Whether you think Nick Cave’s Grinderman side project (if you can call it that – it features members of his better-known band, the Bad Seeds) is a hilarious satire of cock rock or a loving homage to cock rock (the answer is “it’s neither” and “it’s both”), you pretty much have to hand it to Mr. Cave: Grinderman 2, the appropriately named second Grinderman album, totally fucking rocks. Which is appropriate, considering most of the song are about fucking. In fact, let’s just say that Grinderman is a new, very specific genre of music called “Fuck-Rock.”
Now, I could launch into a discourse about how serious Cave is/isn’t in all these crazy, sexy Grinderman songs, but the A.V. Club‘s Sean O’Neal has done all the (ahem) penetrating analysis you need: “In the Bad Seeds, Nick Cave thinks with his brain; in Grinderman, he thinks with his dick.” You don’t need to read any further in O’Neal’s review; he nailed it in the first sentence (besides, like almost all A.V. Club music reviews these days, the rest of the review sounds eerily like the Pitchfork review). So I won’t waste your time on the minutiae of Grinderman 2. Instead, I’ve found a rather entertaining game to play with this album. Since every song on the record is about one or many women, I’ve decided to pretend that all nine tracks are, in some way, about the same woman. It’s safe to assume that Nick Cave wants to have sex with her. But who is she?
For starters, we know that she’s a “bat-faced girl with dynamite curls”; so, safety and reason would dictate that she’s a non-smoker. Can’t be blowing up a whole city block when you accidentally ignite one of your dynamite curls. At this point, however, it is entirely possible that she is a super hero or villain. Not sure what else is implied with the bat-face thing there – perhaps she has poor vision and navigates by sonar when she can’t find her glasses?
Next, it would appear (according to “Worm Tamer”) that she’s good with a variety of snakes. However, a careful reading of the lyrics reveals that she is actually very good in bed – “You know I’m only happy when I’m inside her” shatters the metaphor of “Worm Tamer” and reveals that “she” could be, well, nearly any woman at all. But what we know, through two tracks of Grinderman 2, is that Nick Cave likes to fuck dangerous women.
Here’s where it gets tricky. According to Cave, she is 1) a “heathen child” 2) Allah (“the Allah”, according to “Heathen Child”) and 3) the Buddha. Based on my knowledge of Buddhist philosophy, she could potentially be #3 (so could every other living being on Earth. How’s this for a mind-fuck? Glenn Beck is a potential Buddha) without excluding her from being the other two. So she’s a transcendentally good lay with exploding hair – the evidence is starting to suggest that Grinderman’s muse is a hippie chick, or at least a vaguely religious woman who likes to fuck.
At last, a physical detail emerges in “When My Baby Comes.” She “has hand’s as white as milk and weaves a web of spider’s silk.” So Cave does not have the Jungle Fever. Interesting (or not) side note: this song contains allusions to gang rape, which doesn’t usually get a lot of coverage in rock ‘n’ roll songs that aren’t by the Insane Clown Posse. However, it is hard to tell from the lyrics whether Nick Cave or our mystery woman was the victim.
There is evidence to suggest that “she” is Nick Cave’s daughter. On “Evil,” he says, “You are my child, crying like a demon in your daddy’s arms.” However, if you remember anything else said about her on the whole album, you can safely assume that this is just some weird, Freudian kink that Cave has. You can also assume he likes to fuck dangerous younger women who are musically (or maybe just electronically) inclined: “Who needs a record player? You are my record player!” he exclaims.
On “Kitchenette”, we learn more: our woman is married, perhaps unhappily (“I can see that you don’t really dig him”), with kids: “What’s this husband of yours ever given to you?/ Oprah Winfrey on a plasma screen/ and a brood of junky buck-toothed imbeciles/ The ugliest fucking kids I’ve ever seen.” So, assuming a certain amount of superficial desirability on the part of this object of Cave’s infatuation, we can deduce that she is married to a genetically inferior male who makes good money (hence the plasma screen TV, upon which Oprah tells her how to cope with her turd-ugly husband and brick-stupid children).
From “Palaces of Montezuma”, we learn that she is petite and into classic literature – Cave promises her gifts of “The epic of Gilgamesh” and “a pretty little black A-line dress.” She’s also clearly into cinema, if “a custard-colored super-dream/ of Ali McGraw and Steve McQueen” would appeal to her. Along similar lines, we know she’s a history buff with a special love of presidential politics (or Nick Cave thinks she is) if Cave intends to win her love with “the spinal cord of JFK/ wrapped in Marilyn Monroe’s negligee.” At the very least, we know that Nick Cave is willing to go to kind of disturbing lengths to get this tart to his dessert plate.
In fact, on “Bellringer Blues,” he straight up offers to kill her ugly, stupid kids. Apart from my birth mother, what kind of total fucking psycho could be successfully wooed this way?
The thing that makes this tough is the “dynamite curls” thing. Maybe it’s an allusion to fire-power? And maybe the whole she’s a heathen/Allah/Buddha thing is a reference to her desire for some kind of power or omnipotence. So maybe she’s a power-hungry gun owner (who, being bat-faced, might wear glasses) with a wealthy, useless, hideous husband (whom she clearly despises) and the ugliest, dumbest kids Nick Cave has ever seen.
Sweet Zombie Jesus. Nick Cave wants to fuck former Alaska governor Sarah Palin…
No he doesn’t. The whole “epic of Gilgamesh” thing kills that – he wants a dangerous woman who knows how to read.