Review: Tom Waits – Bad As Me

Label: Anti-
Catalog No: 87151-2

From the opening assault of horns to every subsequent growl of his voice, Tom Waits leads an army of manic ghouls through smoky lounges and dive bars. Orchestral blues jive through dark corners, forcing raspy vocals to the front, right up in your face. The toe-tapping, frenzied spectacle of some of these songs stirs the whiskey in your glass, making your anticipation for that strong bite even greater. The descent into a humane closet for emotions to hide extends a welcome arm as you stare into the cracked mirror, reflecting on who you were and what you have become.

The absence of Tom Waits these past few years has been marked by downward spirals and torrid emotions. For decades Waits has been one of those artists we turn to for perspective and restraint. His weird and turbulent musical styles have always been bizarre yet we have always been able to identify with them on a deep level. He speaks to our raw animal instincts and somber temperaments.

Waits left no stone unturned on Bad As Me. All of his strengths are exercised to their fullest extent, with a fusing of jazz and blues and the very distinguished roar of his voice. This album takes you back to the seedy motels of the past. A simpler time when havoc still lurked around every corner, but no one used it as an excuse to run and hide. Images of rain-soaked evenings stutter across the eyes as you stand in a deserted parking lot, your cigarette drowning beneath the raindrops. You stand watching your life go by as the intoxicating sounds of a horn section filters out of an unknown window.

Bad As Me gives us a glimpse in the mind of a lovesick bloody-minded fool. It teaches us to never back down. Always keep your enemies in front of you and give them hell every chance you get. We also get a view of what this mindset does to heart and soul. We must stand tall and fight for what we believe in but not let it rule our lives. Our lives may be short but we do have enough time to sit back and reflect on what we have done. Good or bad, when you reflect you must not dwell or regret. Just look back and try to learn something new. Then get up and go back to the revolution.

Rating: 5 Stars
Standout track: Hell Broke Luce