Five Strangely Satisfying Nick Cave Duets

Photo: Cat Stevens

Nick Cave may not exactly be the sort you’d expect to play well with others. From his days with Aussie post-punk provocateurs the Birthday Party to his eventual ascendance as the dark prince of alt rock, he’s carefully crafted such a sinister vibe that even when he’s delivering a ballad you feel like he might just be taking a breather between stiletto assaults on unsuspecting pedestrians. There must be less misanthropy in Cave than one would suspect, though, because over the years he’s shared the spotlight with a strikingly wide variety of other artists. In anticipation of his upcoming album, Push the Sky Away (out next week via Bad Seed Ltd.), here’s a batch of duets featuring the original Bad Seed with some strangely appropriate singing partners.

1. Nick Cave with Shane MacGowan, “What a Wonderful World”

Did Nick step up to the microphone with notoriously shambolic Shane MacGowan for this Louis Armstrong chestnut (released as a one-off 1992 single) in order to seem like a Sinatra-esque smoothie by comparison, or did the notoriously sobriety-averse Pogues frontman simply grab his nearest drinking buddy for ballast and drag him along? In any case, it works in a raggedly righteous way.

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