Sunday, November 12, 2006

Album of the Week 11/13/06:
Tom Waits - Frank's Wild Years

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Suggested by: MJ

MJ: Eventually I had to make a pick for AOTW that would show that I don’t just listen to metal. I was on a roll there. Come on, Dokken and Fastway back-to-back? Was anyone worried about me just a little bit?

Got to see TW for my second time this year, which is always a treat. He’s one of my favorites, and a just felt I would force Mark to listen to one of my favorite albums by him. Also, he put out a fabulous 3-CD box set of unreleased and new songs a couple weeks ago, so I was getting myself in the mood…

I lean more towards the older, slower Waits stuff. I still like the wilder songs he does, but much prefer the quieter, balladesque (I think I made that word up) songs. This album is a good mix of the two styles. There are many different musical stylings on this one. It’s such an interesting album, and hangs together as a whole so nicely. He was on such a roll at this point of his career – “Swordfishtrombones” and “Rain Dogs” were his previous releases.

“Innocent When You Dream” (both versions), “Cold Cold Ground” and “Train Song” are among the album’s highlights for me, but as I said before, it’s the sum of the parts that make this album so special. A certain atmosphere is created throughout that binds it all together.

Okay, I’m in the mood now. On to discovering that box set…

MH: Here's is my Tom Waits story. He took a long time for me to like him. When I was living in Indiana, I kept hearing about him, and that I was supposed to love him and respect him. The only thing was, I couldn't stand his voice. I found it grating and obnoxious. I started to like and admire his songwriting, but I couldn't listen to any of it because he freaked me out so much. Then, Glory Be, two TWO albums came out of other artists covering his stuff came out at the same time. I bought them immediately. It was "Holly Cole Temptation" and "Step Right Up" by various artists like 10,000 Maniacs, Violent Femmes, and my fav at the time Frente! I was thrilled. I got to know all of those albums pretty well, and really liked Tom Waits enough to give him a shot. ( I know, How BIG of me) I bought the album Closing Time while I was in Scotland at this totally cool cd shop that I think at the end of the trip everyone in Schadenfreude had purchased at least 5 cds each. They were cheap for albums that we didn't have. They bought a lot of Zeppelin. I bought Tom Waits and Meatloaf. I also bought Justin some Roberta Flack, yo. No Big Deal. Anyhoo. Closing time became one of my favorite albums. His piano work and the mood of his songs on that album were perfect.

When I hear Tom Waits, these images always pop in my head. Trains, pork pie hats, stale beer smell, ripped leather or vinyl barstools, coughing, unkempt beards. It all winds up having the same I could have been or done more sense. Sad, but not melancholy in a way. Like he's gonna go on, but is wiser for the lesson. And it always seems like he's coming home...

When I had the radio show for our pilot I used the song "Depot, Depot" off the "Heart Of Saturday Night" for a scene. It just fit perfectly.

Which brings me to this album of the week. I loved it. I knew a couple of the songs already since I just recently saw him in concert. The album as a whole is fantastic. He is such a good songwriter I can hardly stand it. I wonder if his real life is as interesting as his album's alter egos. It would be interesting to talk to him about it. I listened to it while I was on a train coming up to the city. With every clickity clack of the rail, I felt more at home with this record. I just want to travel in a boxcar when I hear his stuff. Of course, a boxcar with a bathroom and at least ONE comfortable seat. His arrangements are so simple too. Like all good music, Simplicity is beautiful. His piano work is fantastic. I hope to own everything he has and to put one song on every mix tape I make. Because I feel people need to be reminded of his brilliance...Well done, Brother of Metal. Good Pick....

1 comment:

Catty said...

Personally I'm down with The Sound of Girls Aloud - the Greatest Hits, which is bar none the best album anyone anywhere will hear this year.