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Bad As Me (Deluxe Version)

Tom Waits

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iTunes Review

Now that his high weirdness has been accepted, acclaimed, and even loved, Tom Waits meets us halfway for Bad as Me, his first new studio album in seven years. He’s still America’s craziest uncle, blasting through the pavement with a howl that dreams of Captain Beefheart and Howlin’ Wolf, but he also offers touches of genuine warmth, where his gruff exterior yields to his human heart. “Pay Me” is a piano ballad that opens with the hilarious but all-too-true line “They pay me not to come home.” But while Waits gets his freak on with the stinging power of urban electric blues on the full-bodied “Raised Right Men,” he’s weeping alongside his fellow man on the falsetto ache of “Talking at the Same Time,” where he nails life in 2011. Horns throw the title track into a tough lurch that’s reminiscent of Heartattack and Vine. Keith Richards guests, especially on the humorous “Satisfied.” Tom’s son, Casey Waits, keeps a muscular beat. When Waits has his mojo working, he’s positively scary-good. And be forewarned; he’s got his mojo working here. The deluxe edition includes three additional worthwhile tracks.

Customer Reviews

Like a thumbtack to the skull

Nothing, and I mean nothing, in this life is as brilliantly worthwhile and certain as a new album from Mr. Waits. It's like getting into a rusted old Ford 4-door, rolling the windows down, hanging your head out the open gaping wound, and driving across a landscape of the magnificent unknown. You have no idea what sites and smells and sounds you're going to encounter, but you can be darn sure it's going to be an experience that will stay with you for a lifetime.
Such is Bad As Me.
Like a cozy fireplace, it wraps it's warm melancholy arms around you, and then like a loving grandfather with asthma and a metal jaw, whispers broken nursery rhymes in your ear while feeding you a mouthful of a Carvel Cookie-Puss cake, as frozen bolts of razor-wire light stab into your cerebral meatloaf jarring you awake. Like a thumbtack to the skull, Bad As Me is as good as it gets.

National Mall

It's time to start a campaign for a sculpture on the National Mall in honor of Mr. Waits. A really big one.

The magic is gone...

Waits had a string of pearls back in the '80s and a few great songs before that, but it's been slim pickings mostly since. I know he's considered a GOD by his fans and I too once worshipped Waits like he was the creative offspring of Howlin' Wolf, Captain Beefheart, Jack Kerouac, and Slim Gaillard all mixed into one incredible package. And his bright moments remain some of the most memorable of any musician out there. However, when he resorts his bullhorn screaming antics punctuated by even louder screeching guitars he loses his Midas touch and the poetry just turns into shards of glass and discarded tinsel. The genius of '80s Waits was the craftsmanship, eloquence, and his gifted storytelling and empathetic characters we've sworn we've seen or at least we saw them then through his keen eyes. He saw what we missed, captured it with a discarded camera that only he knew how to work, and displayed the finesse of a mad man on a tight rope high above the city lights in the rain. Sure, he still has flashes and moments and he does seem to be trying harder than ever to make something happen, but it's just not there. Everyone's on Waits bus but that bus is filled with hipsters and wannabees who weren't even born yet when Waits was in his prime and just want to be able to say that magic word that rarely applies to anyone nowadays: "GENIUS!" At one time, I could have sworn that everything Waits touched would turn into something even better than gold, a "Diamond In Your Mind" if you will. "Bad As Me" is like returning to the old neighborhood only to find that everything has changed and no matter who you tell how great it used to be, nobody really believes you.

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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