Sunday, 6 December 2015

Songwriter Sunday: Why I think Tom Waits is Great (and You Should Too)

By Marshall Jacklin

image via Paste Magazine

The music of Tom Waits has been, and continues to be, a massive emotional force in my life, both artistically and personally. The first record I ever heard of his was, surprisingly, his 1973 debut Closing Time, which contains the floor-smacking knockouts Lonely and Martha, (in regards to the latter, ever wonder where the lyrical inspiration for Adele’s Hello came from?).

Each album in his massive discography is home to the most beautiful and poignant stories of love, loss, and losers, and Lord knows we all love the losers. His talent with words and handling of challenging thematic material has always left me in awe, for the reason that he perfectly balances form and specifics with metaphor open to interpretation, take a listen to The Long Way Home to see what I mean.

What’s especially impressive about his career as a whole is that he has never stopped growing, his sound has continually been reinvented, and at 65 he is still the epitome of cool. The universe of Tom Waits is one I’m so glad I stumbled into, there’s always something to discover, always another angle, and always a different light.

Also, lest we forget that wow, what a voice - it’s like the history of heaven and hell lives in his chest somewhere, always duking it out.  

Just in time for the holidays, an unconventional Christmas song:




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