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4.7 out of 5 stars30
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 6 May 2002
If you have liked any Tom Waits albums since Sworfishtrombones, you will love this....just a word of caution though :it is not suitable for those of a nervous disposition! The aura created by the brilliant and original inventiveness of Tom Waits may leave you with an uneasy feeling.You wont find yourself humming these songs in the shower!
There is nothing startingly different from much of his more recent work on this album,it is similiar to many of his other post Swordfishtrombones offerings. But what he does, he does brilliantly. For me he is the only genius working in the world of rock: rock music as art? In the hands of Tom Waits, most certainly yes.
If you have never bought a Tom Waits album this would be a good place to start. If you are fed up of the usual bland pap that passes for rock music these days and are looking for an album with originality, black humour, great lyrics, amazing arrangements that is more than just a little off the wall, then this is for you. Buy it!! Within 5 seconds of the start of track 1 you will know you are in the presence of genius.
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on 9 May 2002
This is Thomas at very near his uncompromising best: a demented tango, a sliver of mississippi delta blues, some lushly orchestrated sinister instrumental passages, much staccato blurting and gurgling, a little fractured crooning, and the now familiar recourse to the pulpit ('The devil knows the Bible like the back of his hand'). While not sounding quite new to aficionados of his recent work, the production and the songwriting still genuinely startle, and the reward for negotiating the mostly bumpy terrain is a meltingly tender finale, in which (one of his great talents) he breathes new life into the most insipid cliche: A Good Man is Hard to Find.
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on 5 June 2002
Dare I, as a an unflinching Tom Waits fanatic have the audacity to say that I didn't rate 'Mule Variations' a great deal? For me it somehow lacked the sporadic bursts of eccentricity and the edgy diversity that epitomised the genius of his 80's work. My message is simple. I'm sorry, because 'Blood Money' is as good as anything I've ever heard. From the jazzy whirr of 'Another Man's Vine' to the drunken growls of it's fittingly wonderful climax this is a diamond of an album. 'Blood Money' wavers on the tightrope of madness but at the same time delivers something starkly wonderful. Thank God an artist like this is still at large. I won't go on about the individual tracks other than to say that you never know what will be dealt next, from hoarse laments to barking stomps they truly reflect every cavern of a mind that still bubbles with fresh inspiration in today's painfully bland world.
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on 14 May 2002
I have a problem. I got to know Mr Waits years ago (around about Closing Time) when his style was far different. More poetry set to sleazy jazz than music. I loved it. Then he went weird. A bit like when Dylan went electric I suppose. I have gone out and bought most of his CDs over the years but have never really enjoyed then since about Heart Attack and Vine. Recently though I bought Alice and Blood Money. I have to admit that he has eventually won me over. The songs are painfully beautiful. The lyrics haunt you. OK I still need the occasional fix of Small Change Got Rained On or Burma Shave but I can now listen and love once more. Plus the kids have stopped rolling their eyes every time I play it. Buy it and cry!
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on 26 April 2002
Blood Money is a macabre journey through the multi-faceted talents of Tom Waits. Sure, his voice may sound like the strained and hoarse growlings of a misplaced death metal vocalist, but he does so much more with this damaged instrument than any Boltthrower song could.
The opening track is "Misery is the River of the World." Clever, misanthropic lyrics and jaunty circus-style music make the listening experience uniquely surreal. The promotional material describes the percussive backbeat as sounding like "a dead army of marching skeleton men," and yeah, that's about right. "God's Away On Business" has the same sort of sound. I do believe Voltaire is similar at times, if you're looking for musical comparisons. However, Voltaire has never sounded like his vocal cords were being tortured on a cheese grater.
In "Another Man's Vine", Tom gets the blues and his lament rings true. "Golden Willie's gone to war / He left his young wife on the shore / Will she be steadfst everyday? / Along the way her letters end / She never reads what Willie sends." Oh, those wicked, wicked women!
The music of Tom Waits always transports me to another world: a nasty, dirty world filled with cold-hearted women, out-of-luck drunkards, amoral junkyard men, and forgotten dead soldiers. Although I don't want to stay here too long, Tom makes the stay tempting in a demented fairy tale sort of way.
