Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds,1994
I got on board with Nick Cave and Bad Seeds right before this: Henry's Dream had flipped my lid, and I was well into trying to gather everything I could find by them by the time Let Love In came around—which is fortuitous, as it appears to be an odds-on favorite with both fans and critics. Additionally, around this time, Nick cut a couple of songs for Wim Wenders not-so-classic sequel to his his classic Wings of Desire, and those songs were included on the b-sides of Let Love In singles. One of those songs, Cassiel's Song is, to this very day, one of my favorites in his catalog and what I have long envisioned as what ought to be played at my funeral. (It's worth noting that I was beyond obsessed with Wenders' Until the End of the World—who's soundtrack was the first I'd ever heard of Nick Cave...) All this is to say, Let Love In was a nearly obvious choice for me.
Looking back, my fandom was sort of readymade for Nick by Tom Waits. Listen to Let Love In and tell me you cannot picture what Tom Waits' cover version of any song on it would sound like. It's not that Waits necessarily gave Cave a path out of a creative cul de sac, but more that they are mining a similar vein of songwriting and are both breathing the same rarified air of greatness. Sure, this album had Red Right Hand on it—now used in more movies than can be counted (a great fucking song, mind you)—but nearly every song on this album is in a class of its own. Truly legendary.