Bad As Me (2011)
It’s hard to imagine many other artists sounding this energised after nearly 40 years, but Waits’ 16th studio recording is a joyful noise, full of humour and rock bluster. It’s wholly fitting when Satisfaction namechecks Mick and Keef (the latter lighting up the song with blues rock licks straight out of Beale Street), and there are touches of Sun Records swing on the likes of Get Lost. A handful of delicate ballads aside (including the Townes Van Zandt-ish Last Leaf), the hard pit at the centre of this record is Hell Broke Luce, a churning piece of musical theatre-meets-war zone reportage, with Ribot and Richards trading hotrod riffs over the narration of a disillusioned veteran. It’s punkish, bolshie and utterly vital.
Recommended track: Hell Broke Luce