Some songs are almost too delicate for late night, and so it’s fitting that when Nick Cave and Warren Ellis were booked on The Late Late Show with James Corden, they didn’t try to play “Ghosteen Speaks” live, but instead debuted a clip from the upcoming documentary These Things Are True.
Directed by Andrew Dominik and in theaters one night only on May 11th, These Things Are True follows Cave and his longtime Bad Seeds collaborator Ellis as they work on the recent albums Ghosteen and Carnage. “Ghosteen Speaks” is one of the most hauntingly beautiful tracks of the last decade, written in the aftermath of the unexpected death of Cave’s 15-year-old son. While Cave has never officially confirmed this, if you break up Ghosteen into two words, “ghost” and “teen,” you have a pretty good sense of the album’s emotional weight.
“I am beside you,” Cave sings in the clip as the camera swirls around him. “I am beside you/ Look for me.” The simplicity of it is devastating; he hardly moves, except for a few small hand gestures and a pained expression on his face. The camera never leaves him, and only incidentally captures Ellis conducting a string quartet and backup singers off to the side. You may want to grab a tissue before watching “Ghosteen Speaks” below.
Cave and Ellis are currently on tour, though you won’t be able to see them in Russia; they cancelled those scheduled shows in solidarity with Ukraine. But they are playing North America through the end of March and tickets are available here.
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds recently shared B-Sides & Rarities Part II, as well as the previously-unreleased song “Earthlings.” They’ve also scored the documentary La Panthère des Neiges, and in December unveiled the soundtrack song “Les Cerfs.”