Now though, Cave has finally collected numerous different questions aimed at his music. “Nick, why is it, do you think, that many of your fans are so critical of Nocturama?” one fan asks. “Nocturama is your worst record? Why?” another bluntly states.
“Nocturama? What the fuck?!!” states another.
The record, the twelfth studio album by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and released in 2003, has split the opinion of most fans who still continue to debate the quality. To date, Nocturama is the last Bad Seeds album to feature founding member Blixa Bargeld. On top of that, the record reunited Cave with Nick Launay, who had worked with The Birthday Party 21 years earlier so it has great significance to the frontman.
Trying to answer the fans questions, Cave said: “Personally, I like Nocturama. I like that it is out there, moving around the place and spoiling things” before adding: “I like it that everyone stands upwind from it.” Despite that, Cave did joke that the word Nocturama is bound to make the record fail.
Nocturama is held in such universal contempt that its very title has become a byword for failure or disaster. “He tried his best but ultimately he met his Nocturama,” you may hear someone say, or perhaps “What a complete and utter Nocturama!” As the years have passed, the disdain for this record has not diminished, and Nocturama has become just another word for ‘loser’ – as in “Fuck you, you fucking Nocturama!” and still it continues to this day, so that when a Bad Seeds fan gets poked in the eye or kicked in the nuts, they cry, “Nocturama!”
Therefore it comes as no surprise that many of the questions I have received on The Red Hand Files circle around the failings of this sad, brave, little record.
Personally, I like Nocturama. I like that it is out there, moving around the place and spoiling things. I like it that someone may accidently play it at a party and people start throwing up in the ashtrays. I like it that everyone stands upwind from it. I especially like it that of the sixteen records the Bad Seeds have produced we only have one Nocturama, whereas with some bands half their records are Nocturamas, and with most bands all of their records are Nocturamas.
I think that in the end we all need our Nocturamas. Your Nocturama may, indeed, be the most important thing you ever do. Failure fortifies us. It moves us forward. It strips everything back to its essential nature and leaves us clean and pure, ready to begin again. You don’t create something as problematic as Nocturama without a certain risk and a little courage and the temerity to fail. I love this troubled record for that. It may just be my favourite.