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Bad As Me [CD]

Tom Waits Audio CD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
Price: 15.39 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Tom Waits, according to the esteemed American critic Robert Hilburn, is "clearly one of the most important figures of the modern pop era". It's been just over 30 years since Tom Waits made his recording debut. In that time his music has taken adventurous twists and turns, from confessional country-blues and jazz-flavored lounge to primal rock and avant-garde musical ... Read more in Amazon's Tom Waits Store

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Frequently Bought Together

Bad As Me + Real Gone + Blood Money
Price For All Three: 29.99

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  • Real Gone 5.99
  • Blood Money 8.61

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Product details

  • Audio CD (24 Oct 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: ANTI
  • ASIN: B005IQ2LT4
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17,396 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Chicago
2. Raised Right Men
3. Talking At The Same Time
4. Get Lost
5. Face To The Highway
6. Pay Me
7. Back In The Crowd
8. Bad As Me
9. Kiss Me
10. Satisfied
11. Last Leaf
12. Hell Broke Luce
13. New Year's Eve

Product Description

BBC Review

It's been five years since Tom Waits released Orphans, a triple album that mixed new songs with a clear out of oddities and outtakes, making Bad as Me his first album of all-new material since 2004's scabrous and sonically inventive Real Gone. Couple that with his reputation as one of the greatest musicians of the last 40 years and it's fair to say that expectations for Bad as Me are high.

The album ignites more than begins, the hot, horn-fuelled blues of Chicago rushing straight into Raised Right Men's dagger-like organ stabs. Talking at the Same Time offers a withering report on the financial crisis ("Someone makes money when there's blood in the street"), Waits crooning in his familiar, eerie falsetto while slide guitar blooms over a brushed backbeat. But with the disposable roadhouse jive of Get Lost it becomes apparent that Bad as Me lacks the cohesiveness of a Swordfishtrombones or Bone Machine. While those albums develop a unity even as they leap between radically diverse styles, from avant-garde soundscapes to cocktail jazz and hellish blues, the songs here feel less closely related to one another. In this regard Bad as Me is similar to Mule Variations, which offered a taster menu of Waits' Island Records period. Seeing as it is the most successful album of his career, and a favourite of many for whom it was the introduction to his work, this needn't be considered a bad thing.

It would be a twisted world where Bad as Me was judged a disappointment, as there isn't a dud on it. But it's also the Tom Waits album that most undeniably echoes previous works. Satisfied - a coil of spiky, swaggering energy - could segue straight into Big Black Mariah; Kiss Me is almost uncomfortably close to Blue Valentines; New Year's Eve, which stows a traditional, sentimental song (Auld Lang Syne) inside a boozy ballad, repeats the same sleight performed by Tom Traubert's Blues (that time with Waltzing Matilda) in 1976.

This seems a backward step for an artist who, certainly since the watershed of Swordfishtrombones in 1983, has attempted to resist repetition. The bracing experimentation of Real Gone, for example, was arrived at by Waits leaving his comfort zone and abandoning keyboards. But while portions of Bad as Me feel overly familiar there remain some outstanding moments here. Face to the Highway glimmers darkly with a world weariness bordering on disgust; the lyric of Last Leaf, a duet with Keith Richards (who has cropped up previously on Rain Dogs and Bone Machine), blends sorrow and sly humour as it both celebrates and laments being the "last leaf on the tree". It's the kind of broken-down plaint Waits has been singing since Closing Time in 1973, but is crusted with added pathos when it's coming from a 61-year-old. The album highlight, however, is the distorted stomp of Hell Broke Luce. Looping a fragment of Waits' wheezy exhalation alongside the croak of a tenor sax and a martial beat, the song gets inside the head of an American veteran of Iraq or Afghanistan - "Now I'm home, and I'm blind, and I'm broke" - and joins Real Gone's Day After Tomorrow and Orphans' Road to Peace as an artefact of Waits' late-flowering talent for addressing aspects of American foreign policy.

It's to be regretted that there isn't more here that calls attention to itself in the same way. Bad as Me mostly finds Waits roaming his property, repainting the fence instead of jumping over it into the next uncharted field. But while this isn't a great album it's still a very good one, and even lesser Waits is worth a lot in any other currency.

--Chris Power

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Product Description

Tom Waits Bad As Me

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Anyone thumbing through Tim Adams revealing interview with Tom Waits in last weeks Observer (23/10/11) should also read the subsequent comments upon it by Waits aficionados who are a particularly articulate bunch. One summarizes his Waits infatuation with the immortal line that "Tom Waits. He's the Dad I never had, the brother who wouldn't play with me, and the sister with the strangely deep voice". You know what he means. Tom Waits is both a one-man history of American music but also a vivid reflection of our lives ribald joys, drunken disasters, tender moments and defeated heartaches. He is a first class honours American maverick and the most genuinely original artist in modern rock music. On "Bad as me" he is back in over powering form and rocking harder than he has done for years. "Anyone who has ever played a piano," Waits has previously stated, "would really like to hear how it sounds when dropped from a 12th-floor window" and on his 17th album he does on occasions make a mighty racket. He is helped in this task by the presence on the album of his wife Kathleen Brennan, guitarist Marc Ribot, Flea from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and a previous collaborator that other old blues reprobate Keith Richards.

