by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds (Murder Ballads, 1996)
At fourteen and a half minutes O'Malley's Bar is a true murder ballad. The longest song of the murder themed concept album, the 9th from the Australian group, is laced with murders, eleven on my reckoning; husbands, wives, mothers and daughters are all slain in a bloody mess. The story of a man who has “been known to be quite handsome, in a certain angle and in certain light” enters a bar and proceeds to get his rocks off by slaughtering the bystanders within.
Cave tells the gruesome tale in a typically commanding tone while the music shuffles slyly and sinisterly behind him, his vocals interrupted only by the cutting chimes of a piano that take a nod at Hitchcock's Psycho. With lyrics as fascinating as “And with an ashtray as big as a fucking really big brick, I split his head in half” and “Her head it landed in the sink” it really is a song worth listening to.