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Alice

Tom Waits

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iTunes Review

This 15-track song cycle was written by Waits and his wife Kathleen Brennan in 1992 for Robert Wilson’s stage production of Alice, loosely based on Alice Liddell, the young girl and muse for Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland books. It had been considered Waits’ lost masterpiece, since it had been never been officially recorded. Ten years later, it was released simultaneously with another Robert Wilson-inspired collection, Blood Money. Alice is a gentle, romantic suite, scored for a small chamber orchestra with songs modeled on waltzes, folk tunes and jazz ballads. Waits describes it as “adult songs for children, or children’s songs for adults.” Violins, cellos, French horns, marimbas, and clarinets sculpt the sound and Waits approaches the material with much tenderness. Even the occasional rave-up (“Kommienezuspadt”) sounds muted. Waits’ true horrors — and the album’s most compelling tracks — are hidden under the surface. “Poor Edward” is a mournful ballad that heard carefully recounts the suicide of a man with two faces, while “No One Knows I’m Gone” and “I’m Still Here” are sung by characters resigned to their fates as forgotten men — only rescued by Waits’ intrigue and compassion.

Customer Reviews

One of my favorite records!

A fantastic record. Written for the stage, this is an awesome collection! If you're a Tom Waits fan it won't take until the end of 'Alice' before you're grinning ear to ear. Standouts: Alice, Flowers Grave, Poor Edward, We're All Mad Here, I'm Still Here, Fish and Bird. Fish and Bird is the best track on the record. If you only have a buck, get that one.

Often beautiful, sometimes boring

Some of Wait's best work is here, but the album needs to be shorter. A good four or five songs could have been trimmed off, especially as too many of these broken heart ballads employ Waits' droning croak voice. This can be effective, but in smaller portions. One after another in the same plodding tempo, the voice begins to drown the melody and everything starts to sound the same. There is more sonic variation and, frankly, life in the original bootleg. This not to say Alice isn't a good, often great album. It is simply another flawed but brilliant latter day effort from a great artist that disdains comforts zones to a fault.

Blue, Melancholic Masterpiece.

Takes awhile but (similiar to some of his other albums like Real Gone) Alice is one of those things that grows on you. Probably Tom Wait's most melancholic. Highlights are Alice, Flowers Grave, No One Knows I'm Gone, Poor Edward, Fish and Bird and Fawn- stop me before I just include the whole thing, because as a great album, I believe it's best enjoyed as a complete work, and not just single songs. The simplicity of the piano part, and the lone violin throughout the album give it its defining features musically.

Biography

Born: December 7, 1949 in Pomona, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

In the 1970s, Tom Waits combined a lyrical focus on desperate, low-life characters with a persona that seemed to embody the same lifestyle, which he sang about in a raspy, gravelly voice. From the '80s on, his work became increasingly theatrical as he moved into acting and composing. Growing up in Southern California, Waits attracted the attention of manager Herb Cohen, who also handled Frank Zappa, and was signed by him at the beginning of the 1970s, resulting in the material later released as The...
Full Bio

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