Saturday, 20 September 2014

Another Top Five. Tom Waits this time

Here is my Tom Waits top five.
1. Hell Broke Luce.
Yeah, regrets. Just listen to this one. It is absolutely awesome. I wish I'd written it. Not only does it have a beautifully up-front beat so rare in music these days, but the words are such a beautriffic (beautifully horrific) way of spelling out the reality of war. Oh yeah, and Luce? That's not a misspelling, it's a character's name.
2. Rain Dogs.
A jolly little song about becoming a refugee. Tom Waits does a lot of stuff like this, danceable hummable tunes which for a while sound beautiful until you wonder about Waits' voice (some say he tries too hard at that, but I think he tries just enough). I've chosen this as representative of that kind of song.

3. The Piano Has Been Drinking
What can I say? It reminds me of some of the dives I've played in, and you know what? I've loved it every time and from this song, I suspect so has Tom Waits. Hallelujiah.

4. God's Away on Business.
This has a certain personal resonance for me because I sang an acapella version of this in 2010 at the Purcell Room on London' South Bank, and that was one of the major highlights of my life. A quote from this song, "Who are the ones who are left in charge? Killers, thieves and lawyers", has been a quote on my facebook profile since I joined facebook in 2009.

5. Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis.
Yeah, we've all been there. Good for us. The song is about trust and illusion, and that includes self-delusion. I think it's brilliantly done.

And then there are the others it hurt to leave out - the twisted folksy nostalgia of "Innocent When You Dream", the bitterness of "Heart Attack and Vine", a straight (ish) C&W love song like "Hope I don't Fall in Love with You." There are so many and yet I don't really consider myself a fan. I've never bought a Tom Waits album, nor been to a concert... and yet I smiled when i saw him as the bartender in Book of Eli, so colour me ambiguous. I don't like everythign he does but there's a Hell of a lot I do like.

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