Re: Five more crucial relistens (you know you want it!!!)
Man Who Sold The World is one of the only Bowie albums I ever go out of my way to listen to. Basically it and Hunky Dory, I guess. I dunno why it works for me better than his other stuff - I think I just like the sound of the band, and it's a little groovier I suppose than most of his later stuff. The songwriting definitely isn't anything amazing, but I don't think he was generally an amazing songwriter anyway. Granted, there are some shitty songs on it ("She Shook Me Cold" like you mention). I love "Running Gun Blues" for some reason, though.
My mom got me Mule Variations when it came out, having read a review somewhere (probably New York Times or similar). I've since firmly decided that I don't like Waits and now avoid listening to him, but in my memory it was no worse than most of his other albums. "Big In Japan" is at least a kind of fun opener.