Tom Waits: classic or dud/search & destroy

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whatta people think...

kane smith, Wednesday, 1 August 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Absolute total freakin' classic. Is this even debatable? (Famous last words on this list, I suppose...)

Search: usual suspects plus any live recording (preferably boots rather than the official live albums) you can get your hands on. He always has great bands and the between song banter is hilarious.

Destroy: it gets a little sloppy around Heartattack & Vine, but I wouldn't part with any of it.

tha chzza, Thursday, 2 August 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Excuuuuuse me. How can someone who tries so hard to be a 'classic' be a classic? Like you would not go into a thirty- somethings apartment and see the latest book by Marian Keyes and Bridget Jones Diary and alongside them Celine. But you would go into this apartment and see Jewel and Fiona Apple and alongside them you would see Tom Waits. And sure you might say, they would have maybe John Lee Hooker and Bo Diddley too, and it's not the artists fault if people with bad taste like them. But this hypothetical person I am maligning, I argue we can trust them not to like modern music that's worth anything, cause there has been no time for it to be fossilized into unoffensiveness. And I rest my case QED!

maryann, Thursday, 2 August 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Classic I suppose, although I hate the Cult of Waits. It's as boring and predictable as say the Cult of U2 (and they tend to overlap ;)

Anyway Search: Nighthawks at the Diner for the old-school Waits at his best, great story-telling, good jokes.

Bone Machine for new school Waits. Brilliant guitar sound throughout the album.

special prize for "What's he building there."

Destroy: oh I dunno, nothing specific. Rain Dogs tends to be a bit boring in spots. [goes into hiding expecting Waits-heads shouting: Rain Dogs boring!!!??? How could you?]

Omar, Thursday, 2 August 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Maryann, I will cry myself to sleep tonight over my Tom Waits records. And MY LONE, TOKENISTIC BO DIDDLEY RECORD.

Josh, Thursday, 2 August 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Who's worse, a fake beatnik or a "real" beatnik?

duane, Thursday, 2 August 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

tom waits - too real for the fakers, too fake for the realers. bit glib response there, i spose. i love tom waits, i think he's superb. did he want to evoke an earlier time, before all this r'n'r nonsense? maybe.

waits fans seem to separate into before and after swordfishtrombones. i like both periods (although not swordfishtrombones itself).

for me, search would have inlolve: Foreign Affairs, Franks Wild Years, The Heart of Saturday Night, Small Change, Night On Earth

destroy: Heartattack and vine

gareth, Thursday, 2 August 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

This goes without saying! A total & utter classic! Mr Cigarettes & Bourbon Abuse himself!

Kodanshi, Thursday, 2 August 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I love Tom Waits, esp. swordfish trombones & later.

You can make the same arguments against Nick Cave or Leonard Cohen - self-consciously trying to be "classic", relying on a persona, heavy- handed American Gothic imagery, doomy vocalisation, literary pretensions, wearing suits & motorcycle boots etc.

sometimes all that seems a bit silly, I admit. Not particularly any more goofy than the pretensions of a lot of other musicians, though.

I don't understand the hypothetical jewel & fiona apple-loving yuppie analogy, really. should people who like bad art only like bad art? are they not worthy of their old blues records? or are all people who like old music (or new music inspired by older music) scared of music that isn't "fossilized into inoffensiveness?"

fritz, Thursday, 2 August 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Disregarding all other musical attributes (and I do), I can't stand his voice.

Lyra, Thursday, 2 August 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Hahahaha! That makes me laugh because I like his voice best from all other things that go into his songs!

Kodanshi, Thursday, 2 August 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I like some of the old 'beat' stuff, the tear in my bourbon at the greyhound station stories, but it gets a little old... I kind of like the Old World direction he was heading in on much of Frank's Wild Years and especially The Black Rider... that sort of fucked-up stormy Balkan night music, with chiming celestas and finger cymbals.. freaky.

Andy, Thursday, 2 August 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

He's the best singer/songwriter of our lifetimes, and for the most part he's gotten better as he's gotten older. I could go on and on, but the work speaks for itself. Actually, "Raindogs" is a very good way to be introduced to him.

