Last month, Nick Cave and his longtime collaborator Warren Ellis released their surprise album Carnage. Now, the two have shared a new 7-inch single dubbed “Grief”. It was written during that same period and draws its inspiration from a question submitted to Cave’s newsletter Red Hand Files.
The query-turned-prompt was penned by a reader named Cynthia in October 2018, a few years after Cave’s 15-year-old son passed away. “I have experienced the death of my father, my sister, and my first love in the past few years and feel that I have some communication with them, mostly through dreams. They are helping me. Are you and Susie feeling that your son Arthur is with you and communicating in some way?” she asked. Cave wrote back with a tender, lengthy response.
“Grief” is an extension of that through two tracks. The A-side is titled “Letter to Cynthia” and sees Cave reading his response to Cynthia over music played by Ellis. The B-side, dubbed “Song for Cynthia”, hears both Cave and Ellis performing an original track that ruminates on grief and mourning.
Cave recorded the single with Ellis in London last November after years of ruminating on Cynthia’s question. In a statement, he opened up about just how much her message meant to him. “My reply was the first time I was able to articulate my own contradictory feelings of grief. Letters like Cynthia’s have helped bring me and many others back to the world,” he wrote. “[The songs] are beautiful pieces and I hope you like them.”
Both tracks from the “Grief” single are not online just yet, but you can hear them in full by buying the record at Cave’s website, or stream a preview of it below through Instagram. In the meantime, revisit his gorgeous new record, which we gave an A-.