Tuesday, July 19, 2005

A Man Must Test His Mettle, in a Crooked Old World

Tom Waits – Blood Money

I was once very fond of this album, but unfortunately it was lost in the great CD drawer heist of Ought-Two, so I haven't listened to it for a long while. But over the last few years I've grabbed a couple of Tom Waits' other albums, 'Alice' which is good, but not as good as 'Blood Money', and 'Mule Variations', which I don't like at all.

Tom Waits has the most incredibly deep gravelly voice, death metal vocalists would kill to sound like that. God knows how it got that way, but it sounds great. The music is very unique too, full of off-kilter, obscure instruments, giving the album an dreamy old-fashioned vibe, which works whether the songs are gentle or menacing. Waits writes great lyrics too, on this album they're very dark, just look at these song titles, 'Misery's the River of the World', 'Starving in the Belly of a Whale' and 'Everything Goes to Hell'. Coupled with the peculiar music it creates a great ambiance, reminding me of Lewis Carroll in his more twisted moments ('Alice in Wonderland' was part of the inspiration behind 'Blood Money's companion album 'Alice').

It's not quite as good as I remembered, mainly because there are more filler tracks than I recalled, but this is still a very good album, and I'm really glad I got round to buying it again. Given that I like this one and 'Alice', but not 'Mule Variations', would anyone who listens to Tom Waits care to recommend which of his albums I should check out next?

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