The seventhÂ studio album from Tom Waits is here and it is the gravel-voiced troubadour’s first of all new material in seven years.
Opening with the frantic horn bleating of â€œChicago,â€ we are pretty much thrown into Chi-Town on this snappy beat tune with oleâ€™ Charlie Musselwhite, adding a great wailing harmonica on the end. â€œTalking At The Same Timeâ€ has an ice-chip cool tinkling piano and Waitsâ€™ falsetto, not something heâ€™s known for by a long shot! In fact Iâ€™d dare say this is Waitsâ€™ most adventurous vocal album in a long time. (Tom Waits and adventurous vocals you say?)
The movers here, â€œGet Lostâ€ (with Waits doing Elvis over the 50â€™s backing), â€œBad As Meâ€ (Waits again managing some amazing vocal tones, plus a lyric I love), and â€œSatisfiedâ€Â featuring Les Claypool and Keith Richards (Richards on â€œSatisfied,â€ get it?) shift, burp and rock in the usual Waitsâ€™ fashion. But for me it is the ballads that are spectacular. â€œPay Meâ€ is heart-breaking with its carnival backing and Waits singing purposely out of tune on the bridge. â€œLast Leafâ€ is light and airy, pretty much an acoustic ballad with Keith Richards providing backing vocal in a broken-down tumble that works. The last tune, â€œNew Years Eve,â€ is all regret and slow creep â€˜til the shut down.
It has been well worth the wait for new Tom Waits. No one makes music this unique. Bad As Me is brilliant.