Girl In Amber - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

from the album Skeleton Tree (2016)

Inspired, atmospheric, and poetic, Skeleton Tree is one of the top albums of 2016, if not the decade.

Although it is an album best appreciated as a complete work, there are a few songs that particularly stand out for me, like Girl In Amber.

The song offers a lament on relationships that have passed.  Although nobody can be quite certain, the lyrics imply that these relationships include the death of his son, his divorce, and the breakup of his original band, The Birthday Party.  Around this, mournful piano chords, bells, guitar feedback, and strings create the backdrop for the beautifully graveled vocal.  A choir of background vocalists join in for the chorus:

And if you want to bleed, just bleed
And if you want to bleed, just bleed
And if you want to bleed, don't breathe a word
Just step away and let the world spin

But for me, I get consumed the visual imagery of a "girl in amber."

Back in the days when communism was falling across Eastern Europe, I spent three months working in Poland.  On Warsaw streets, you could regularly find enterprising women and men selling their heirlooms to the newly arrived Westerners who were upgrading the nation's infrastructure and facilitating an economic renaissance/invasion.

Among the most common heirlooms were pieces of amber, the most sought after of which had mosquitos - or other insects - suspended inside them.  These mosquitos had been trapped there for thousands of years and looked like they would simply fly away if broken free.

In the context of this song, it is easy to imagine girls from my past suspended in amber.  Whether it is a companion or a grandmother, they remain as they were then, suspended in my mind's amber, ready to fly away if broken free.

It is uncommon for a song to evoke such thoughts.

Click Here to listen to Girl In Amber.

Click Here to listen to Skeleton Key in its entirety.


  1. First of all, what a beautiful sentiment. And I had never heard of the amber with the insects.

    Secondly, I had been meaning to ask you when you would post some Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds!! I have gotten into him more than usual lately from watching the Netflix series, Peaky Blinders. When I first started watching. I couldn't believe how great the soundtrack is!! Check it out on Spotify NOW!! Lots of Nick Cave, including him "seedless" with Warren Ellis, tons of Jack White with and without Meg...and Tom Waits and PJ Harvey.

    This is an excellent series if you haven't seen it and I love how they chose an unusual soundtrack for a show that takes place at the turn of the century.

    Glad the Specials were great! Will listen to your favorites.

    1. I will definitely check out Peaky Blinders.

      Nick Cave is a true original who delivers excellence in every aspect of his craft.

      I can't get enough of his music...

  2. Sometimes when the muse strikes it is not easy to ignore, and that's the way this hit me. So, here is what came to be from this motivation.

    Amber Girl

    Locked in timeless motion
    Suspended from all care
    Intensity in a memory
    But without breath of air

    Captured as if a crystal
    A vision clear to see
    A wish for some's captivity
    But for others just fantasy

    Lithely in the moment
    wandering from sight
    Not within the movement
    But lasting in the light
    - Simple Poems Ink.


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