I was hoping to like Nick Cave’s Murder Ballads a lot more than I do. He treated the standards as if saying, “wow, lookit me, I’m real bad!”.
What gives real murder ballads their impact is the gentle, matter-of-fact delivery: listen to Henry Lee on Harry Smith and they might as well be singing a lullaby. Cave murders them with zero subtlety. Doesn’t help that he has tiny squeakerette Kylie (pr. Minog-YEW) on the crew.