X. Y. Zedd, Thursday, 2 August 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

maryann, your response was very confusing. One of the worst ways to make a point is to build strawmen and knock them down. I've personally never known any REAL people who have Fiona, Jewel, AND Swordfishtrombones in their collection. Trying to sound classic? If Brecht/Weill filtered through Harry Partch by a half man/half alleycat drunk on absinthe and snake oil is classic, then call me a classicist.

Or maybe you could give an example of a worthwhile songwriter who isn't trying to sound classic who can be constructively compared with Waits (i.e. not contrasting him with Autechre). I've yet to see ANY songwriter, classic or not, disparage Tom. I think that should count for something.

I agree about the cult of Waits, though I don't think it's as bad as U2/Radiohead, etc. because so much of Tom's persona is kitsch that the negative aspects (often too sentimental, for example) are integral to the package as a whole. This is something I think you have to appreciate about him whether you like the music or not, is that he takes his job as entertainer seriously. Keep that in mind next time you see some Pavement-clones whose singer is afraid to even make eye contact w/ the audience.

I will put in the obligatory defense that Rain Dogs isn't boring. In fact I recommend it as the perfect first purchase for the beginner.

And what the difference is between a "real" or a "fake" beatnik, or what that has to do with anything, I don't know.

tha chzza, Thursday, 2 August 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Ahem. I have records by all three.

(I never listen to the former two, but the point stands.)

Josh, Thursday, 2 August 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Thanks for the response the chzza. Yeah, I mean it's one thing to know what you like and say so, it's another thing to demolish other people's right to listen to it and somehow destroy them personally with subtle or in this case obvious weak damnation tactics. I am so stupid, but I don't even know it.

maryann, Friday, 3 August 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

If originality is important, Waits is your man. His 80s reinvention is so striking, and on a major label, too. A ton of quality stuff. Although most the 70s material outside of "Nighthawks" doesn't do much for me. Major exception: "I Hope I Don't Fall In Love With You." Holy mother, what a great song that is.

The 80s trilogy is the highlight, still, although Bone Machine is just as good. A recent listen to Mule Variations made it seem his worst thing since the 70s to me. His gift for melody seems to have left him on that record. The songs are VERY by the numbers, although the production & lyrics seem up to snuff. Does anyone agree that he fell off sharply with that one?

Mark, Friday, 3 August 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Mark, I think you are right. Mule Variations was a disappointment for me. It is a boring record. Waits is doing the same all over and over. Even "What's he doing there" may be funny from the lyrics, the music is nothing, basically not there. His last great album was Bone Machine which I loved when it came out but I am not sure if that album has aged well. An early favourite was Nighthawks. It has a brilliant live atmosphere and Waits sounds like a crooner. Quite jazzy. Heart of Saturday Night is very good as well. And Small Change of course.

alex in mainhattan, Friday, 3 August 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

i feel the same about "mule variations", it's kind of a retread. though the songs worked better live when I saw him and "come on up to the house" is really pretty.

fritz, Friday, 3 August 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Can't make up my mind on this guy. His voice is laughable -- I mean really, I usually crack up when I hear him. His songs are actually pretty decent, if slightly homogenous.

Jack Rdelfs, Friday, 3 August 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Hmm, can't make up my mind on this guy. His voice is laughable -- I mean really, I usually crack up when I hear him. His songs are actually pretty decent, if slightly homogenous.

Jack Redelfs, Friday, 3 August 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Mr. Waits's voice "laughable"? His songs "homogenous"? Surely that poster must be living in a different universe than mine. Certainly ol' Tom Cat can be very funny, but few songwriters have such expressive voices and have undergone such a dramatic yet consistent evolution, even Bowie.

X. Y. Zedd, Friday, 3 August 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I really don't think old Tom cares what any of us think of him...and maybe that's what makes him so appealing. Who knows, he could be ruminating over every move he makes.

