"I was sick through that whole period. It was starting to wear on me, all the touring. I'd been traveling quite a bit, living in hotels, eating bad food, drinking a lot - too much. There's a lifestyle that's there before you arrive and you're introduced to it. It's unavoidable."
Tom Waits said this about the time the album was recorded, and these are exactly the feelings reflected on the album. Inebriated tales of drunks and hard-luck people trying to to cope with life. Disillusionment with the commercial and success. All wrapped up in drunken piano ballads and voice weary with extensive cigarette smoking and too much whiskey.
So, the atmosphere and themes are great; it's really what makes this album. But Waits doesn't just settle with this, no, he goes on to write some of the greatest tunes of his career, the most wonderful lyrics he ever wrote and delivers some of his finest vocals ever.
From the very moment the string section of "Tom Traubert's Blues" fades in, the album grips you by the heart. It gives you everything; grand weepers such as "Tom Traubert's Blues", up-beat, jazzy and groovy pieces such as "Step Right Up", bittersweet ballads like "I Wish I Was In New Orleans", funny drunk ramblings in "The Piano Has Been Drinking (Not Me) and some darker material such as "The One That Got Away" and "Invitation To The Blues".
Every song on here has its own life, and stirs your emotions in different ways. The album is an amazing listen from both a musical and emotional point of view. Do yourself a favor and don't miss out on this one.