is his conscious attempt to inject a sense of urgency probably not heard on a Bad Seeds album since 1994's Let Love In. [Mar 2003, p.96]
  5. Trouble is, they're often only half-good songs. [Feb 2003, p.94]
  6. 80
    Cave has managed to move away from the stifling atmosphere and the false captive environment of No More Shall We Part and somehow create a Cave world where The Bad Seeds can indeed stretch, howl, riff, sniff, grind and bark with a freedom unheard on record since 1993's Live Seeds. [Album of the Month, Feb 2003, p.84]
  7. Most people this pretentious or literary don't rock so hard or write tunes so good.
  8. It's what The Velvet Underground would've sounded like if they'd been psychopaths. With a heart.
  9. Mostly in the quieter mode of his past few efforts, Nocturama presents songs of faith and devotion in the face of doubt, again demonstrating his newfound gift for understatement and the smoky croon.
  10. This journey to Nocturama's not to be missed. [March 2003, p.88]
  11. 80
    Piano ballads and muscular thrash that hearken back to his days with proto-goth ghoulfathers the Birthday Party. [#13, p.91]
  12. The missing link between Murder Ballads and Boatman's Call.
  13. At times, 'Nocturama' feels like he's trying too hard. Some of the ballads suffer this way, as if Cave's straining to recapture the gravitas of 'The Boatman's Call' without excessive revelations or dramatic contrivance.
  14. There is flatness where once there was majesty; there is garbage where once there was gold.
  15. Nocturama isn't the weakest album in Nick Cave's canon, but it's far from being a particularly good one either.
  16. There's little to set the sombre half-tones of the Cave and Seed world alight with suspicous glimmers. [#228, p.59]
  17. As ever with the great man, this is a record that rewards the attentive, and repetitive listener.
  18. This is one of Cave's best album in years, if not an immediate candidate for a career highlight.
  19. Often funeral-march slow, but there are also flashes of passionate energy.
  20. Cave's molasses ballads take you to a warm spot where the big bad world's cynicism gets disabled and the numb parts thaw.
  21. Nick Cave, no mistake about it, is still a major talent, and Nocturama isn't nearly as bad a mid-career flop as Lou Reed's Mistrial or David Bowie's Never Let Me Down.... But nevertheless, this is also far from essential Nick Cave, as most longtime fans will immediately discern.
  22. Nocturama feel[s] messy, unpredictable, and even a little dangerous--qualities Cave's music hasn't had in far too long.
  23. Cave proves himself to be a continually fascinating and vital songwriter.
  24. At first listen a morose rumination on the many shapes of love, the album slowly unfurls as a grand, almost gothic epic of vast proportion and luxurious significance.
  25. Nocturama is as slight and as pretty as a walk through the snow on a sunny Winter day.
User Score
6.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 11 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 4
  2. Negative: 1 out of 4
  1. Mar 24, 2014
    7
    Despite the massive fan dismissal of this album, it had to happen. It showed the end of another chapter for Nick Cave, just as Murder BalladsDespite the massive fan dismissal of this album, it had to happen. It showed the end of another chapter for Nick Cave, just as Murder Ballads was the turning point for Nick Cave to go from full band arrangements with punk-ish attitude, to more solo work on a Nick Caves part. Nocturama is the end of the love ballad piano thing era, and is a move back to band arrangements. Sadly, this is Blixas last album, but as with the album itself, it is necessary (Blixa shines on "Babe I'm On Fire" and "Dead Man in my Bed"). Blixas departure allowed for Warren to come forward and to start working closer with Nick. The album is not a bad album, and even if it may be Nick's low career point, I would say it is one of the most essential to own.
    Song Highlights:
    "Wonderful Life" for it's amazing mood and instrumentation
    "Bring it On" for sounding nothing like a Nick Cave song
    "Dead Man in my Bed" brings a burst of energy that is needed to get through to the end of the album
    "Babe I'm on Fire" is a insane lyrical mess, that is perfect for filling you with adrenaline.
    Full Review »
  2. Aug 27, 2010
    4
    A slipperly slope for a genius of huge proportions, Nocturama is Cave's musicial rock bottom. Setting off a wave of amateur songs and anA slipperly slope for a genius of huge proportions, Nocturama is Cave's musicial rock bottom. Setting off a wave of amateur songs and an earthquake of lost potential, it builds up to nothing more than a half-decent lead single that makes those seeds look horrible. Full Review »
  3. BrendanD
    Aug 2, 2007
    9
    It's taken me a long time to come to this conclusion, but Nick Cave is the greatest artist of all time. He did anger exactly right with It's taken me a long time to come to this conclusion, but Nick Cave is the greatest artist of all time. He did anger exactly right with The Birthday Party, a band that basically took "Lady Godiva's Operation" and turned it into a fucked-up party. When the Birthday Party exploded/imploded/blew up, the Bad Seeds picked up the slack, and they've been releasing classic album after classic album since 1984. Maybe the classic records have just made me a fanboy, but I honestly believe that Cave has done better since the mid-'90s than he did ever before. "Murder Ballads" is one of the best albums of all time, and "No More Shall We Part" is, far from the cringe-worthy schlock most old-school Birthday Party and early Bad Seeds fans want to call it, a beautiful, heartfelt, and darkly sinister record. "Nocturama" is not as good as either of these. It is, however, pretty damned good. "Babe I'm On Fire" isn't lame or cringe-worthy, and it's not fun. It's Cave's weird sense of humor that shine through, however, and you can never be 100% sure if he's sincere or not. I prefer to believe not, but it's hard and beautiful and dark all the same. Full Review »