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on 20 July 2002
I'm a relatively new tom fan I found a copy of rain dogs about two years ago at university and since then I've always had a place in my heart and my cd collection. The mellow humour of his earlier work usually listened to over a long whisky good to chill out two. Then came the more strange styles of his mid/late eighties moving to these two albums (Alice released concurrently)but Blood money is a different animal all together dark unrelenting and harsh. It kicks off with misery's the river of the world and then everything goes to hell both hard and strange with an undercurrent of tired exasperation. It's a bag of paradoxes waits comforting voice and technical excellence with dark undercurrents and eerie melody. It leaves you feeling a little mixed a kind of cynical melencholy tinged with hope, no artist in the modern era can envoke emotion like Tom Waits.
P.s. If you liked this try black rider
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Both 'Blood Money' & 'Alice' explore the theatrical side of Waits (they are based on plays- one around 'Alice in Wonderland', the other Buchner's 'Woyzeck'-check out the Herzog film)- but in a less mediocre way than parts of 'The Black Rider' & 'Frank's Wild Years'. And 'Mule Variations' was a little patchy- still a return to form was found on 'Dog Door' from Sparklehorse's 3rd album.
'Blood Money' reinterpretes 'Woyzeck'- the brilliant, unfinished play based around a soldier driven to madness by experimentation. Both 'God's Away on Business' & 'Misery is the River of the World' stand out- having the song structure of 'Rain Dogs' and the percussive focus of Waits best 1990's work, 'Bone Machine' (songs such as 'Earth Died Screamin' & 'Goin Out West'). There are some great ballads also, some rival early classics like 'Martha' and 'Johnsburg, Illinois'- 'Lullaby', 'A Good Man is Hard to Find'. The best song here is the gorgeous 'Coney Island Baby'- which is as great as songs like 'In the Neighbourhood', 'Time' and 'Innocent When You Dream'.
Tom Waits is in great form again and this is one of the two albums by him released this year that warrant a place in anyone's record collection.
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Tom takes to the road and casts off the encumberance of rhyme and reason to create a shambling surreal masterpiece. Central European sensibilities are explored drawing on the same depth of horror found in Grimm's fairytales, Tom dissects Woyceck a play of infidelity, power of authority, medical research and psychological collapse. Set in the Middle Europe of the 19th C Tom takes the timbres, rhythms, melodies and angst of the local cultures and creates a downbeat angst wrenched Svankmajer type record.

Whilst Nick travels to Amerika to satiate his vision, Tom comes to Europe to feed on the blood of the old world. As Konsinski highlighted in "Steps" central European peasant communities are steeped in the bachanals and gore of centuries of blood letting enshrined in local histories. The shuffling folk rhythms, crooning gravel inflected laments shine the light of pathos on thawing worlds emerging into the 20th C after years of stiflement. The Cuckoo clock rhythms, moulded in the chocolate box era lurch with drunken intent to decry the lack of justice in a world bereft of comfort. Acoustic instruments playing the waltzes to the last orders of time.
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on 23 April 2002
A jaunty and vigorous return for Waits, and one that merely cements his reputation as one of the great songwriters of this, or in fact any other, generation. Powerful and energetic music backs up the grimness and horror of his lyrics. The effect leaves you overwhelmed and confirms your opinion of Waits - he is an extraordinary songwriter and is a very rare talent.
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on 6 May 2002
Despite what some critics have said, this is actually the less successful of the two new Tom Waits albums. The songs either follow the hit-em-hard avant garde stomp of 'Singapore' (only not as great as that track), or the wistful European balladry of 'On The Other Side Of The World' (from the Night On Earth soundtrack). So Tom doesn't really get up to anything that he hasn't got up to before. It's brilliant, of course, but not as brilliant as it ought to have been. His vocals on the ballads are not exactly easy to listen to, as he sounds like a mournful geriatric on them. His voice is still a powerful instrument though, as shown by the black-humoured rants that are scattered through the album; 'God's Away On Business' is the most fun. Perhaps too many similar stomps for the one album, without any great variety in their composition. The Part You Throw Away, originally given to Ute Lemper, is arguably the most successful of the slow numbers, and Waits finally gives a necessary twist on the ballad with the closing number, A Good Man Is Hard To Find, an interesting gender-shift, and a good finish. If you're interested in greater variety, and superior ballads, though, get hold of 'Alice'.
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