I gotta go with Gun Street Girl. Love that song. We used to drink in this tiny all night bar in Tokyo and they would play Waits all night. Pretty bizarre.

james, Sunday, 5 August 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

"Downtown Train" b/c the song not only SOUNDS like Bruce, but has his backing band as well.

"The Piano Has Been Drinking" for boozed up fun. "Time" as the best of his ballads.

Sterling Clover, Sunday, 5 August 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

one year passes...
"Anywhere I Lay My Head"
"Ice Cream Man"
"In The Neighbourhood"
"Diamonds On My Windshield"
"Saving All My Love For You"
"Burma Shave"
"Underground"
"Tango Til They're Sore"
"The Ocean Doesn't Want Me"
"Chocolate Jesus"

Nordicskillz (Nordicskillz), Wednesday, 7 May 2003 15:09 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

where's the love for BLUE VALENTINES???

pete b. (pete b.), Wednesday, 7 May 2003 16:21 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Words cannot express how much I loathe Tom Waits - a 100% copper-bottomed fake and charlatan.

Dadaismus (Dada), Wednesday, 7 May 2003 16:57 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

That hurts.

Nordicskillz (Nordicskillz), Wednesday, 7 May 2003 17:02 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I think Dadaismus is my British doppelganger. We both don't buy into the shit that Tom Waits and Elvis Costello peddle.

Mr. Diamond (diamond), Wednesday, 7 May 2003 17:16 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

...or fucking Nick Cave

Dadaismus (Dada), Wednesday, 7 May 2003 17:18 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

You are evil, evil men.

Nordicskillz (Nordicskillz), Wednesday, 7 May 2003 17:18 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Extolling the virtues of music I love, surrounded by haters...now I know how Nate Patrin feels...

Nordicskillz (Nordicskillz), Wednesday, 7 May 2003 17:19 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

WWNPD?

Nordicskillz (Nordicskillz), Wednesday, 7 May 2003 17:22 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

One of my all-time faves. One of my three favourite lyricists (with Dylan and Jarvis Cocker) and a wonderful singer too. Like so many, Rain Dogs and Swordfishtrombones are my favourites, and I love a lot of the earlier stuff, but I don't think there's a whole album that good. Stuff like Burma-Shave and Tom Traubert's Blues are as good, but not any whole album. And last year's two, especially Alice, were excellent too.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Wednesday, 7 May 2003 21:06 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

six months pass...
What is this? The "Night On Earth" soundtrack with a different title? I MUST know.

@d@ml (nordicskilla), Sunday, 30 November 2003 05:32 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

night on the planet?!

s1utsky (slutsky), Sunday, 30 November 2003 06:50 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

It will be a bad Ukrainian bootleg of the Night On Earth soundtrack with a photocopied insert and I will pay $25 for it, like a fool.

@d@ml (nordicskilla), Sunday, 30 November 2003 07:06 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

i've been listening to closing time like crazy lately

cinniblount (James Blount), Sunday, 30 November 2003 09:55 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Classic classic classic. Rain Dogs and Blue Valentines are two of the greatest albums ever. Even when he makes retreads of his older stuff there's always something compelling about the melody or arrangement... and there's nothing wrong with inhabiting a persona like he does. Sincerity leads you to Jewel, after all; fakeness to Xtina.

(I like Fiona Apple btw.)

The Lex (The Lex), Sunday, 30 November 2003 11:55 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Xtina's more "sincere" than Jewel lately (I like TW)

Andrew Thames (Andrew Thames), Sunday, 30 November 2003 12:24 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

and there's nothing wrong with inhabiting a persona like he does. Sincerity leads you to Jewel, after all; fakeness to Xtina.

I guess so. It's just that it's a little off-putting that he started inhabiting that persona at, like, age 21...

Chris F. (servoret), Sunday, 30 November 2003 19:55 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I agree with the chzzz.

Why do people not like Swordfishtrombones? I actually prefer that album to Rain Dogs - shorter. Plus, it's got "Shore Leave" and "Frank's Wild years." Hot cha.

ddrake, Sunday, 30 November 2003 21:04 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

closing time is pretty reliable, I haven't heard it in years but I imagine if I put it on I could sink into it again like a warm bath

s1utsky (slutsky), Sunday, 30 November 2003 22:34 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I guess so. It's just that it's a little off-putting that he started inhabiting that persona at, like, age 21...

