Nick Cave Monday #43: “Stranger Than Kindness”


Anita Lane was one of Nick’s early lovers. When Nick Cave and The Birthday Party left Australia for London, Anita was right by his side. She’s credited for co-writing other songs by The Birthday Party as well as “From Her To Eternity” from The Bad Seeds first record.

On the first Bad Seeds record she is in the photo layout as one of the Bad Seeds.

We can refer to her as Our Lady of The Bad Seeds.

For “Stranger Than Kindness” she wrote the lyrics and Blixa Bargeld was the composer. Nick has great taste in the ladies. Here he is performing the song in 1998:

Blixa wasn’t in that session. He may have been touring or recording with Einsturzende Neubauten. James Johnston of Gallon Drunk recreates Blixa’s unique guitar soundscape. Without watching the video, I wouldn’t have known it wasn’t Blixa during that session.

Nick says it’s one of his favorite Bad Seeds songs. He also admits to not really knowing what it means, but loving the “unearthly beauty” of it.

There’s something about Anita Lane that’s so sexy. It translates into her solo work. Anything she touches is like an aphrodisiac. The song could be about a suicide in a hotel room or a night of rough sex. Or both. Or neither.

Let’s check out Anita Lane’s solo:

Ah, a beautiful woman. For extra credit the B-side to “The World’s a Girl” is a duet with Anita and Nick:

“Stranger Than Kindness” has remained a staple of their live shows throughout the years, even during their latest 2013 tour.

Here they are in Vancouver. The video is shaky at first, but then it’s worth it:

The lesson we learn today is that you really don’t have to understand every nuance of the song to love it, even as Nick himself admits.

Scratch that—the real lesson we learned today is that Anita Lane is utterly gorgeous and talented.

Or what we have learned is that Nick has surrounded himself with women who inspire him, raising the fundamental question: Would there be a Nick Cave if it weren’t for his long-term relationships?

“You caress yourself and grind my soft cold bones below/
Your map of desire, burned in your flesh, even a fool can come.”

Thanks for reading, and come back next week for another edition of Nick Cave Monday.

Tony DuShane is the author of Confessions of a Teenage Jesus Jerk. His writing has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Mother Jones, Penthouse, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The Believer. And, if you’re a Nick Cave fan, check out Nick Cave Monday. More from this author →