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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best and most emotionally charged album from this genius
Blue Valentine is one of those rare albums which can move you through the complete range of emotions. From the cautious optimism of 'Somewhere', through the desperately sad 'Postcard from a hooker in Minneapolis', to the sparkling genius of 'Red Shoes', this album is quite brilliant. 'Romeo is bleeding' tells the tale of a gang leader dying after a confrontation with...
Published on 11 July 2000

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bit disappointing
Was exploring Tom Waits music and had beard some of his work before. A bit disappointed in this cd but the quality was fine.
Published 1 month ago by sue law


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tom Waits? Start Here!, 26 Jan 2011
This review is from: Blue Valentine (Audio CD)
Tom Waits observes a twilight world of life where little happines is expected (or received) by its inhabitants.
If you come from a comfortable background, he whisks you back instantly to times when you've missed your train or bus home and there won't be another until morning and you don't have the money for a taxi and home's twenty miles away and it's bitterly cold. Your only choice is to walk! What you see and experience on those long journeys home are other people's everyday reality. There's no cosy home to end up at! There's no hole in the wall machine ever going to dispense anything to them. If they're hungry and cold, they're going to have to think of some way of solving their problems - they're unlikely to receive much kindness from anyone they meet (they may be lucky enough to know where the Salvation Army are handing out food) They're beneath contempt to anyone better-off than they are (and that's pretty much everyone!
It's against this backdrop that Tom brings characters to life. They may live this life, they may have escaped this life or they may be heading for this life. Tom can eerily lay their thoughts and actions and the actions of people they meet in front of you in vivid detail. There's a savage beauty to his writing that does mark him out as a genius. Oh! I know that term gets bandied about to anyone who comes up with something half decent or is currently fashionable. Jarvis Cocker made a pretty good attempt at describing this world in 'Common People', but Tom goes much, much further. One thing is certain, if you get into his music, you're unlikely to view those living rough in the same way ever again - you might just become a better person!
My advice would be to start with 'Blue Valentine', if you like it, follow it with 'Heartattack and Vine' and carry on from there - by now you will be ready to appreciate any of his albums! ONCE YOU APPRECIATE WHAT HE DOES, TRY TO SEE HIM LIVE!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blues, the Tom Waits way....., 26 Jan 2009
This review is from: Blue Valentine (Audio CD)
Tom Waits conjures up images of hoodlums, prostitutes, broken hearts, whisky and dope set against a backdrop of dark, rain-drenched American streets. Bluesy, slow, menacing, growling. His best album along side Swordfishtrombones. 'Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis' is a sad, brilliant song. It starts off telling the recipient of the Christmas card (Charley) that she's doing OK and thinks about him often. Towards the end of the song she comes clean and confesses that she doesn't have the life she began describing. In fact, she needs money for when she's eligable for parole on Valentines Day. No description can do it justice so just buy it and listen.
This album contains some beautiful lyrics. Red Shoes by the Drugstore contains my favourite ever lyric line. Just two lines. 'There's a dark huddle at the bus stop, Umbrellas arranged in a sad bouquet'. Such atmosphere! Such poetry! I'm getting carried away.
In short, a really good album and one of my all time favourites.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Waits sends us Blue Valentines, 31 July 2007
This review is from: Blue Valentine (Audio CD)
This is one of Tom Wait's finest records and the high point of his 70s persona. An album full of hoodlum melodies, dirt tragedies, and desperate romances. Every song tells a story, every story is filled with street level pathos. Musically, it grooves, twisting on a melody, never straying from dead centre, seeded from the rough and tumble `Small change' (his best record up to this point) it is the roots of the R n B inflected follow up `Heartattack and Vine, both classic and upcoming Tom waits, beating them both: for cohesion, for impact, for the battle weary heartsongs of the gutters. Tom Wait's voice has never sounded better; at once both bestial and beautiful, like the songs themselves.

We begin with perhaps the most appropriate opening track of any record, as Waits performs his version of `Somewhere', a song from West Side Story: undoubtably one of `Blue Valentines' biggest influences. Here, Waits' voice towers gloriously above the already soaring orchestration, setting the tone for the album perfectly. Then there is a hush before stuttering, tumbling drums announce `Red Shoes by the Drugstore', creeping out of the shadows. This is possibly Wait's most experimental recording at this point of his career, built upon the foundation of a loping bassline, which somehow manages to perfectly capture the impending, inevitable tragedy of the lyrics: a story of a girl waiting on a street corner for a lover who will not come, caught stealing jewellery to present her with. It is perhaps one of Waits most brilliantly realized `concept' songs.

Next up,`Christmas Card from a Hooker' is perhaps the most flawed recording on the record, deconstructed to a single groove like many of the songs but in this case to its detriment, losing the gut wrenching sentimentality of its lyrics in a schmaltzy melody, one of the biggest of Waits' foibles at this point in his career. If performed as a traditional Waits piano ballad (as it was brilliantly in Wait's live sets of this period) it could have stood as one of his finest and most affecting songs; instead, it becomes a tedious, prolonged nag at the attention.

`Romeo Is Bleeding' spins and whirls hiply, Waits' cool cat delivery belying the violent beauty of the story he tells, that of the demise of the leader of a street gang, portrayed very romantically by Waits: `and he'll die without a whimper, just like every hero's dream; like an angel with a bullet, and Cagny on the screen'.

`Whistlin' Past the Graveyard' is practically a Screamin' Jay Hawkins song (and in fact, it has been covered by him) and a brilliant one at that, the at once hilarious and also oddly affecting story of a homeless juju man and it is the most jubilant and cathartic moment of the album.

