Walking With A Killer - The Breeders

from the album All Nerve (2018)

I really dig murder ballads.  These form of music expression has been kicking around since the 17th century, usually in the form of folk music.  It represents a form of storytelling and allows us to connect with our darker demons.

In my mind, Johnny Cash could deliver a murder ballad better than anyone.  Think of songs like Delia's Gone, I Hung My Head, and Long Black Veil; their darkness pulls you in and captivates you.  They are spellbinding.

I also really dig when more alternative bands take on the murder ballad.  Nirvana, Nick Cave, Violent Femmes, and countess Americana bands have all contributed elegantly to the subgenre.

Add The Breeders to that list.  Walking With A Killer is a magnificent example of the modern murder ballad.  The dead pulse of the bass, the element of funeral procession in the drum beat, the mix of clean and distorted guitar tones, the quavering vibrato in Kim Deal's vocals.  The space in the music creates a psychotic void and tension that gives form to the lyrics and the visual imagery of a woman walking along the interstate, in the dark, past the cornfields, knowing she is about to die.

This is not the first time Kim Deal has recorded a rendition of this song.  It is common for murder ballads to be repeatedly recorded and covered.  It is - in my humble opinion - the best version.

Click Here to listen to The Breeders perform Walking With A Killer live in Paris in October 2017.

Comments