Everett True

that new Tom Waits album reviewed in full

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Tom Waits - Bad As Me cover

As a friend wrote on Facebook, “It’s the best kind of ‘more of the same”.* So here’s my challenge to you:

Find me just one review – online, or in print – that more eloquently sums up Tom Waits’ 17th studio album. I don’t care how many words the reviewer has got to play with. I don’t care how consummate a grasp of the English language they command. I don’t care how entertaining they choose to be, how inspirational or inspired or insipid, whether I end up with an insight into the Fourth Wall that I never possessed before. I don’t care if they’re fucking Germaine Greer. (Yes, and I know you can read that sentence two ways.) I don’t care if they weep Chai Tea and drink camel’s blood. I just don’t think it’s possible.

Find me that review and I will doff my cap to you.

Indeed, find me one review that doesn’t – somewhere along the line – phone it in, and mention the words bloody-minded, curmudgeon, barfly, lowlife and/or distortion, fire, brimstone, comical and/or raw, unnerving, sinister and/or bluesy, rollicking, gravelly voice, haunting and I’ll doff my cap and fill it to the trim with the very finest new femme-pop I can find. And drink camel’s blood.

All the reviews I’ve seen so far compare Mr Waits’ new album with The Pogues, Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, Bruce Springsteen … why? Why would you compare Mr Waits with anyone but himself?

*I would like to temporise that phrase. It’s the best kind of “more of the same”, with added Keith Richards.

P.S. Yes, I have it heard it. Glorious. Still don’t think Alex’s phrase can be bested, though.

4 Responses to that new Tom Waits album reviewed in full

  1. Conan Neutron October 26, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    You know, i’ve never reviewed a Tom Waits record, and i’d be down to try? It is the best kind of “more of the same”, but that assume the reader already knows Tom Waits right?

    I think I could give it a go without the overused, hack language.

  2. Everett True October 26, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    sure. Give it a try. The challenge is open to everyone.

  3. chiara October 26, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    Mmmm I don’t really like this way of summing a great record up, I don’t think it renders justice to it: the word “same” contains some sort of negativeness.
    Tom Waits created a sound, explored it wildly and with this new album is putting it all together spacing from genres, times and places we can almost touch through his lyrics. Furthermore, it was a long time since Marc Ribot did not put so much of himself in a Waits record. Keef name may be glamourus but is Ribot’s guitar that makes the total difference here. I see this record as glorious come back collaboration between the two.

    Oh, and I hate when they compare him to Cohen or Cave, it just doesn’t make any sense to me, although the bonus track “Tell Me” could have well be a Bruce’s song, totally.

  4. Hector Drone October 27, 2011 at 7:26 am

    There are at least three Tom Waits re-inventions of himself so although I like ET’s pointoif view, as it happens I haven’t listened to the record, I cannot understand whether it sounds like the Elektra, Island or Ant-i Tom Waits.

    However, if I had to review the album and didn’t actually like it, here’s what I woud write:

    Bad As Me
    Couldn’t have said it better myself, Tom. It sucks exactly like you do

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