I hope that when people refer to 'Blue Valentine' as Waits' most accessible album it is not in any way to invalidate the poetry and majesty of this great, great record. Personally, I wish latterly that he would try to be a little more accessible: I've read rave reviews of everything post 'Frank's Wild Years,' through 'Bone Machine,' 'Mule Variations,' 'Alice,' 'Blood Money' to 'Real Gone,' etc., but none of these can possibly touch the heart in the way of 'Blue Valentine' or 'The Heart Of Saturday Night,' the latter, along with 'One From The Heart' and 'Closing Time' (which started it all) for me being by far his most accessible and radio-friendly work. 'Blue Valentine,' though patently melodic through-and-through, is the album where Tom makes the leap from the beat poetry, sub-Bukowski personae of albums like 'Small Change' (though a classic of its genre) and 'Nighthawks At The Diner' etc., to a fully-fledged cinematic painter-with-words. The poetry of 'Red Shoes By The Drugstore,' 'Romeo Is Bleeding,' 'Kentucky Avenue' and the brilliant title track itself cannot be denied. They are almost too perfect. No songwriter alive pays greater attention to the minutest details of life lived in the raw, and none can romanticise the seedier side better than the master. Buy this album, because it pays back in buckets.