So did Xtina ;) Also, while the persona itself has remained constant, different songs present different perspectives of it; with much of his work, Tom's character (generally in 'observer' mode) is actually less important to the song than the characters he sees. Of course they're filtered through his narrative, but I think he wants to be a pretty reliable narrator most of the time, when not soaked in whisky.

I thought Swordfishtrombones was generally considered to be his best... I always preferred Rain Dogs, though. I still haven't got over how his voice sounds NORMAL on Closing Time.

The Lex (The Lex), Monday, 1 December 2003 00:37 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

i love him, flat out. my least favorite album is probably 'foreign affairs' (bette midler duet, ack), but even that has "burma shave" and "a sight for sore eyes" to redeem it.
as to the whole 'swordfishtrombones' vs. 'rain dogs' issue, i find the former to be a lot patchier. it was the first of the trilogy, and the first record on which he got "weird." on 'rain dogs,' he'd had the time to grow technically into what he wanted to do artistically.

lauren (laurenp), Monday, 1 December 2003 00:57 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Consider that circa Closing Time, Asylum/David Geffen thought that they had another Billy Joel on their hands. Incredible.

I love Tom Waits more than life itself.

@d@ml (nordicskilla), Monday, 1 December 2003 01:00 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

lauren, I Never Talk To Strangers (the Bette Midler duet) is awesome! In it's own way! ;P

@d@ml (nordicskilla), Monday, 1 December 2003 01:00 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I love pretty much everything that he's done, though I do agree that Foreign Affairs (but still...) is probably the weakest record he's done. Renting Bone Machine from Edgware library was probably my single most formative musical experience. I've never been the same! I love The Black Rider, too. In retrospect, Mule Variations was a bit Tom-by-numbers, but Chocolate Jesus off of that record is one of my favourite Waits songs. Is it me, or is Frank's Wild Years curiously underrated?

Sometimes I tell people I moved to the Bay Area in the hopes of bumping into Tom. Even I don't know if I'm joking or not.

@d@ml (nordicskilla), Monday, 1 December 2003 01:09 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"Cold Water" off that record is incredible also but yes, i forget that cd's playing when i pit it on.

jed (jed_e_3), Monday, 1 December 2003 01:12 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

yeah discovering bone machine at age 16 or so was a mind-blower!

haven't listened to him in quite a while though, I kinda overdid it there

s1utsky (slutsky), Monday, 1 December 2003 01:12 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

huh wha?

dog latin (dog latin), Friday, 15 October 2004 15:30 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Wilco - "they're just so damn WEIRD!"

Gear! (Gear!), Friday, 15 October 2004 16:28 (twelve years ago) Permalink

classic without hesitation. although the masterpiece streak ended after "the black rider", that's still a helluva good run since it began with "swordfishtrombone". that's 5 albums, all absofuckinglutely essential.(not to mention "nighthawks", "blue valentine", and "small change" from his "beat" period). the better question is who out there might be Waits singer-songwriter peer, based solely on quality of output? to paraphrase someone else above, Waits is the most prolific and essential american songwriter of his generation, no contest.

j.m. lockery (j.m. lockery), Friday, 15 October 2004 21:15 (twelve years ago) Permalink

My last question, (the one before "que?") was purely rhetorical I suppose. But your question is a valid one j.m. lockery and a lot easier to answer too. Based on opinion (of course) Frank Black is the answer. Both guys exhibit a strong grasp of what constitutes "good shit".

JoshIAm, Saturday, 16 October 2004 03:29 (twelve years ago) Permalink

I'd say neither, but considerably less classic than lost of people claim.

I like some of his stuff, but the trouble is that between every nice ballad once in a while he tends to put some of those absolutely unlistenable Captain Beefheart influenced, well, dunno what I'd call them but songs they aren't, that is for certain.

