on 20 August 2003
I bought "Frank's Wild Years" in 1985 when I was 16, because I'd heard Bruce Springsteens cover of 'Jersey Girl' and learned that it was written by Tom Waits. I had no idea what to expect. I distinctly remember bringing it home and putting it on the recordplayer when a friend of mine from school was around. When the needle hit the record and the first sounds came out, he burst out laughing and said 'too bad, huh?'. That's the way it is, all great things in life take time to get into: Whiskey, coffee, opera, I hated all of them the first time I tried them. Off course I kept playing "Frank's Wild Years", not quite understanding why, but it won me over. It won my friend over too and soon we realised that this was big, way bigger than one album. Then next album I bought was "Closing Time". When I put it on, I thought "what's this?" a completely different artist... after 3 plays the same thing happened. And the same thing happened with every new Tom Waits album, something different, difficult, something that you needed to listen to and decide whether it worked or not. It inevitably did. The sound, in time has become more distinct, more experimental and the lyrics has gone from traditional lovesongs with a twist, to compelling poetry where just a few words can spark images and emotions. Since that summer evening in a Copenhagen suburb, Tom Waits has played the soundtrack to the key moments in my life. When I think of the times of the greatest happines, sorrow or moments of feeling 'alive' (in only the way teenagers can), Tom is right there in the background. His early piano ballads, his avantgarde trilogy Raindogs/Swordfish Trombones/Frank's Wild Years or his later wild, weird and wonderful stuff, all is great, all is worth devoting months, years, a lifetime to. The list of truly great songs is endless, many of them has been covered by other artist and gone to the hitlists, in a more commercial version than the original. Of course one of his greatest songs, Tom Trauberts Blues, was written after an evening in Copenhagen with danish folksinger Mathilde (shirt stained with blood and whiskey...what did happen?) Possibly, out of such an outstanding and unparralelled body of work "Frank's Wild Years" is the best album. If you have never listened to Tom Waits, you may buy "Frank's Wild Years" and hate it. But if you give it a chance, and listen to it a couple of times, it will probably be the beginning of a wonderful, sentimental, romantic, beautiful, challenging, but never dissapointing journey... So, if you have ever held on to a lamppost for support, dreamt about the one that got away, longed for a love that was far away or felt like burning down your house and hitting the highway for a new start. Start the journey with "Frank's Wild Years".