Tom Waits
Heartattack and Vine



by Jimbo3181 USER (1 Reviews)
January 14th, 2005 | 14 replies

Release Date: 1980 | Tracklist

Background Info:
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.

The Review:

Heartattack and Vine:5/5
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

In Shade:2/5
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:5/5
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.

Jersey Girl:5/5
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:3/5
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:4/5
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.

Mr. Siegal:4/5
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.

Ruby's Arms:5/5
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.

Final Score 5 out of 5

user ratings (213)

Comments:Add a Comment 
August 14th 2004


I don't know the album, but I'm a huge fan of Tom.

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.

I completely agree with that, with Bob dylan's permission, of course.

August 15th 2004


Good review. Not enough praise can be given by those who understand his art. My personal favorite is Mule Variation's. I have not heard this one, thank's to you I will promptly get off my a@@ and get a copy. I have been trying for year's to acquire a good recording of "Big Time" on VHS or DVD. Since I do not like to use my credit card over the internet I am very limited. Here in the Detroit area there are a lot of used "rarities" stores, but I have yet to acquire a copy. Any suggestion's?

August 15th 2004


Would this album be the best starting point?

March 19th 2005


It's hard to say. Waits' earlier stuff is much "blues-ier", while, in his later stuff, he sings like a demon.

His darker stuff is all later in his career, check out "Real Gone" or "Blood Money" for good examples.

(Listen to the 30 second samples on Amazon if they have them.)

April 18th 2006


Album Rating: 3.0

Is this more like "Closing Time" than it is like "Rain Dogs?". I think I will purchase this.

August 28th 2006


Album Rating: 3.0

I just listened to this. The opening and closing track are awesome.

December 23rd 2007


Our band, Krimson Chord covers this song. We get a great response and hope its turning people on to what a Wonderful artist this man is. Check this stuff out.

October 29th 2011


Album Rating: 3.5

bit of a transitional album IMO. Doesn't reach the crazed awesomeness of Rain Dogs, but has lost the great tunes of Closing Time.

Still, it's Waits, so it's good

January 7th 2012


Album Rating: 3.5

Jersey Girl is beautiful, and his vocal performance on Mr. Siegal is absolutely brilliant.

Taken me a while to get into this one, but Tom never fails to be awesome.

January 20th 2015


Love this

October 13th 2016


Album Rating: 4.0

Why isn't this album talked about more?

October 13th 2016


Good question. Probably just because it's overshadowed by slightly better albums he released from around the same time, but it's great on its own.

April 22nd 2017


Album Rating: 4.5

best album of pre swordfish trombones-era Tom.

Needs more love, shit's packed with jams.

November 25th 2017


Album Rating: 4.0

dig this way more than small change and foreign affairs

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