Ghosteen by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds [9/10]

A lush, almost transcendental masterpiece from a genius, “Ghosteen” stood out from my 2019 year of half-hearted, wrong-track listening. At age 64, I hate reprising favorite artists or bands from my 30s (for that’s a feature of today’s music scene, all the oldies keep on giving) but for the life of me, cannot find highly affective, inspiring music from the younger generations. Nick Cave and his longstanding, morphing band, here lightly but potently employed, have crafted eleven keening, yearning songs about loss and seeking and reality and questing and raging (softly) and love … well, you get the picture that for me, each of these synth-and-chorus-soaked songs, some long, some shorter, builds inside me with great force. Every word carries portent and mystery. I can barely present highlights, so strong is each song, but listen to the soaring wordless chorus behind “Bright Horses,” or Cave’s lament or triumph on “Waiting for You,” or the whispering softness of the title track. Oh, why can’t more music move me like this?

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