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Saturday, 16 October 2004 21:59 (twelve years ago) Permalink

joshiam:
i agree that mr. black would be an excellent candidate. speaking of those two, i recently read an interview where black declared his interest in recording a new pixies album and that he wanted waits to produce it as frank loves the sound of tom's records.

j.m. lockery (j.m. lockery), Tuesday, 19 October 2004 00:36 (twelve years ago) Permalink

I saw Tom Waits live last weekend

Sympatico (shmuel), Tuesday, 19 October 2004 00:48 (twelve years ago) Permalink

was that in vancouver? i heard mixed reports. what did you think?

Pete W (peterw), Tuesday, 19 October 2004 09:00 (twelve years ago) Permalink

My friend Daniel called me last night with celly-in-the-air from Tom's Seattle performance. It was "Make It Rain", and it was MAFUCKINGJESTIC.

nickalicious (nickalicious), Tuesday, 19 October 2004 13:03 (twelve years ago) Permalink

the bad things were that we were in literally the last row in the orpheum, so he just looked like a cartoon figure wearing a fedora, and that he mostly played songs from his new album, which considering his deep catalogue, is a shame. The good thing was that we were seeing Tom Waits live, and Tom Waits live is totally incredible. His voice is great, his moves ae great, Marc Ribot rocks, his stage banter is funny. So i liked it.

Sympatico (shmuel), Tuesday, 19 October 2004 18:32 (twelve years ago) Permalink

j.m. lockery:

Now that would be cool. My two favourites working together for the force of mint-ox.

JoshIAm, Friday, 22 October 2004 06:47 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Today I discovered some really great Waits songs that I'd previously ignored:

Way Down In The Hole - top "evil preacher" style hellfire-isms with groovy sax breaks.

Big In Japan - again, it's the brassy breaks that do this for me, plus the beatboxing rules.

Such A Scream - I think all three of these songs are quite similar in a way. I like this one too.

dog latin (dog latin), Friday, 22 October 2004 12:47 (twelve years ago) Permalink

twelve years pass...

With such a vast oeuvre, I had to make painful choices, but I like this list.

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 10 August 2017 02:25 (one week ago) Permalink

Agree on Bone Machine being a peak. Add "Murder in the Red Barn" and "Dirt in the Ground" to the great songs from this record.

(Psst... it's "Hoist That Rag," not "Flag")

Hideous Lump, Thursday, 10 August 2017 02:36 (one week ago) Permalink

typo!

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 10 August 2017 02:44 (one week ago) Permalink

good list! I'd need these somewhere in there too (I'm a sucker for even the schmaltziest Waits material apparently)

Time
Anywhere I Lay My Head
Take It With Me
Falling Down
Yesterday Is Here
Ruby's Arms
Tom Traubert's Blues
God's Away On Business
Another Man's Vine
Gun Street Girl
On the Nickel
Ol' 55

a serious and fascinating fartist (Simon H.), Thursday, 10 August 2017 13:31 (one week ago) Permalink

oh, and "Cold, Cold Ground"!

a serious and fascinating fartist (Simon H.), Thursday, 10 August 2017 13:34 (one week ago) Permalink

I don't know if "Bone Machine" is a peak, but it did follow a long gap and not only restored his profile but reinvented him as an alternative era hipster (as opposed to net-beatnik weirdo hipster). By "Mule Variations" and that tour he was a full fledged alternative era icon, where he's remained ever since. One of the few short of Leonard Cohen probably even cooler in their late career than during their earlier peaks.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 10 August 2017 13:41 (one week ago) Permalink

Mule Variations is certified gold! I remember the hosannas at the time but does anyone love it now?

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 10 August 2017 13:54 (one week ago) Permalink

I wore it out but it has a lot of gems. It's a great gateway album and one of the few records my dad and I can agree on.

a serious and fascinating fartist (Simon H.), Thursday, 10 August 2017 14:05 (one week ago) Permalink

I think of everything he's done since Bone Machine as one long album (that I rarely listen to, tbh).

