Tom Waits
Bad As Me


4.0
excellent

Review

by Michael Philp USER (42 Reviews)
October 29th, 2011 | 119 replies | 15,032 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Not exactly a kiss from a stranger, but damn fine all the same.

12 of 12 thought this review was well written

I remember my mother’s first experience of Tom Waits. I remember it because I introduced her to him, and her response was “How could anyone love that?” She was being entirely sincere. What she heard in the gravelly, insane ramblings of “Lucinda/Ain’t Goin’ Down” – from his last major release, Glitter and Doom Live - was a man who had drunk one too many scotches and then tried to sing in front of a crowded bar, who were apparently too drunk to boo him off. She’s not far from the truth actually. Tom Waits probably has drunk one too many scotches, and I would not be surprised if the people he first sang to were too drunk to care. That’s the funny thing about Mr. Waits though, people do love him, and they’ve loved him for almost half a century now, even when they’re not wasted. Now, in 2011, 40 years after Waits made his first major step into the music industry, he gives us yet another reason to sing his praises in a poor, and possibly drunk, imitation of his style.

Bad As Me is not new ground for Waits. Its pastiche of rock, jazz, blues, and a few things in between, has been a staple of his sound since his experimental period in the 80s. He’s been refining it since then, alternately boiling it down to bare essentials and blowing it up with vigour. Bad As Me has a bit of both, embracing songs that feel like reconsiderations of Waits’ earlier style (“Kiss Me”) as well as tracks like “Hell Broke Luce”, which feeds off his most aggressive performance in decades. Let’s be clear, when we talk about “Hell Broke Luce”, we’re not talking about his usual stomp (though that too is present), we’re talking about Waits waging an all out battle against war. He is angry as hell, and he’s not shy about it.

If this sounds like a retread, or at least a celebration of a bygone era, then I’ve done my job right, because that’s what it actually sounds like. It sounds like Waits doing what he’s always done, but better. My jaw was on the floor when I heard “Talking At The Same Time” and realized that the vocals serenading my ears were Waits’. The last time he sung in that pitch (and correct me if I’m wrong) was in 1992, on “Dirt In The Ground”, and it sounded horrible – I laughed my head off at the thought that Tom Freaking Waits was trying to use a falsetto. Nobody’s laughing now. The sound he produces on “Talking At The Same Time” is more than respectable, especially for a man whose usual range includes “insanely deep”.

Bad As Me may be a retread, but it doesn’t feel tired. Waits has all the energy of a young performer with the added bonus of decades of experience behind him, a glorious combination if ever there was one. He’s now entering his fifth decade as a performer but you wouldn’t know it just by listening to him, you’d swear it was his second or third. Bless his whiskey drenched soul, in all those years he hasn’t lost a step.



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user ratings (247)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Eclectic
October 29th 2011



3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

If there is a man out there who doesn’t want to embrace his lover after hearing “Kiss Me”, then let his voice be heard because I want to meet him and ask him what the hell is wrong with him.

taylormemer
October 29th 2011



4887 Comments


Cool. Need to check this out for sure.

DoubtGin
October 29th 2011



6684 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Waits is the best ever.

"Hell Broke Luce" is probably my song of the year.

jefflebowski
October 29th 2011



6841 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I wouldn't say he's 'pastiching' rock, jazz and blues more than incorporating it into his style.

good review though

Eclectic
October 29th 2011



3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Waits is the best ever.

Agreed.

I can see where you're coming from Jeff, I think I'll stick to my original wording though, thanks for the kind words.

scissorlocked
October 29th 2011



3479 Comments


this man is incapable of releasing shit

Digging: Fantastic Mr Fox - Sketches

jefflebowski
October 29th 2011



6841 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah, most of his 21st century stuff has been really, really good

Piglet
October 29th 2011



4644 Comments


i knew you would do a review for this

Eclectic
October 29th 2011



3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, I'm predictable like that.

I should probs do one for the new Florence + The Machine too, since I'm pretty sure I'm the only Sputnik member who didn't like it. But that means work and I've got too much of that on my plate already.

jefflebowski
October 29th 2011



6841 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm not really getting all the F+TM love on Sputnik at the moment. I mean, the first album was good, but this one just seems average from what I've heard. It's not exactly getting raved over in the press either

Eclectic
October 29th 2011



3302 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm not really getting all the F+TM love on Sputnik at the moment. I mean, the first album was good, but this one just seems average from what I've heard. It's not exactly getting raved over in the press either.

Pretty much my thoughts, just replace "good" with "amazing".

Spare
October 29th 2011



5223 Comments


album's masterful

jefflebowski
October 29th 2011



6841 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^I bought your avatar from a charity shop this morning....

Spare
October 29th 2011



5223 Comments


nice

jefflebowski
October 29th 2011



6841 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

not bad for £1.50

Alucard125
October 29th 2011



532 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review, can't wait to hear this.

WeepingBanana
October 29th 2011



9893 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

thank you for reviewing this

can we all talk about how Hell Broke Luce is the best song ever?

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
October 29th 2011



5610 Comments


good review, pos.


Must check this out sometime, as i listen to Rain Dogs these days.

Digging: Mekong Delta - In A Mirror Darkly

iFghtffyrdmns
October 29th 2011



7047 Comments


aww fuck yeah need to hear this.

Maniac!
October 29th 2011



26187 Comments


that contrib tag is throwing me off.



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