#933: ‘No Pussy Blues’ – Grinderman

Nick Cave is often considered to be one of the finest musicians ever to come out of Australia. From his early post-punk days as part of The Boys Next Door, and The Birthday Party, Cave’s musicality and songwriting are frequently admired. In fact, Cave’s lyrics are frequently admired by poets and scholars alike, I mean, just look at this line: “And no more shall we part. The contracts are drawn up, the ring is locked upon the finger and never again will my letters start sadly, or in the depths of winter.

Anyway, today’s song is ‘No Pussy Blues.’

Forming in 2006 by members of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Grinderman was effectively just a more rowdy version of the band, formed as a way to give some of the band members a new outlet for musical release. Their work almost the complete opposite of the work present in Nick Cave’s other work, in that Grinderman is characterised by more of a garage-rock, noisey, alternative vibe, featuring occasionally screamed vocals by Cave, distorted guitars, and pounding drums. A little bit different to the tender ‘Into My Arms‘, that’s for sure.

It also seems as though Cave’s attitudes towards songwriting were the complete opposite when it came to Grinderman as well. Of course, there are plenty of highly literate messages strewn throughout the work of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, and often it feels like you may need some sort of degree to dissect the work of Cave. But you see, in the case of ‘No Pussy Blues’, Cave basically said that the song has no meaning, rather that it captures the sexual frustration, and his inability to get any pussy, after growing his moustache.

Don’t get me wrong, Cave still references T. S. Eliot and W. B. Yeats wihin the song, proving that even when he’s ‘dumbing down’ his music, he can’t help but be smart about it. If anything though, this song captures an almost primal Nick Cave, something that hasn’t quite been seen at this level since his days in The Birthday Party. If you ever need any footage of that in your life, I suggest checking out this 1982 performance of ‘Release The Bats‘.

On some level, this feels like the sinister side to Cave’s music. We’ve always seen a sinister side to his lyrics, evident through his Murder BalladsWhere The Wild Roses Grow album, and tracks like ”, but this time, it’s like we’re seeing Nick Cave’s musical alter ego come out. This is the yin to his yang, and it feels like something he’s been longing to do for quite some time, or at the very least, since The Birthday Party broke up.

But above all, even if this song isn’t your scene, you can at least take solace that you’ve witnessed a rare time that Cave has screamed the word ‘pussy’ in a recorded song. It’s… uncomfortable at best, like hearing your favourite schoolteacher’s foreplay. You’re welcome for that image, by the way.

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