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 10 August 2017 14:07 (one week ago) Permalink

Mule Variations felt to me at the time like a schtick-ier sequel to Bone Machine - like that album had hit a pop culture nerve ("Goin' Out West" was in Fight Club!) and he felt internal/external pressure to give people more of the same. The only tracks that really hold up for me are "Cold Water" and "What's He Building?"

grawlix (unperson), Thursday, 10 August 2017 14:11 (one week ago) Permalink

Alice and Blood Money were the new ones at the time I interviewed Waits in 2002. I like both of them better than Mule, especially Alice.

grawlix (unperson), Thursday, 10 August 2017 14:13 (one week ago) Permalink

Mule Variations feels the point where the Swordfishtrombones career re-invention with Brennan goes on autopilot and the Beefheart spasms start to sound like retreads. It's his only album that lapses in to self-parody, and thankfully he got beyond those cliches he'd established in the 1980s. He hasn't been as consistent since, but that last album shows his peaks are as good as ever. Rain Dogs is tops. There's plenty of fantastic work before Brennan too, and it's not as different as it sometimes seem, just less dissonant.

My favorite of his L.A. balladier early work:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eo3ilqhf1tE

Mungolian Jerryset (bendy), Thursday, 10 August 2017 14:16 (one week ago) Permalink

It's missing some of my favorite songs of him:

Green Grass, Red Shoes by the Drugstore and Cold Cold Ground.

Also we all agreed here on ILM that Jockey Full of Bourbon is his number one song. How can that one be missing?

dance cum rituals (Moka), Thursday, 10 August 2017 14:16 (one week ago) Permalink

I think of Waits a little like a personal anti-Steely Dan figure...I turned 30 and I dunno, just lost interest. It was hard to imagine, suddenly, growing up/old with his music.

The affectations and the schtick got tiresome. I find it hard to imagine listening to him again like I did 10, 15 years ago (possibly go back to the ballads?)

Master of Treacle, Thursday, 10 August 2017 14:16 (one week ago) Permalink

Oh shit it's also missing Alice!

dance cum rituals (Moka), Thursday, 10 August 2017 14:17 (one week ago) Permalink

I usually put on Rain Dogs or Orphans when the urge strikes.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 10 August 2017 14:26 (one week ago) Permalink

I jumped off the junkwagon with Real Gone. Way too fucking long (72 minutes) and I don't need political songs from Tom Waits. I listen to Tom Waits in order to visit the imaginary planet he lives on, not to hear him gripe about this one. I've never listened to Orphans, but I came back for Bad as Me and liked it.

grawlix (unperson), Thursday, 10 August 2017 14:41 (one week ago) Permalink

I like Bad as Me too yet superficially it's not much different from MV.

the Rain Man of nationalism. (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 10 August 2017 14:42 (one week ago) Permalink

I don't think of Waits' settings as imaginary, and along with the Brechtian clank, there's been Brechtian social commentary all along about the impossibilities of staying good in an unjust world, with lots of portraits of self-delusional characters who make the world worse. Anachronistic details, yes, but still addressing the real world. Akin to this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbYmWrfNJpQ

Mungolian Jerryset (bendy), Thursday, 10 August 2017 14:54 (one week ago) Permalink

> I like Bad as Me too yet superficially it's not much different from MV.

I know! Maybe he just needed time off.

Mungolian Jerryset (bendy), Thursday, 10 August 2017 14:54 (one week ago) Permalink

I don't need political songs from Tom Waits

I was happy to see "Hell Broke Luce" and "Hoist That Rag" on Alfred's list as they're two of the better anti-war songs anyone's written in the last while

a serious and fascinating fartist (Simon H.), Thursday, 10 August 2017 15:28 (one week ago) Permalink

Only Waits show I've ever seen was in a Broadway theatre, prob right after the release of Franks Wild Years. Just great. I'm very fond of the Swordfishtrombones thru Bone Machine period, spotty familiarity with everything else.

ice cream social justice (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 10 August 2017 15:49 (one week ago) Permalink

i have about 10 of his albums but haven't listened to them in a long time

small change, rain dogs, and franks wild years strike me as the best ones. bone machine is good too

marcos, Thursday, 10 August 2017 15:55 (one week ago) Permalink

Heartattack and Vine gets slept on despite some A+ songs, especially the ballads, like Jersey Girl and Ruby's Arms.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 10 August 2017 16:01 (one week ago) Permalink

"Hell Broke Luce" is a great example of how to be influenced by hip hop without trying to make hip hop.

