Artist: "Tom Waits"
Album: "Rain Dogs"
Genre: Alternative Rock
Review: Tom Waits is pretty much my favoritest artist ever, so asking me to pick my most-loved album of his is impossible. I love them all, from the early jazzy, folky stuff to the batshit crazy, grunty vaudevillian chaos of his more recent material. He has never released a bad record. And while I could never consider Rain Dogs to be my favorite (because then Mule Variations and Small Change would get jealous), it's definitely high on my list (and is often declared the favorite by a lot of fans).
Rain Dogs is the second in a loose 1980s trilogy during Tom's "I'm going to go completely fucking nuts and see where that takes me" period, so it's just as chaotic and experimental as 1983's Swordfishtrombones but is a little more confident and sure of its footing than its predecessor. Musically, the album is all over the place, from ballads that could have easily appeared on his first album ("Time"), to cacophonic, drunken polka ("Cemetery Polka"), to blues ("Big Black Mariah", "Gun Street Girl"), to straight up pop ("Downtown Train", fuck Rod Stewart's crappy cover).
If you've never experienced Mr. Waits's work, depending what your tastes are, you may not find this album to be the smoothest introduction; but if you have an open mind and you like what you hear, it's pretty safe to say that you'll appreciate his older more straightforward work as well as his more bizarre experimentation that progressed from this period. Many of you may recognize the song "Jockey Full of Bourbon", as it's been featured in many films. Tori Amos covered "Time" on her Strange Little Girls album, and of course there's Rod Stewart's crappy cover of "Downtown Train", but the less said about that, the better. And I at least have to mention "Hang Down Your Head", which is probably my favorite song on the album with its beautiful tune and earnest, raspily growled vocals.
This was certainly not the first Tom Waits album I heard, but in those opening notes of "Singapore" when the jaunty trumpet kicked in I knew I was in for something special, and it very quickly became one of my favorite albums of all time. Give it a listen if you've never heard it. And if you haven't heard it in a while, blow the dust off and listen again, and you'll be reminded that this is one album that should never be given a chance to collect the slightest mote of dust.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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