Photo Credit: Raymond Flotat
Australian singer-songwriter Nick Cave has released a powerful new spoken word track titled, “Shyness.” According to Stereogum, the spoken word track is the text of a Red Hand Files Letter that is set to music.
The track answers questions like “What is shyness?” and points to his wife Susie’s shyness and how awkward it was the first time they met. Cave mentions orchestras, melodies and symphonies and the music in the background complements those words beautifully. The track is made up of light piano notes, cellos and a few brass instruments in the beginning. Cave talks about the orchestra attempting to find itself, and at the beginning that’s what the music sounds like; attempting to find itself. As the song moves along, the orchestra starts to build and beautifully serves as a background for Cave’s powerful voice.
The video is a simple one. Surrounded by blackness, the camera slowly zooms in on a white moth flying in place. Its wings are flapping so fast that they constantly look blurred. The video alone is eerie, but the tone and meaning behind Cave’s words are beautiful and wholesome, as he shares about meeting his wife.
Here are the lyrics to Nick Cave’s spoken word piece:
Shyness is the tentative sound of the orchestra tuning up before the symphony begins. It is a beautiful, fractured piece of music in itself. It is the orchestra attempting to find its shared intent and is over all too quickly if you ask me.
In some circumstances shyness never finds its harmonic agreement and the situation will never be in tune. Yet shyness is a gift that can also be the sometimes crippling, often overpowering, intuition that the next thing life presents is potentially momentous, be it beautiful or devastating, where an exchanged few words or a gesture is a gateway to a new and unknown world. From these intimations of excruciating clarity, we can fall through our shyness into moments of earth-shaking significance, and our lives can change completely.
My wife, Susie, has a hummingbird shyness. In social situations she displays herself for a magical, weightless moment then darts away. It is as if she is so acutely tuned into the inherent discomfort of others, whether they display it or not, that the situation becomes overwhelming. She is a rare thing, an exhibitionist that hates to be seen.
My initial dinner ‘date’ with Susie was an awkward and hesitant affair because we both intuited, on some deep level, that we stood at the threshold of another life that would stretch on indefinitely into the future. We did not know what that life would be, and it was undeclared between us, but our mutual shyness was the orchestra tuning up, with its flutters and discords, as it tried to find its shared melodic objective. In the end, I did what was a potentially life-deranging act and lunged hideously and impulsively through the membrane of our mutual shyness, grabbed my future wife and kissed her. She responded in kind and our shyness dropped away and, well, the symphony began. Shyness became the firewall through which we walked to a strange and different world, and here we are, together.
Recently, Cave announced the release of his new memoir titled Faith, Hope and Carnage. The memoir is heavily focused on not only his life, but also his son Arthur, who passed away in 2015. Cave also announced that he will be collaborating with The Bad Seeds for the album, B-Sides & Rarities Part II, to be released on October 22. This compilation album is the much anticipated follow up to the band’s B-Sides & Rarities from 2005.
Photo credit: Raymond Flotat