Tom Waits: Bad As Me

Our raspy voiced friend has returned with an excellent album and a proper follow up to his 2004 release Real Gone. Since Real Gone‘s release in 2004, Tom Waits has still kept his name in the media by releasing a three disc album of all of his bootlegs and previously unreleased tracks that he dug up and remastered back in 2007. In 2009 he released a live album as well, but i’m a technical bastard and don’t include those two album in his overall discography (I prefer to use studio albums and ignore live and compilation albums unless noted otherwise). Therefore, that being said, that means its been seven years since we’ve had a studio album from Waits and thankfully he hasn’t lost or diminished he creativity.

Bad As Me is an excellent album to follow Real Gone, which was also a really good album in my opinion. Honestly, I don’t think you can go wrong with Tom Waits. Sure he’s got better albums than others, but everything he’s done is, in my opinion, brilliant on some level or another and this new album is simply yet another testament to that statement. There’s really something for everyone when it comes to Tom Waits. You’ve got blues, you’ve got jazz, you’ve got folk and bluegrass, ballads, uptempo songs, all laced together with Waits’s distinct signature raspy vocal style. I like to use the expression “carnival of sounds” when dealing with Tom’s music because thats exactly what it is. Every album is different and every song is different and thats what makes him very unique and interesting. It’s also very wacky most of the times and you need to really be in the right mind-frame when listening to Tom Waits because even though he should be taken very seriously, some of his songs are very goofy and by goofy I mean, similar-to-Les-Claypool-goofy. Tom Waits would actually be a great artist to listen to if you like Primus, Les Claypool, or any of that other experimental rock stuff.

I’ve been a fan of Waits ever since I listened to Mule Variations for the first time and for me, that’ll always be my favorite Tom Waits album, but this album is good enough in my mind that I would put this in heavy rotation if I were ever in a Tom Waits mood. There’s really not much to add to a album like this. Some highlight songs for me were “Raised Right Men” the title track, “Get Lost” and “Hell Broke Luce” but like I said before, there’s something in every TomWaits album for everybody. If you like one Tom Waits albums, you like them all, and just because this album is similar sounding to most, don’t get the impression that TomWaits is one of those artists swimming in his own filth (not that Tom probably wouldn’t mind that). Most artists in this day and age need to reinvent themselves to some extent every some odd album (Counterparts just did that with their last album), but Waits has been around for a while and has capitalized on a signature sound that his die-hard fans wouldn’t want him to deviate from so when I say this is album is similar to some previous ones, I just mean that his style hasn’t changed and thats a good thing. All we want from TomWaits is Tom Waits and this record is undeniably Tom Waits…so be happy 🙂

I am

Luke Helker


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