Nick Cave has released his new single “Grief,” inspired by an October 2018 letter that a fan sent to the singer’s Red Hand Files site.
Arriving just a month after Cave’s surprise quarantine-recorded new album Carnage, the “Grief” single’s A-side features Cave’s spoken word response to a fan named Cynthia, who asked the singer — whose teenaged son Arthur died in 2015 — whether he felt his son was still communicating to him through dreams.
“It seems to me, that if we love, we grieve. That’s the deal. That’s the pact. Grief and love are forever intertwined,” Cave wrote at the time, with his letter now forming the lyrics of the spoken word “Letter to Cynthia,” featuring music by Bad Seeds’ Warren Ellis. “Grief is the terrible reminder of the depths of our love and, like love, grief is non-negotiable. There is a vastness to grief that overwhelms our minuscule selves. We are tiny, trembling clusters of atoms subsumed within grief’s awesome presence.”
Cave also shared a portion of “Letter to Cynthia” on Instagram:
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In a statement about the “Grief” 7-inch single — available now through the Cave Things site — Cave said, “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.”
The “Grief” 7-inch single also contains “Song for Cynthia” on the B-side, with that track credited to both Cave and Ellis. Both tracks were recorded in November 2020 at London’s Soundtree Studios. “They are beautiful pieces and I hope you like them,” Cave added.
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