Preconceptions: I had heard some Tom Waits before, namely the album Bone Machine in its entirety as well as assorted albums that I had been forced to listen to. I know that there are some people on the planet that love him and eat up everything he does. I’ve never been one of those people, in fact I’ve always considered myself the opposite. I know that he is slated to be inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame so I figured it was time to get on board with Tom Waits.
After Listening: I am not on board.
Favorites: Putnam County, it most closely resembled a song. It was about something, it had sections. I didn’t love it though, mostly due to it being too long. I wanted to like Foggy Night and I wanted to like Better Off Without a Wife as well.
Least: This was a very hotly contest battle but I have to give the nod to Nighthawk Postcards with Eggs & Sausage coming in a very close second. Both songs were maddening in their lack of anything at all to latch on to in the way of positives. I was mad at Eggs for being basically him listing off the menu items of a diner, I figured anyone could make that song. But Nighthawk Postcards was even worse because only he could make that song, but to me, that’s a good thing.
Overall: I wanted to have my opinion changed on Tom Waits so that when people were having the sporadic Waits love fests that I find myself in two or three times a year I could actually participate rather than sulking away silently. So I read the wiki page for the album and looked for things that seemed positive. I liked the idea of recreating a club atmosphere by inviting the audience into the studio and playing after a warm up from a stripper. That’s cool. And for about 45 seconds I was into it, I dug the upright bass and the piano, but then Tom Waits got involved. He struck me as an actor who was asked to play a drunk jazz singer in a club in 1941 Chicago, a part he plays well, but to me that sounds gimmicky and pleasant for all of 45 seconds.
After an hour of this I was tense, my head hurt, and I needed to go for a walk. I’m looking forward to listening to positive reviews because it’ll be like having read a book in Portugese, hating it, and then someone translating it into English. Perhaps it will open my eyes to whatever it is that’s not computing. I don’t get this at all. I don’t get what’s enjoyable about it. For those that are interested I jotted down my thoughts on the album as I went and if you’re interested in my free form musings I’ll gladly send them out, but I didn’t want to be too negative about something that some people love. If I’m allowed to give this zero stars then I’ll say zero, otherwise a 1.