Not for the squeamish, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’s Murder Ballads is the rare pop record that resonates with the weight of the ages. Sounding as drolly lugubrious as ever, Cave surveys a musical legacy of horror, mayhem, and madness, from the old British ballad ”Henry Lee” (with PJ Harvey) to the African-American epic ”Stagger Lee” (in a blisteringly X-rated version) to Cave’s own brilliant additions to the genre. A
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