Desolation shouldn't be this much fun.

Desolation shouldn't be this much fun. Nick Cave has been waxing grim for more than two decades, and he's still the guy to go to if you need to get seriously dark. Nocturama, with its kaleidoscope narratives and surrealist, cuckoo's nest references is a mini-masterpiece. Apart from the expected poetic dirges, check out the theater-of-the-absurd gloom-rocker "Dead Man in My Bed" and the fabulous punked-out-soul-marathon closer "Babe, I'm on Fire," a manic wordplay that is like Dante's answer to "We Didn't Start the Fire" (in content, not just title). Throughout, Cave's crucified voice sounds as great as ever.—AZ

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