The vast majority of music is written around some pretty well-worn lyrical themes: love, unrequited love, sex, unrequited lust, etc. But what of other, less obvious subject matter? Some of our finest lyricists (and, um, some of our less fine lyricists) have indulged some pretty wacky lyrical obsessions over the years, either focusing on an unconventional topic for a fleeting period, or cultivating a career-long obsession with an idiosyncratic theme. We’ve explored a few of our favorites after the jump — as ever, we’re open to suggestions. There must be loads more, eh?
Nick Cave: kittens
Key songs: “As I Sat Sadly By Her Side,” “God is In the House”, “Where Do We Go But Nowhere”
Key line: “She stroked a kitten in her lap/ And we watched the world as it fell past”
The weighty lyrical preoccupations that have characterized Cave’s career have been well-documented over the years: God, death, love, murder… all the good stuff, really. But for a fleeting period during the late 1990s and early 2000s, his lyrics were overrun with… kittens. Well, OK, “overrun” is probably an exaggeration, but it’s noticeable how often young cats get mentioned throughout No More Shall We Part.
As far as we can tell, they’ve not featured in another Cave song before or since, As reader Robert L points out, they also feature in “Where Do We Go But Nowhere”, from Cave’s previous album The Boatman’s Call, and the singer’s fondness for felines is well-documented — he narrated Eddie White’s animated film The Cat Piano, and is also an avid collector of the work of Victorian-era cat painter Louis Wain.