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The Tom Waits thread.

Thread Summary

Posted by Pea
Mar 25, 2011 14:18:15 GMT -5
Since he was just inducted into the Rock & Roll hall of fame, I think this would be a great time to discuss one of the greatest musicians and all around artists in recent history. Once a year or so I go through a phase where I listen to nothing but his entire discography front to back, and no matter how many times I hear his music I still get chills.

What are your favorite albums of his? Heart of Saturday Night is one of my all time favorite albums, followed closely by Closing Time. Rain Dogs and Bone Machine probably fall after those two and then everything else is pretty interchangeable for me. Heart Attack & Vine would almost make it into my top albums of his just for Jersey Girl, which I find to be one of the most mesmerizing songs ever written.

Here's a great video from the induction with Neil Young inducting him:


"Songs are really just interesting things to be doing with the air."

Probably the greatest quote of all time.
Posted by Horned Gramma
Mar 25, 2011 14:30:22 GMT -5
Tom Waits was one of my most powerful obsessions before I got into The Residents. I have every album he's ever released, and there is something special and unique about all of them.

Rain Dogs is the classic by most standards, and it is just about flawless. The early to mid 80's were the best part of his career -- once he started writing songs with his wife and really started beating the bones, his music became otherworldly. But his greatest records are scattered all over his forty year career: Mule Variations was a page turned and has some of his best songs on it, as well as performances by Les Claypool and some exceptionally beautiful ballads. Swordfishtrombones is probably my favorite; the best examples of his skeletal, subterranean boogie are in there, including the title track and "Shore Leave".

Heart Attack and Vine is the best of his material from the 70's, but as much as I used to love "Jersey Girl" it's kind of the low point of that record for me now. It's an amazing song, but in the middle of all the whiskey grooves it ends up sounding kinda schmaltzy.
Posted by Horned Gramma
Mar 25, 2011 14:33:30 GMT -5
Oh man, and Real Gone came at just the right time. "Hoist That Rag" is so fucking cool.

I remember when Blood Money and Alice were released on the same day and I was kind of overwhelmed by it. Blood Money sounded kind of self-conscious and Alice was a real slow burn. Still great songs on both, though.
Posted by stamper
Mar 25, 2011 14:43:04 GMT -5
I loved him in Mystery Men.
Posted by StormyPinkness
Mar 25, 2011 14:45:13 GMT -5
And Dracula.
Posted by Horned Gramma
Mar 25, 2011 14:45:14 GMT -5
Oh man yeah, he has such a great screen presence as well. He's the best part of any film he's in, even if it's a real turd like Bram Stoker's Dracula.

In Mystery Men, he was just icing on the cake.
Mar 25, 2011 14:46:33 GMT -5
He also had a pretty awesome turn as an angel in Wristcutters.
Posted by Pea
Mar 25, 2011 14:49:33 GMT -5

For some reason I avoided this album the longest. Bad mistake.

Oh, and if any of you haven't seen The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Tom Waits plays the devil in that movie and is absolutely fantastic. Overall it's a pretty stunning movie and definitely worth watching.
Mar 25, 2011 15:07:04 GMT -5
Has anyone listened to Scarlett Johannson's Tom Waits covers album? I've heard its not very good.
Posted by Horned Gramma
Mar 25, 2011 15:10:49 GMT -5
It's the most fucking soulless thing I've ever heard. How arrogant must that girl be to think she can even do that?
Posted by Pea
Mar 25, 2011 15:14:06 GMT -5
Didn't David Sitek produce it too? From what I heard it did sound pretty awful. On the contrary, her album with Pete Yorn is a really enjoyable listen.
Posted by Horned Gramma
Mar 25, 2011 15:16:29 GMT -5
I've got a disc in my collection that is collaboration between a British composer named Gavin Bryars and Tom Waits. It's called Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet, and it's pretty remarkable.

Bryars had made a recording of an unknown homeless man singing these lines:
Jesus' blood never failed me yet
Never failed my yet
There's one thing I know
That he loves me so

He looped just that brief verse and was playing it in his studio, and then decided to write a piece of music around it, starting with just some strings matching the old man with a simple chord progression. Over about 70 minutes, he slowly adds more strings and some horns and other instruments, and in the final section Tom Waits joins in for a duet with the recording of the homeless man.

It's very simple and beautiful, and if you can get into the rhythm of it (which can be difficult sometimes), it's a very zen-like listening experience.
Mar 25, 2011 15:19:42 GMT -5
That reminds me of Charles Spearin's 'Happiness Project'.
Posted by JeffaLump
Mar 25, 2011 18:03:55 GMT -5
I loved him in Coffee and Cigarettes
Mar 25, 2011 18:05:33 GMT -5
Whoa. I haven't read this thread yet, but oh my fuck yes!