`Kentucky Avenue' is in the traditional Tom Waits' huge piano ballad style and is one of his absolute best in that category, a monumental, elegiac ode to childhood.

`Sweet Little Bullet' tells of yet another ignominous fate, this time of a teenage girl who comes to Hollywood and doesn't find what she was looking for. Waits' voice here rasps unsympathetically, and is so over the top that it's almost breathtaking, right on the cusp of parody like much of Waits' material.

This is a fantastic record, featuring some of Wait's finest vocals and is perhaps the single record that will cause non-fans of this era of Wait's career to suddenly realize that they `get it', as it did for me.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Dark, Disturbing and Beautifull, 3 Dec 2013
By 
Jan Patrik SahlstrÝm (Oslo, Norway) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Blue Valentine (Audio CD)
This is a dark, deebly disturbing and very beautifull album. A true gem for those of us that prefer the darker side of the street. A bit rough round the edges maybe for those used to mainstream commercial music, but still very much worth listening to
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, 31 May 2013
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This review is from: Blue Valentine (Audio CD)
What can i say, when you're in the mood, this album takes a lot of beating, Kentucky Avenue is wonderful & romantic
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5.0 out of 5 stars superb, 1 April 2011
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This review is from: Blue Valentine (MP3 Download)
This is easily one of my favorite records of all time. When I first heard it (aged 16) I didn't understand it and felt unsure why the person playing it rated it so highly. Intrigued, I bought a copy (aged 17) and played it 'round a friend's house on my way home from school. His dad cussed it and said "he's trying to sound like Louis Armstrong". Get it. Listen to it. It's wonderful, intense, beautiful, poetic, wistful, tragic,...and so much more. Its worth it for the orchestration on the opening track alone, especially the trumpet. Most of the songs contain a linear narrative with a unifying theme running throughout the album. For me, this is the culmination of his earlier work and there's not much on it that's not perfect.
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5.0 out of 5 stars If you haven't tried Tom Waits..., 24 Sep 2010
By 
Robert Joseph (London, London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Blue Valentine (Audio CD)
Tom Waits is like Picasso or Hockney - an artist whose style has evolved over time. I admire and sometime enjoy the savagery of some of his later work, but I truly love the balance of this album. The man is a storyteller, leading you to places you don't expect. Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis is a truly extraordinary piece of work by any standards. Maybe my preference for his more "accessible" albums like Heart of Saturday Night, One from the Heart and this marks me out as a cultural lightweight. If so, I make no apology for that.
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9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars those numerous pre-swordfish trombones type records......, 11 July 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Blue Valentine (Audio CD)
It's borders on impossible to fault Tom Wait's lyrics, and his delivery is impeccable too. The problems occur when it comes to the melodies. The title track is one of Mr. Wait's best, yet something like 'Kentucky Avenue', which is a lyrical goldmine is somewhat hamstrung by the by a lack of melody, and Tom rasping away over a twinkly piano backing. Still, this is a very good record by anyones reckonning, from the grimly humorous 'Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis' to the surreal 'Whistlin' Past the Graveyard', it also marks a more electrified and rockish take on the patent Waits jazz sound.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the first of his "blues era" is a gem, 4 Oct 2011
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This review is from: Blue Valentine (Audio CD)
his sixth album, in six years, waits was working out where his career was going at a frenetic rate. what was amazing was the quality stuff he was coming out with at such speed. rather than stick to a formula, he was also constantly evolving. he started off a drunken barfly, then went via beat poet, and then an album of film-like music, this was his first album that was resolutely blues, albeit with a rough edge courtesy of those stunning vocal chords of his, and some absolutely beautiful lyrics. throughout his career, waits has been capable of some lines and turns of phrase that can take your breath away, especially when coupled with his perfect delivery (waits is one of music's finest ever showmen). his songs are stories (see "Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis" or the fantastic title track - made almost unbearably sad by a stunningly heartfelt vocal performance). he inhabits characters in his songs, and moves from one to another as he goes from song to song. bearing that in mind, the at first glance bizarre choice to cover "somewhere" from west side story can be seen as entirely consistent. "kentucky avenue" is often regarded as one of his finest, but not by me - i find it a little too straight laced. i prefer the beautiful imagery of "a sweet little bullet from a pretty blue gun": 'now i lay me down to sleep/i hear the sirens in the street/all the dreams are made of chrome/i have no way to get back home/i'd rather die before i wake like marilyn monroe/and throw my dreams out in the street and watch the rain make 'em grow'.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Feeling blue, 19 Oct 2007
By 
Mr. L. R. BUXTON (England!) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Blue Valentine (Audio CD)
Waits' 6th album, after the rather safe and by the numbers "Foreign Affair", is a much bluesier affair, with guitars finally joining Waits and making a harder-edged affair than before.

A very desperate "Somewhere" from West Side Story is an acquired taste, with its heavy orchestration, but after that the album picks up notably. "Romeo Is Bleeding" is a classic, "Xmas Card..." is Waits taking a new lyrical standpoint - that of the titular hooker, and a moving number it is too. But there's more - the straightforward blues of "$29.00" and the wonderfully simple, straight-to-the-heart narrative of the closing title track.

Accessible and yet powerful, this album proves a welcome reinvention for Waits, and the bluesy style again suits his raspy, whispering, growling vocal style. And it would hardly be the last...
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Blue Valentine
Blue Valentine by Tom Waits (Audio CD - 1993)
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