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Bad As Me [VINYL] Import

24 customer reviews

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Music

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Biography

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

Visit Amazon's Tom Waits Store
for 109 albums, 7 photos, discussions, and more.

Product Features

  • Ships in Certified Frustration-Free Packaging

Product details

  • Vinyl (20 Oct. 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Import
  • ASIN: B005IGVZX2
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 252,900 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Chicago
2. Raised Right Men
3. Talking At The Same Time
4. Get Los
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

Product Description

Throughout his career, Tom Waits has created milestone albums that serve both to refine the music that has come before, and to signal a new phase in his career: Rain Dogs and Mule Variations are both counted by fans as among these pivotal works. Now comes Bad As Me, his first studio album of all new music in seven years, which finds Tom Waits in possibly the finest voice of his career and at the height of his songwriting powers, working with a veteran team of gifted musicians and longtime co-writer/producer Kathleen Brennan.

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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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 26 people found the following review helpful By The Wolf TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 24 Oct. 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Waiting for the postman to arrive this morning I was almost salivating
(....and not for the reason you might expect. I'm not that kind of Wolf!)
The delivery of Tom Waits' new album 'Bad As Me' safely made I have spent
much of the day absorbed in its extraordinary and wonderful contents. For my
1000th review I wanted something very special to write about and this is it.

"Who Is Tom Waits?" For the most part he has always kept the "real" thing
closely under wraps. A family man, first and foremost but beneath the
spotlight and in the studio he subdivides into a whole cast of colourful
personae, each given flesh and blood through his inimitable voice and
uncanny ability to make his musical narratives burst into vivid life
between our ears. I have followed his recording career for thirty-five years
and the prospect of each new album arriving in the listening world still
fills me with anticipation and excitement every time.

Another question : "What Is Tom Waits?" is somewhat easier to answer. He
has always been and remains one of the most inherently great songwriters
and performers on the planet. This new release is no exception to the rule.

Although the musical language of 'Bad As Me' is familiar (like an old and
valued friend) this is a part of his indefatigable strength and longevity.
Continuity and consistency are the keys to his magic kingdom

The thirteen principal songs on the album (there are another three on the
"deluxe" edition) fall alongside the rest of his back-catalogue comfortably.
Mr Waits is not out to test us here; this collection delivers the essence of
all we have come to know and love about his writing.
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24 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Biffer Spice on 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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9 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jonny gillard on 24 Oct. 2011
Format: Audio CD
Tom Waits is a freak. He has a way of making music both intimate, cinematic, scary, warm, heart-breaking and funny all in the same 10 seconds. He and Nick cave are the only song writers who tell stories of mischief and mayhem that I don't find dull, aimless or pretentious. This album is wonderful which is no surprise as every album he has ever produced has been insanely good. If you're new to Tom Waits than this, Alice, Bone Machine and Mule Variations would be a good starting point. Tom Waits is quite simply giant balls made of talent.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Scarlet in Black; The Literary Lounge at The Literary Shed on 3 Nov. 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
He kept us waiting but this album certainly was worth it. Waits at his best ... bluesy, gravelly, beautiful. And a really nicely packaged edition.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By mapanesh on 25 Nov. 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Still growling away beautifully, yet another bunch of classics from the master. Nice little booklet, with lyrics too, very happy to have some fresh Tom in my life.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Camac. on 27 Nov. 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I will keep this short as i can`t be subjective reviewing this album as i have loved all Tom Waits stuff since "Closing Time" all those years ago.

Mr Waits is an aquired taste i realise this but this album sees him in my opinion back to his "Very Best" , from the writing to the class of musicisianship, to the variety of material it is all superb.

For the admirer it is a must buy, for the new listener it is a very good taster for the banquet, (that is the rest of his material), to follow.

It really is a no brainer.
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Leonardo27 on 24 Oct. 2011
Format: Audio CD
Having lost none of his capacity to surprise, Tom Waits' latest progression takes him at least one step backwards towards some of his earlier incarnations, whilst still rooted firmly in the present. The result is possibly his most widely accessible album for decades.

Waits' wilder, experimental, journeys to the edge have been curbed a little this time, much of his trademark cacophony of recent years eschewed in favour of more conventionally structured songs. But it's all unmistakeably Waits, from the opening frantic shuffle of "Chicago" to the closing "New Year's Eve" - a 21st century Fairytale of New York, with which it's bound to be compared. (Unless, of course, you've invested in the Deluxe version, in which case you get three fine additional examples of the master's art for your extra money.)

"Raised Right Men" is a delightfully funky romp incorporating a suitably crazed vocal, the lilting "Talking At The Same Time", all slack-key guitar, tinkling piano and distant brass section is an unmitigated joy, whilst "Kiss Me" represents the unexpected return of Waits' seventies bar-room crooner.

The delicious rockabilly romp of "Get Lost" complete with retro guitar solo, and the Stones-inspired "Satisfied" (featuring Keith Richards and namechecking both The Glimmer Twins), keep the momentum going nicely whilst the military stomp of "Hell Broke Luce" is another highlight, Waits' latest anti-war diatribe. Clearly, if God's been away on business He just extended His trip.

And there are tender moments aplenty, "Face To The Highway" the best of these, a song of regret and painful departure evoking the spirit (if not the arrangement) of "Ruby's Arms".

Whilst fans will doubtless be delighted, paradoxically this could also be the Tom Waits album for people who don't like Tom Waits. Go figure.
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