Skip to content

Sharon Van Etten’s Soulful Take on Nick Cave’s ‘People Ain’t No Good’ Is Very, Very Good

sharon van etten nick cave people aint no good cover bad seeds tour

Don’t say she didn’t warn us. Last February, New York singer Sharon Van Etten broke down her Favorite Things to SPIN and when it came to the “not-so-new artist” of her obsession, she revealed, “I’ve been getting into Nick Cave lately. The Boatman’s Call is amazing; it’s an album of love songs, really beautiful.” It hasn’t even been a year yet and she’s not only preparing to open for Cave and his Bad Seeds on a series of North American dates (below), but has absolutely mastered a ballad from that somber 1997 piano-based album she mentioned: “People Ain’t No Good.” (And yes, that’s the same misanthropic delight featured in Shrek 2.)

Van Etten picked up an acoustic guitar for her soul-stirring version of the song, performed above for the Australian radio station Triple J. It’s a bold choice, of course, as Cave is of Aussie stock and, we can only assume, treated as a god over there. But the hosts seem tickled pink that this Yankee chanteuse chose “an Australian classic” for their Like a Version covers series, and charmingly in awe of the fact that she’s about to head out on the road with their hero. For more Van Etten, revisit her dizzying video for Tramp single “Leonard.”

Sharon Van Etten opens for Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds:

March 14 – Dallas, TX @ McFarlin Memorial Auditorium
March 16 – Nashville, TN @ Ryman Auditorium
March 17 – Asheville, NC @ Orange Peel
March 19 – Philadelphia, PA @ Keswick Theatre
March 20 – Bethesda, MD @ Music Center at Strathmore
March 22 – Montreal, QC @ Metropolis
March 23 – Toronto, ON @ Massey Hall
March 24 – Boston, MA @ Orpheum Theatre
March 28 – New York, NY @ Beacon Theatre
March 29 – New York, NY @ Beacon Theatre
April 1 – Chicago, IL @ Chicago Theatre
April 3 – Denver, CO @ Ogden Theatre