Albums to watch

Skeleton Tree

Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds

Skeleton Tree

Sixteenth studio album from the highly influential alternative rock band self-produced by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis

ADM rating[?]


Bad Seed Ltd
UK Release date
US Release date
  1. 10.0 |   Evening Standard

    By any yardstick, Skeleton Tree is a staggering achievement, the one for which Nick Cave will always be remembered
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  2. 10.0 |   The FT

    Skeleton Tree is an aesthetically striking and emotionally powerful act of mourning, an ornately crafted accommodation between life and death
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  3. 10.0 |   NME

    This is not an album for the rest of us; it’s a reflex reaction to a torment most people will thankfully never have to endure

  4. 10.0 |   The Independent

    There is no theatrical swagger here; his experience of bereavement is blisteringly undiluted
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  5. 10.0 |   Gig Soup

    ‘Skeleton Tree’ falls in with past albums such as ‘No More Shall We Part’ and ‘Nocturama’ but with a soul bearing intensity to make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end
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  6. 10.0 |   musicOMH

    From an unspeakable event a remarkable record has come. One that sits amongst Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ best. Skeleton Tree is full of grief, but full of heart too
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  7. 10.0 |   The Guardian

    It will prove scant consolation to the singer that the worst kind of trauma has produced a piece of art that will surely prove unforgettable to all who hear it
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  8. 10.0 |   No Ripcord

    Ultimately, Skeleton Tree is the sound of feeling and not expressing sorrow. It’s something unexplainable, a feeling you can’t quite place into words when you’re still decompressing
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  9. 10.0 |   Crack

    What is mined here is an exhaustive yet cathartic coalescence of one of the toughest human emotions as musical art. An astounding achievement
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  10. 10.0 |   Mojo

    Audibly and obviously, Cave's faith has been sorely tested but not ditched. Print edition only

  11. 10.0 |   State

    Skeleton Tree is concise, direct and at all times a deeply moving yet essential and enriching listen, without question one of the best records of 2016
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  12. 10.0 |   Q

    It demands you sit with it, look it in the eye, yet never come too close. Print edition only

  13. 9.4 |   Sputnik Music (staff)

    This stands as possibly his greatest achievement, as much a sorrowful exploration as a loving sendoff only for his fans, but more importantly, for himself
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  14. 9.0 |   Slant Magazine

    At once Cave's darkest, most emotionally devastating work to date, and his most painfully vulnerable
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  15. 9.0 |   Clash

    A stark, beautiful rendering of deep, profound pain
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  16. 9.0 |   Pitchfork

    Nick Cave has always played with death. Now, he confronts it.
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  17. 9.0 |   Paste Magazine

    Makes the important point that grief isn’t something that can be easily eradicated, but rather, eventually, it can be wrangled down in a way that makes it possible to keep living
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  18. 9.0 |   Spectrum Culture

    By far the darkest album in an oeuvre of base impulses
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  19. 9.0 |   Uncut

    Another deeply personal album with the singer addressing love and pain. Print edition only

  20. 9.0 |   The 405

    Whether we want to explore grief or learn to live with it, Skeleton Tree provides a sagacious guidebook
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  21. 9.0 |   AU Review

    A beautiful album that is somehow classic Cave and yet not
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  22. 9.0 |   The Quietus

    Skeleton Tree and the film have become statements about grief, loss and the potential and failure of art, but in the brutal honesty of broken emotion there's a promise to anyone who hasn't yet lost a close family member just how impossible that is going to be
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  23. 8.5 |   The Line Of Best Fit

    An album brimming with loss, death, and ruminations on mortality, but also Cave’s inimitable character portraits and a chilling sonic palate
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  24. 8.5 |   Under The Radar

    Its emotional impact hits like a ton of bricks
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  25. 8.5 |   Earbuddy

    A devastating triumph and deserves to be heard
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  26. 8.3 |   Consequence Of Sound

    As an artist, he needed to release the record in just this way in order to process his pain. Skeleton Tree was released for us, but it’s for him
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  27. 8.0 |   NOW

    On much of Skeleton Tree, it sounds as though the Bad Seeds are doing their best to stay out of their frontman's way. It's an album of pure, direct emotion
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  28. 8.0 |   The Observer

    The songs are sometimes more atmospheric than linear, more unanchored, as befits the subject matter
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  29. 8.0 |   The Skinny

    The songs on Skeleton Key have the quality of a recurring dream – that is, full of Cave’s darkly sensual surrealism, but possessing also a sense of fragile fixity and irresolution
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  30. 8.0 |   God Is In The TV

    Approach it as a one-off and it’s a courageous and magnificent, if flawed, work of art
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  31. 8.0 |   Rolling Stone

    Musically, the record is uniformly and unusually sparse, dwelling in deep, bassy tones
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  32. 8.0 |   All Music

    Even by Cave's dour standards, Skeleton Tree is a tough listen, but it's also a powerful and revealing one, and a singular work from a one-of-a-kind artist
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  33. 8.0 |   DIY

    Nick Cave’s lyrics have always dealt with love and grief - on ‘Skeleton Tree’ they’re more pronounced than ever
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  34. 8.0 |   Beardfood

    A document of personal love and loss that will leave no one untouched
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  35. 7.0 |   Drowned In Sound

    Whatever one makes of the songs presented here, at least we should all be able to agree that another addition to Cave’s legendary, beyond comparison catalogue is in itself enough of a reason to feel very satisfied
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  36. 6.0 |   The Arts Desk

    Skeleton Tree is definitely the real thing and a more brutally honest reflection of the worst of possible times would be a rare find
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