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Ryan's Review: "Bad as Me" by Tom Waits

By Ryan Rutledge
On October 21, 2011


Tom Waits is a legend of a dying breed. He brings thoughts of a cool, old, lounge crooners of the 1930's and 40's. His raspy voice, the horns, the piano, the guitars all sound of a dark time in American history. That doesn't mean Waits doesn't keep it interesting though.

Tom Waits is one of the most interesting men in this music period. Like all of his work, he likes to add absurd twists to his lyrics, instruments that sound other worldly, and tell tales of seedy underground characters. Ever since I was introduced to his music a few years ago, I've been hooked. When I heard this summer he would be releasing a new album this year, it's easy to say I was excited. Then I found that he would be streaming the new album online for members of his email list starting October 17th, a week before the release of Bad as Me, I signed up right away and got myself a code to listen to it.

This album starts off with the track "Chicago", it's a short track but it's a fantastic introduction to what exactly you'll be getting yourself into with this album. In fact, the song sounds like you're taking a ride on a train with the way the instruments are played, the train whistle harmonica, the chugging beat, and to top it off Waits yelling "All aboard!" at the end of the song seems to be his way of saying we're in for a crazy ride. The next two tracks "Raised Right Men" and "Talking At The Same Time" have a fantastic blues sound to them. "Raised Right Men" has a nice straight forward blues feel to it with it's spastic organ, dark looming beat, and Waits' intense delivery of lyrics.

The major highlights on this album though would be the title track, "Bad as Me", "Hell Broke Luce".  "Bad as Me" show how masterful Waits is at word play. "Bad" has an intense delivery and an intriguing dialogue going on. He's lost someone he's loved, someone just like him. He's seeing them as a necessary evil, and his other, sly voice is encouraging the want of this "evil" back in his life. The biggest song on this album by far would be "Hell Broke Luce". This song sounds like it came from hell itself, but he's singing about war, more specifically Iraq and Afghanistan from what I can tell.  The stomping and clapping in the background with the heavy guitar just give this song a bite like no other, and the machine gun bursts and explosions just kick it up a notch.

Overall Bad as Me is another quality showing from Mr. Waits. The songs on here are all top notch, which at this point, seems to be all Tom Waits can do. There truly is none other like Tom Waits, and if you haven't listened to any of his other albums then this would definitely be a good starting point. Be sure to pick this one up when it comes out on October 24th.

Tracks you'll Love: "Pay me" "Hell Broke Luce" "Last Leaf" "Satisfied"

Tracks you can Skip: "Face the Highway"

Rising Stars: Self Made Records

( Suisyde Layne, Duke LAX, Young Piddles, Lil' Gunz, T-Collets, Big Red, D Nelly, ElJefe, and Coudaman, all make up the up and coming roster for the rap crew under Self Made Records. 

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