The Mercy Seat is a changeable beast. The song is very simple. A man is waiting to die in the electric chair, he is not afraid, he says he is innocent. He is executed and goes to his reward. The song is complex. The man may or may not be innocent, he is unreliable and crazy, he is not unafraid. He calls on the mercy seat that God sits on and is not heard.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds play this song at every concert, changing the performance and the lyrics. Sometimes it curls up sweet and sad and slow.
Sometimes it roars like a lion and shakes the earth.
I like it loud like that. I feel the madness and bombast – it blows me away every time. One day I went on a mercy seat binge, listened to tons of versions and covers on youtube.
The covers flowed and changed like the versions the Bad Seeds played live. Some were intimate and pushed against the base of your gut.
This Dresden Dolls cover is like a hammer banging onto a hammer banging onto a skull. Those DRUMS are so huge!
Shouldn’t ALL drum solos just be part of the song?
I found out there is a gospel song of the same name by an artist named Vicki Yohe. I love this version of it – the passion, the build, the weird guy clapping in the background! It really starts kicking at 3:10…
It has that same structure – the slow build and the giant pounding crescendo. They both deal with the Mercy Seat and I’d love to hear a mashup that builds them off of each other, trading despair and hope. Hell, let’s see what happens when we play them right over each other. IF I knew anyone who made mashups I’d totally log time helping or pay them to create this. Then I would listen to it until my ears fell off.
Or maybe not. Not every bright idea works.