By Cory Doctorow at 8:40 pm Tue, Aug 7, 2012
The new video for "Hell Broke Luce," the best track on Tom Waits's outstanding recent album Bad As Me is every bit as kick-ass as it should be. Directed by Matt Mahurin.
Maybe I’m alone in saying this, but I never got Tom Waits. I never understood the appeal.
Not sure about other people, but the appeal to me is the poetry of the lyrics, the music is almost incidental.
yes the lyrics are beautiful but when combined with his musical delivery, well for me…sublime.
You’re not alone.
You and the befuddled Dogpound. Watching Waits lurch and growl on the Arsenio Hall Show made me an instant fan. I ran out to buy Bone Machine the very next day, longbox and all.
Holy freaking hell.
I used to feel like that and thought it was kinda like how kids don’t like Stephen malkmus anymore, but you have to find a song or two by Waits that really grabs you, he becomes more bearable, and then genuis becomes apparent. Still, his gritty masculinity doesn’t appeal to me, his politics though do.
Try this. I think it’s as important a piece of American music as any.
I think you need a certain disposition, and maybe a confluence of life events and discovering him at that moment.
For me it was Frank’s Wild Years and one of the saddest songs I’ve ever heard:
Easily, a top 10 post-WWII lyricist. For me, probably my fave, but I’ll grant there are others who come close to Waits. And from a musical perspective, starting with Swordfishtrombones, he starts putting together super interesting compositions. He was good before then, of course (for example, try not to be deeply affected by the video below) but he gets experimental when he falls in love and starts collaborating with the woman he is currently married to, Kathleen Brennan.
That’s all I got.
De gustibus non est disputandum, I guess.
What provoked you to comment on this in particular? The internets are full of things I have never understood the appeal of. Are you very particular in your apathy or very busy with your posting?
I genuinely wanted to hear people’s perspective on Waits as, like I said before, he never really appealed to me, but I am interested in why he appeals to so many. I definitely didn’t mean to come of as attacking people for liking him or anything like that.
Try this instead – the floating house is much better in this one –
This sequence from “Down by Law” made me seek out Tom Waits´music for the first time:
I bought the album, “Rain Dogs”, and it was the perfect gateway drug. It took me some time to appreciate some of his rougher stuff but by now I consider him as one of very few musicians that apparently can do no wrong.
That’s exactly how I discovered him. Sitting in a tiny theater in 1986, I’d never heard anything quite like it. After leaving the theater, I went directly to the record store and bought that album.
If you don’t like this video link, then you officially don’t like Tom Waits, and don’t ever need to listen to him again. Leave him for the those of us who couldn’t live without him. :-)
I cannot recall ever hearing of Tom Waits until I saw that Cookie Monster vid. I can scarcely imagine that anything will top it.
I love Waits, and that was the perfect chaser. thank you.
Waits’ two or three initial albums were profoundly sweet and sensitive. His latter-day bad Captain Beefheart impressions are almost completely off-putting to me. I enjoy a good bit of rumbling noise as much as the next guy, but Waits’ universally beloved crackpot soundscapes just come off as silly and ill-conceived. I’m sure Waits’ many fans love him for numerous reasons. If I want to hear Beefheart, I’ll put on “Lick My Decals, Baby” not Waits.
PS – yeah, I know Beefheart ripped off Howlin’ Wolf…
Holy shit, that was great! This is the best thing he’s done since “Bone Machine” — thanks!
I think you’re wrong for thinking that this is the best track on Bad as Me. It’s not even in the top 3.
Who could fail to yield to the weight of such persuasive discourse?
Sweet pumpkin Christ I would love to see his live show – is he touring this album?
I’d like to point out that this album is four dollars on Amazon and that’s a steal. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005SMTD58/ref=as_li_ss_til?tag=deanp-20
I’d like to point out that the mp3 version of this album is four dollars on Amazon and that’s a steal.
Ragged, visceral brilliance!
Xactly! And wasn’t he the absolutely best Satan in Terry Gilliam’s “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus”?
I believe that at several points during that I rocked.
“I was a chef…my name was Geoff”. Ouch! You still have to love Tom though…
Ah, that takes me back…
For Germans who do not wish to jump through proxy-hoops to overcome GEMA’s somewhat Palin-American recalcitrance with YouTube, here is an alternative link (complete with un-skippable ad):
Using Firefox and Modify Headers Plugin to View Blocked Video Streams
Uh, what did you do to your videos, they stopped showing in the last week or so, nothing, no link, no box, nothing. Your fru-fru dev went way to far out on a limb this time.
So, after finding it on my own at Utub, it is you standard TW fare. Sublime lyrics, for sure. For the guy who penned ‘Old 55′ he knows how to write. His performance and sthick always wears thin for me. Smoking as a prop and acting like your drunk/high, be it actual or staged, is always a bore to me. Gravely voice, I can do that, whoop te do. Tom should stick to writing.
I absolutely can’t wait to see the Cookie Monster treatment of this song.
The old man is as good as ever. Over the years he has inspired so many musicians and artists to greatness. Even laymen see Tom and say ‘I can do that too’. Of course, none of them could.
I like to use Tom as a barometer of a person – to see if they are someone I want to bother to know. It’s a good method let me tell you. Anytime I try to become friends with someone who doesn’t like Tom, it’s ended badly. If they like him, and we still don’t quite click, hey! at least we have Tom Waits in common.
Even if a musician inspires folk to say, ‘I can do that too’, and they can that’s awesome. But, yeah.
This reminds me of trying to convince to people why Frank Zappa is so great. Either you get it or don’t.
very good !! shared with my fellow tom wait enthusiasts on facebook ( where i am a known and unrepentant boing boing referrer )
Thanks for the link. Wonderful!
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