At the time, Tom Waits was becoming known for his unique, raspy growl of an alcoholic voice, and song writing and arrangements using not only traditional instruments, but taking it all to another level.
Heartattack and Vine:
The album starts out with the title track. Tom uses his raspy voice, a grinding blues guitar and upright bass to kick off the song. It sounds much like a song you could find at a party...someone who listens to his music's party. It gives off somewhat of a shuffle feel, although it isn't in the slightest bit a song to butter someone up or made to feel good. Accompanied with a baritone and tenor saxophone, it kicks the albums on a nasty note, but it a great song nonetheless
An instrumental track. The only instruments here are a blues distorted guitar(much like the previous track), and upright bass and a drumkit. The atmosphere of the song gives it a feeling as a cheap band would be playing it at a crummy bar in the slums of NYC. I'm not a big fan of the song, but it gives the album a good mix
Saving All My Love For You:
The first ballad of the album. Tom plays the piano on this one, as an orchestra and chimes back him up on this sombre piece of a lost-love. The lyrics bring emptyness of nothing but 'her' is on your mind. Beautifuly done.
A song to get your blood pumping and your feet moving. An organ gives it a good taste of difference to the album. The song is in the same style of Heartattack and Vine, but is still to say unique. The upright bass has been changed to an electric to give it a city feel.
The second ballad, and arguably the most beautiful one on the album. A clean guitar and a hi-hat is all that is needed on this track. Jersey Girl tells the story of a man who just needs his love. And it is pulled off perfectly
'til the Money Runs Out:
The groove picks up on this track. A song on misfortunes. Tom using his growl and organ to give it a gritty feeling.
On the Nickel:
Somewhat of a ballad. The lyrics and hollow voice hints more of a lullabye. On the Nickel radiates a deppressing vibe, backed by an acoustic piano and orchestra. You would almost think Waits is crying by the way he is singing this heart-broken song.
A bluesy song to pick you up from On the Nickel. A song about an rebel starting on his own, living on cassinos, whores, and scraps. It gives a gritty, bluesy song you'll be bobbing your head to.
The albums ends with a five minute ballad about leaving a love. Back by his acoustic piano, an orchestra, and a brass ensamble, Waits sings about the pains of leaving a love for the better of her - at the expense of his own comforting home. A song that can easily hit home, regardless of who you are. This is one of the best tracks of the album, if not the best. Waits saved it for the last, as most artists should.
Heartattack and Vine is an album every singer/songwriter should listen to. Waits' songwriting is like noneother, and always will be light years away from other artists. His arrangement, voice, lyrics and orchestration are all simply beautiful and should be on everyone's inspiration list. It would be a crime not to give this album a 5 out of 5. It's genius.
5 out of 5