The Good Son (2010 Remastered Edition)
The Good Son was Nick Cave's most restrained recording to date. His sixth album with the ever-evolving Bad Seeds, it shifted the emphasis heavily towards the piano-based ballads that Cave scattered throughout his previous albums. Cave had recently cleaned up his life, finished a novel, and seemed determined to maintain a masterful control over every aspect of the album process. The writing is lyrically tighter, the arrangements gloriously precise. Opening with the Portuguese-inspired "Foi Na Cruz," where piano, organ and strings cast a haunting church-like aura and finishing with the heartfelt loss of "Lucy," The Good Son is a near-perfect song cycle. Cave and band manage extra mojo for the strings-and-thunder of the biblically inspired title track and channel their rhythmic pummel for the stormy-night noir of "The Hammer Song" and the gospel chant of "The Witness Song." But it's the sweet drop of piano notes in "Sorrow's Child" and the symmetrical calm of "The Ship Song" and "The Weeping Song" that make for the album's most subtle and engrossing moments. A career high-point.