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Thread: Tom Waits

  1. #26
    Matt! polmico's Avatar
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    Black Rider.

    Also Black Rider.

    And then there's Black Rider.

    Really, you can't go wrong with any of those albums.
    I want to dynamite your mind with love tonight.

  2. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by jazz2896 View Post
    I've recently started listening to Tom Waits after years of reading nothing but positive, glowing reviews about nearly all the material he has ever put out. I finally picked up on the fact that he was heavily inspired by Captain Beefheart, and that made me decide to finally take the plunge, and you know what? I can't say I'm a huge fan of his work.
    To me, a lot of it sounds very insincere, and while there are a few songs here and there which I do quite enjoy, the majority of his work, to me, ends up sounding like a forced Captain Beefheart impression over basic blues backing tracks. Does anybody else share this opinion?
    Youíve pretty much summed up what I dislike about him. It isnít that his voice is rough, there are rough singers I have enjoyed. Itís that his entire act comes across as phony, insincere hipster posturing.
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  3. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by spacefreak View Post
    This is the only album where he is not Tom Waits.
    Correction - it's the only album where he IS Tom Waits.

  4. #29
    Member Jay.Dee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Facelift View Post
    Correction - it's the only album where he IS Tom Waits.
    Just like Genesis or the Moody Blues were themselves on their first albums?
    Last edited by Jay.Dee; 02-13-2016 at 02:59 PM.

  5. #30
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Facelift View Post
    IMO, Tom Waits has one very good album - his first (Closing Time)
    Btw - as far as the "Beefhearty" vocals, they were something that he developed in the '80s. While I would not be surprised if he and Beefheart might have have similar inspirations from old blues-men, Waits' music itself and Beefheart's do not have much similarity, IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by spacefreak View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    His Asylum stuff was indeed quite different. On the first album Closing Time especially he really sounds like a different vocalist.
    This is the only album where he is not Tom Waits.
    Well, I heard that this afternoon at my library system, and TBH, I thought of Dylan before Beefheart

    on other albums, he's a cross of Beefheart (vocals) and Leonard Cohen (songwriting)
    Last edited by Trane; 02-13-2016 at 02:03 PM.
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from heroin-addicts to crazy ones

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    I Love Waits - honestly probably more so than 80% of the stuff discussed on this site.
    Yes and yes.

  7. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Progbear View Post
    You’ve pretty much summed up what I dislike about him. It isn’t that his voice is rough, there are rough singers I have enjoyed. It’s that his entire act comes across as phony, insincere hipster posturing.
    Ditto- I just think his phony schtick is getting reaaaaally old. He is not a hobo he is (most likely by now) a multi-millionaire celebrity - he is represented by the William Morris Endeavor Agency for fuck's sake and "theatrically managed" by the Schiff company. Basically he has become a brand. And how anyone can say they don't hear his blatant stealing from Beefheart is beyond me.

  8. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by jake View Post
    Ditto- I just think his phony schtick is getting reaaaaally old. He is not a hobo he is (most likely by now) a multi-millionaire celebrity - he is represented by the William Morris Endeavor Agency for fuck's sake and "theatrically managed" by the Schiff company. Basically he has become a brand. And how anyone can say they don't hear his blatant stealing from Beefheart is beyond me.
    I think your assessment is ridiculously harsh. It's not like Waits has ever made a remotely commercial album. And speaking of commercials, he refuses to have any of his songs become jingles, suing Levi's and Frito-Lay when they used his songs without permission. That, to me, does not sound like someone selling out. As far as "blatant stealing from Beefheart", I would say there is an influence, but from a compositional and lyrical standpoint, Waits is far beyond Van Vliet, whose music degraded further and further the farther he went from the 60s.
    "And your little sister's immaculate virginity wings away on the bony shoulders of a young horse named George who stole surreptitiously into her geography revision."

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  9. #34
    Member Jay.Dee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Dark Elf View Post
    Waits is far beyond Van Vliet, whose music degraded further and further the farther he went from the 60s.
    I think that assessing Tom Waits' greatness does not require putting down Captain Beefheart.
    Last edited by Jay.Dee; 02-13-2016 at 07:29 PM.

  10. #35
    Howdy Dave (in MA)'s Avatar
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    Van Vliet, whose music degraded further and further the farther he went from the 60s.
    That's ridiculous. His last 3 albums were some of his best.

