Artist: "Tom Waits"
Album: "Rain Dogs"
Genre: Alternative Rock
Label: Island

Reviewer: Protoclown
Posted: 1/13/2009

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.

Overall rating: WholeWholeWholeWholeWhole
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

Jan 13th, 2009, 05:39 PM
I would add a special invisible 6th pickle for this album.
Jan 13th, 2009, 08:19 PM
Rack it up to a super special 7th pickle.
Jan 13th, 2009, 08:59 PM
Hell, give it all the pickles in pickledom; Tom deserves them.
Jan 13th, 2009, 11:06 PM
Two weekly reviews with five pickles... Apocalypse Now...
Jan 13th, 2009, 11:32 PM
Yeah, please review something crappy to keep the pickles in balance.
The Goddamned Batman
Jan 14th, 2009, 01:14 AM
Don't worry guys, I just checked and the invisible pickles are there.

And I reviewed The Spirit last week, which most certainly did not get many pickles at all.
Tinhorn varmint
Jan 14th, 2009, 08:25 AM
My little face lit up when I saw you were reviewing Rain Dogs. It was the first Tom Waits album I bought after hearing 'Singapore' on the radio and I've loved it ever since. It heartily deserves five corporeal pickles and a large amount of invisible pickles too...
Serial Loiterer
Jan 14th, 2009, 09:32 AM
The first thime I was knowingly exposed to Tom Waits was watching a video for 'In the Neighborhood' on VH1C, and I knew right away that this was my new favorite artist. The funny thing is that if you mention Tom Waits in conversation, the person either looks at you like you got brocolli growing out your ears because they've never heard of him or they are diehard fans of the guy. Mule Variation was my top album, but you're definately right when you say that it's hard to pick just one as a favorite.
Turrican't. :(
Jan 14th, 2009, 01:07 PM
Tom Waits is a 8==D.
The Magnificent Bastard
Jan 14th, 2009, 02:28 PM
My Dad got me into Tom Waits, and I think he's fantastic.

My favourite songs of his are "Singapore", "God's Away On Business", and "Sixteen Shells From A Thirty-Ought-Six".
Fookin' up planets!
Feb 2nd, 2009, 04:29 PM
Tom Waits is the Man! I was hoping he would bust out into song as Renfield in Bram Stoker's Dracula. My favorite Tom Waits song is "The Piano has been drinking".
The Ugly Puckling
Feb 7th, 2009, 11:04 PM
No song of Tom Waits beats "Cold Cold Ground" It is flat out, his best song.

The usage of it on Homicide - Life On The Street ranks in the top five best uses of music in a television show or movie.