This 1994 single from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds is one of those perennial “spooky” tunes. Even if you’ve never heard it before, you’ve definitely heard it before. Either in movies, on television, in trailers or commercials… somewhere, you’ve heard Red Right Hand before. It has seeped into your subconscious mind and settled uncomfortably there, worming its away around your general sense of unease. Any time there’s that foreboding notion of dread plaguing your psyche, this is the soundtrack of your subtle woes.
And why not? It’s a magnificent tune: dark, creepy, unsettling, almost Biblical in its overtones. A mysterious stranger rides into town, promising to fulfill all your hearts desires… and even a fleeting familiarity with tropes, fables, and allegorical psalms and passages tips you off that nothing will end well. The bell chime that accompanies every mention of the titular ‘Red Right Hand’ drives the point home nicely, doesn’t it?
Temptations of the superficial, hedonistic, and empty joyfulness measure are the low-hanging fruit of infernal ensnarement.
He’s a god, he’s a man,
He’s a ghost, he’s a guru
They’re whispering his name
Through this disappearing land
But hidden in his coat is a red right hand…