  11. #36
    Irritated Lawn Guy Klonk's Avatar
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    I like him. Definitely not something I reach for all the time, but when I'm in the mood for some quirky storytelling music, it scratches that itch nicely. Favorites are probably Swordfish and Bone Machine
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  12. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave (in MA) View Post
    That's ridiculous. His last 3 albums were some of his best.
    Wait and Beefheart are both acquired tastes. Both have received ridiculous accolades from critics for their albums, only some of it warranted. I liked Beefheart's stuff from the 60s and early 70s (particularly with Zappa on Hot Rats and Bongo Fury), but incoherence grows tiring after awhile.
    "And your little sister's immaculate virginity wings away on the bony shoulders of a young horse named George who stole surreptitiously into her geography revision."

    Occasional musical musings on https://darkelffile.blogspot.com/

  13. #38
    I know a couple of fans who think Tom Waits is an obscure song writer. I point out that if NPR plays him... Do many Waits fans think he is their special obscure find? That can't be, right?

  14. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave (in MA) View Post
    That's ridiculous. His last 3 albums were some of his best.
    "Improvisation is not an excuse for musical laziness" - Fred Frith
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  15. #40
    I don't think that his last 35 years of output(1980 onward) are based on an act...Yes, his first few albums did incorporate a seedy character persona-but he wouldn't be the only performer to establish themselves by mirroring the subject matters they sing and write about.
    IMO Blood Money and Alice are two of the finest examples of Waits genius

  16. #41
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Progbear View Post
    It’s that his entire act comes across as phony, insincere hipster posturing.
    You're right - I wish he was really more sincere singing about giant flowers and oral sex with snake women in a fantasy hot tub, but you can't have it all.

  17. #42
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by polmico View Post
    Black Rider.

    Also Black Rider.

    And then there's Black Rider.

    Really, you can't go wrong with any of those albums.
    LOVE IT.

  18. #43
    Member chalkpie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave (in MA) View Post
    That's ridiculous. His last 3 albums were some of his best.
    What he said.

  19. #44
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    I never liked Tom Waits. I've always found his style to be affected, which I wouldn't necessarily mind if I didn't also find it and him boring. My mother liked him.

    To me, he's like a much less interesting version of someone like John Cale or Warren Zevon. This is going to bother some people, but I lump him in with people like David Johansen when he's doing his irritating as hell Buster Poindexter shtick. I get it - you're like an old-timey, honkey-tonk singer. But that's boring to me.

  20. #45
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chalkpie View Post
    You're right - I wish he was really more sincere singing about giant flowers and oral sex with snake women in a fantasy hot tub, but you can't have it all.
    Gabriel was pretty sincere about all that - I never got the sense he was doing it just because he thought it looked cool.

    Have to agree with Progbear on this one.

  21. #46
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    Is it just me, or is there something ironic about prog fans, of all people, criticizing an artist for his perceived lack of "authenticity"? I mean, that's historically been the death stroke given to prog by the Hipster Rock Critics - that it wasn't "authentic". That it didn't come from the artists' "real" experiences, didn't consist of "real", true-to-roots music - that it was an artistic construct, full of made-up stories and made-up musical forms, and was therefore "not the real deal" and invalid. Is it that most of those same Hipster Rock Critics love Waits, even though his bluesman/derelict/Beat Poet act was always pretty clearly just that, an act, and has become even more of one as he's gradually straightened his life out over the last thirty years?

  22. #47
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    Much as I like all of Tom's albums for some reason I still enjoy his earlier stuff Heart of Saturday Night through Heart Attack and Vine the most. Small Change and Nighthawks at the Diner remain my favorites. Of his later stuff I like Bone Machine and Mule Variations the most.


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  23. #48
    Jefferson James
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    Tom Waits is one of the few artists who can pull off totally maudlin material and make me believe it (not that maudlin material is a big chunk of his music but it's a part of his vibe for sure). I never got a sense of his persona being some grand illusion meant to attract hipster audiences in an attempt to make money, but I can understand how cynical prog snobs might enjoy the thought.

    Great observation, Baribrotzer.

  24. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by The Dark Elf View Post
    Van Vliet, whose music degraded further and further the farther he went from the 60s.
    Macht das ohr auf!

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  25. #50
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    My dislike of Tom Waits has nothing to do with any so-called posturing. I have no idea whether his real persona matches his public one. I just don't enjoy listening to his voice, that's all.

    I am the same with Dylan. I have no problems with his beliefs or his sincerity, I just don't think he can sing to save his life.

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