The album starts with "Chicago" a roaring blast of horns and fast chops which sees Waits in fine voice and doing a Casey Jones style "all aboard" chant. He follows it by outdoing Nick Cave in the dirty blues stakes with "Raised Right Man" where Waits exclaims "Heavens to murkatroid/Miners to coal/A good women can make a diamond out of a measly lump of coal".
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bad is very good indeed 24 Feb 2012
By Bemused
Format:Audio CD
Having been a Tom fan since the 1970s when Small Change was released, I always look forward to the new releases and am rarely disappointed. Having read a few reviews of this latest album, I wasn't too sure what to expect. Well what an album! Nothing out of the ordinary on the first few listenings and then it begins to hit you. The wonderful rhythms of the opening track, the stomping energy of the next and the wonderful tunefulness of next... and so it continues throughout. So what if some of the tracks remind us of songs gone by, he's not the first artist to rework old ideas and bring fresh energy to them. If you want to try some Tom Waits this is as good a place to start as any. It doesn't happen too often but at the moment,I can't stop playing it. It's always difficult to pick a favourite and I'm sure when I next listen to Swordfishtrombones or Mule Variations etc. I will change my mind,but at the moment this is my favourite Tom album. Buy it and love it.
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47 of 59 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars recycled tom 28 Oct 2011
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
i'll start off this (most likely unpopular) review by saying i'm a massive tom waits fan. to put the review in context, my favourite era is the mid-80s trilogy, which i hold up as a high water mark for music in the 80s. i also love his blues albums of the late 70s, the one from the heart album of 1982, and the heart of saturday night. i'm not a huge fan of his later albums (eg since 1987's frank's wild years) with the exceptions of the black rider and alice. i feel his work has faded into regurgitating his favourite themes in ever so slightly different ways, and his work is subject ot the law of diminishing returns. what seemed fresh and vibrant when he first did it seems less so, when you recognise the riff, when you recognise the lyric, when you recognise the format. it's the moment when you notice the card the magician has got hidden up his sleeve.

i would also say that i came to tom waits quite late (probably about a decade ago, and so listened to it in a fairly unordered sequence. therefore, bone machine was about the fourth album i listened to, etc, so i wasn't burned out by then - i just recognised the better writing and invention in the earlier stuff, and the stagnation in the later stuff. i also find he delivers his lyrics better in the older albums. his real strength for me over the years has been his simply wonderful lyrics, and powerful delivery. he has kept the beautiful voice, and in some ways that has got better. eg in the black rider and alice, that voice is so rich and powerful, there really is little in music to compare with it. it's an instrument as much as a voice, and he inhabits his different characters to wonderful effect. that voice is the reason i will always buy his albums. there's no fix like it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A little disappointed to be honest 22 Jun 2012
Format:Audio CD
I have to say, its a bummer to write this review. Been a massive fan of Waits since my high school days when I was first exposed to Swordfishtrombones. I still consider that one of the greatest albums of the last 30 years, as is Raindogs and Frank's Wild Years. I think these are absolute stone classics. The amazing thing is Waits has maintained a pretty high standard since '83 when Swordfish came out. Just think of Bone Machine, the incredible combo of Alice and Blood Money, the superb collection of B-sides and outtakes in Orphans... I wouldn't hesitate to give any of these a 5 star rating. And then came this long break with nothing. So when I heard there was a new one, I thought: hell, this is going to be fantastic. He must have been working on it all this time.

Well, I wish it were so. Unfortunately it feels more like Tom woke up one morning and decided to make a record. Nothing wrong with that. But where is the invention, the pure genius of the lyrics, the otherworldly creative flair that we have come to expect from Tom? Where is the carnival? Where indeed... it feels like this man of endless creative ability has run out of ideas, as horrible as that sounds.

It appears there is plenty of energy and commitment but the sheer magic is missing. The great albums were just effortless, this one feels like he is trying to reach a place but just can't make it. I kept listening and listening, hoping for something to materialise out of the murk. Some of the best albums take a while to reveal themselves. But unfortunately it is yet to happen. I DO like Talking At the Same Time. That to me feels like the best song of the album for now. I was disappointed in Hell Broke Luce. With a title like that I expected it to be mighty, but it feels strained and bombastic (scuse the pun).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Tom Never Let You Down
I own everything Tom Waits has every released and put this in his top 5 albums, playing it non-stop at the moment
Published 8 months ago by GraemeR
4.0 out of 5 stars How bad is this?
Not bad at all...Tom growls his way through stories of the American squallor. My favourite song is the last on the album: New Year's Eve.
Published 16 months ago by Bryan Morrison
4.0 out of 5 stars Good But Not Great
This is a good album, but not quite a great one. Tom's voice has always been gruff but now it seems close to having gone completely. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Jeff Farlow
5.0 out of 5 stars TOM WAITS FANS GOTTA HAVE THIS!
Get it, listen to it, listen to it in your car, in your living room, in the bath, in your sleep. It will get under your skin whether you like it or not!
Published on 8 April 2012 by ruthenium
3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing wrong with trying
Mind you, Tom Waits isn't Gustav Mahler, nor did he ever intend to be. Considering his own versatile style this is a recording in its own right. Read more
Published on 16 Jan 2012 by Tristan
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost back to his best
I have a few of Tom Waits albums, and this is one of his best. Love the title song, back to his best.
Published on 11 Jan 2012 by ramosthecat
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
I love this album, very easy on the ear. Excellent. Bought for present for my husband and he loves it too.
Published on 5 Jan 2012 by Jenny
5.0 out of 5 stars back to his best!
got this album today,you never know quite what to expect from tom,but this is right up there with blue valentine. Read more
Published on 29 Dec 2011 by frank perriam
4.0 out of 5 stars tom waits
smashing, tom back to his best, songs that stick in the head long after they have gone he is one man i would love to see live....
Published on 19 Dec 2011 by crowman
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
This album is great. I have all Waits albums and this is a great addition to the collection ...It is exactly what I wanted and exactly what I hoped for.
Ideal, thanks Tom.
Published on 11 Dec 2011 by Y. Duarte
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