Mungolian Jerryset (bendy), Thursday, 10 August 2017 22:22 (one week ago) Permalink

hell broke luce sounds contrived to my ears

cosign on heart attack, that's a great record

niels, Thursday, 10 August 2017 22:26 (one week ago) Permalink

faves: Real Gone, Alice/Blood Money, Small Change

Week of Wonders (Ross), Thursday, 10 August 2017 23:36 (one week ago) Permalink

Hard to pick but if I had to do one per decade:

70s: blue valentines
80s: swordfishtrombone
90s: bone machine
00s: alice
10s:... i suppose bad as me but there's only one album to pick... surprised he hasn't done much this decade.

dance cum rituals (Moka), Friday, 11 August 2017 00:54 (one week ago) Permalink

Never got the love for Mule Variations, but then I'm not into his straighter blues-oriented stuff and much prefer the Brechtian material really

Shat Parp (dog latin), Friday, 11 August 2017 10:44 (one week ago) Permalink

My fave is "Nighthawks at the diner". It is a little bit like his "Take no Prisoners". He is such a great entertainer and the nightclub atmosphere really fits him well. I used to listen to it on dope, it really intensifies the listening experience. I used to think "Bone Machine" was his last peak after that I lost interest. Finding out that his singing voice is not his real voice did not really help in appreciating his music. On the contrary after that I got pretty tired of his shtick.

Ich bin kein Berliner (alex in mainhattan), Thursday, 17 August 2017 20:56 (four days ago) Permalink

real gone is good it's got some siqq ribot playing

kurt schwitterz, Thursday, 17 August 2017 22:33 (four days ago) Permalink

ok the first song on real gone is the worst shit he's ever done

kurt schwitterz, Thursday, 17 August 2017 22:38 (four days ago) Permalink

Finding out that his singing voice is not his real voice did not really help in appreciating his music.

Actually, his speaking voice (I spent about 2 hours on the phone with him) is not that different from his singing voice at all, just slightly more subdued - 'cause he's talking and not singing. But his speaking voice is definitely gravelly and hoarse. The difference is about what you'd expect. I mean, Robert Plant doesn't speak in high-pitched screams, you know?

grawlix (unperson), Thursday, 17 August 2017 22:39 (four days ago) Permalink

Maybe his speaking voice is contrived as well. It could well be that he has "forgotten" his normal voice. There is a sudden change of his voice from the first two albums to the others to a much lower register. Do you really think that was natural?

Ich bin kein Berliner (alex in mainhattan), Friday, 18 August 2017 12:41 (three days ago) Permalink

there's nothing 'natural' about Tom Waits. his entire act is, well, it's an act. but like you say, it's hard to tell how much of it he has absorbed into his natural persona of course

Shat Parp (dog latin), Friday, 18 August 2017 12:58 (three days ago) Permalink

There is a sudden change of his voice from the first two albums to the others to a much lower register. Do you really think that was natural?

I disagree, and I'm listening to Closing Time as I type this. The voice sounds almost the same to me, just a little more singer-songwriter/country and a little less Howlin' Wolf/Captain Beefheart. Maybe a little more nasal and a little less chest/throat. That's all.

grawlix (unperson), Friday, 18 August 2017 13:56 (three days ago) Permalink

he didnt go full howlin' until heart attack and vine, which by all accounts is a great success of an album

kurt schwitterz, Friday, 18 August 2017 15:39 (three days ago) Permalink

His voice on the Glitter and Doom live album is verging on death metal. I was a bit disappointed by the lack of nuance on that one, even though the playing is great.

Shat Parp (dog latin), Friday, 18 August 2017 15:48 (three days ago) Permalink


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