I just don't know where to start. I woke up with a pounding headache, a more-than-niggling worry about how I am going to pay rent this month and opened my email to a code to listen to Tom Waits' new album "Bad As Me" on his website. Officially to be released on October 24th, those who are on the Tom Waits mailing list received "private listening party codes" this morning. Needless to say, two hours later, I have listened to the album twice, danced, wept, laughed and have packed my bags and am off on the road to discover new worlds. Ok, maybe not the latter, but the rest, yes. Tom Waits always has that effect on me: makes me want to just get in a car and drive until I get somewhere else.
Remember when you had the time to put a new album on, lie down on your bed or couch, close your eyes and just LISTEN? This is what I did. I am so glad I did, because this album is EPIC. Everything I love about Tom Waits all contained in one album. Off-center ballads, marching songs, jangling beats, and-of-the-world-but-everything-will-sort-itself-out upbeat songs, murder, death, lost love, found love, gritty, home, away, characters I can relate to and places I want to go to. Lyrics that are meaningful, slightly twisted, never afraid to tell the truth... Totally relevant to 100 years ago and to today. Old-world, new world, my past, your past, my present, your present, our future. Nostalgia, hope, sadness, empathy, love, hate, anger, warmth - that's my Tom Waits and probably yours too. Listening to Bad As Me brings me right back to a whole load of different places and emotions, pain and mourning, happiness and joy. It's perfect - this is what great music does.
I have words to say about every song on the album, but I think it's up to everyone to discover their own Tom Waits love within this album, so here are a few highlights:
"Talking At The Same Time" is so relevant to the world today, as it was last year, a decade ago, 50 years ago... Waits' uses a falsetto voice to sing this one, and the beat sounds like a train running through life, even though "everyone is talking abut the same time".
Get a job, save your money, listen to Jane
Everybody knows umbrellas will cost more in the rain
All the news is bad Is there any other kind?
Everybody’s talking at the same time
There are quite a few ballady-type songs on the album, which makes me very very happy (my favourite Tom Waits albums are still Closing Time and Heartattack and Vine). "Face To The Highway" is going to be on par with "Ol'55" in my books: beautifully sad leaving song:
I turned my face to the highway And I turn my back on you
I'm going away
Another beautiful departure/lost love one is "Back In The Crowd", slow and crooning, with a sad Spanish riff in the background. This one makes me cry every time I listen to it. It's that one song everyone wishes they could have written:
If you don’t want these arms to hold you
If you don’t want these lips to kiss you
If you’ve found somebody new
Put me back in the crowd
Put the sun behind the clouds
Put me back in the crowd
There are also enough of the more eccentric, jangling beats on the album too, with Tom Waits angry yowl coupled with his signature growl, like "Bad As Me" which is just really too cool for words. Just listen to it and try to feel as cool as he is. Won't work, but you can try! "Before I'm Gone" is another one - listen to the growl!!
"Hell Broke Luce" is pretty amazing. It sounds and is sung like a soldier's despondent marching song, with Keith Richards on guitar and Flea on bass, ending with the despondent lyrics that pretty much sum up war:
Now I’m home and I’m blind
And I’m broke
What is next
I'll leave the rest to you...You can also listen to album by going to the Bad As Me official website HERE and request a listening code. You won't regret it. It's simply amazing. That's all.
Here is more information on the album full track listing and lyrics on the Tom Waits official website under the link.