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There was some discussion about this album in another thread, but I think major releases deserve their own threads.
What do you guys think? This is clearly shaping up to be a major release and an AOTY contender. 90 on Metacritic, 8.6 on ADM (second-highest this year and fourth-highest since 2008), and lots of critics saying it's his best since Rain Dogs.
I liked the album my first go-around, though I didn't hear any particular standout songs. This is definitely at least on par with Blood Money and Real Gone, though it will take some time before I agree with some of the hyperbole.
Yes, this one does deserve it's own thread.
Since I started the discussion in the 2011 album thread, I've heard it more often. It's just getting better really. Actually, the only 2011 album I do prefer over this one at the moment, is Let England Shake.
Bad as Me has a bit of everything. Some hard-hitting bad-ass songs and some beautiful balladry. After such a long and succesfull career, this is quite astonishing. A lot of respect for mr. Waits.
I do think it's a very strong contender for best album since Frank's Wild Years (which I think is underrated because it came after the big two, but is almost just as good as Swordfishtrombones) perhaps only rivaled by Bone Machine. It's a very solid album, no real standouts (except maybe for Hell Broke Luce but also not a single weak note. Tentatively #4/#5 of the year for me, but it's still growing.
I'm liking this a lot, and I think part of the reason is that it feels so compact compared to a lot of Waits' more sprawling albums. Rain Dogs and Mule Variations are records to get absolutely lost in, but Bad as Me only has 13 tracks and they're all fairly short, which adds to the punch of this album, I think. (Also I read that he wrote all of these songs in a fairly short period of time).
I'm still not certain how the whole album compares to the rest of 2011, but "Chicago" is the best opening for an album I've heard all year.
After another listen today, while I still don't think any of these songs will be all-timers for me, I stand corrected in that there definitely are standouts.
"Chicago," "Talking at the Same Time," "Bad as Me," and "Hell Broke Luce" are all welcome additions to the Waits canon. I particularly like the sound of his voice on "Talking at the Same Time." The other three are just so badass. I definitely prefer twisted-rock-song Waits to balladeer Waits.
Bad As Me is awesome, definitely one of the best of the year.
I don't know how I'd fill in the 'Best Waits since _____' narrative, because I think Orphans and Real Gone are awesome, and if it's better than them that'd place it in top 50 AT.
If anything, it's a return to his 90's style.
It's a terrific album, easily one of the year's very best and one of Waits' as well. I'd agree that there's nothing groundbreaking going on here - Waits is mining the brawlers-bawlers-and-bastards mix in pretty much his typical post-'83 proportions, with maybe a few more unexpected and deeply pleasurable melodic turns on the bawlers than usual - but what makes it a standout is the sheer level of focus and commitment that the man brings to everything he does. Plus, it's his most -concise- album in years, which counts for a lot.
A few reviews have pointed this out already, but it bears repeating: who else would have the balls to not only write an answer song to "Satisfaction" that explicitly name-checks Jagger and Richards but to get the actual Keith Richards to play on it? (With Les Claypool, of all people, on bass?)
Best album cover of the year, on top of all that. It looks like he just snapped it with his phone.
Anyone knows how I can listen Bad As Me?
I use Grooveshark and Soptify but this album is neither.
I bought it and heard it once. It's a nice album, but I wouldn't be as enthousiastic as you guys (and I'm a huge Waits fan). I'd give it 3.5 stars out of 5. No song really stands out IMO except maybe the last one.
So if you leave out Orphans (which is much better)I think it's not as good as Alice but better than Blood Money
But it was just a first listen.
PS : this excellent critic response is somewhat suspect to me for a good but not excellent album. After all, maybe it's hip to like Tom Waits these days.
On NPR I heard only once
Maybe I will buy the abum but wanted to hear three or four times
I don't think the "Tom Waits is not for everyone" goes for nicolas at all. What I think may be why nicolas doesn't like the album as much as we do is actually the opposite, he likes Tom Waits too much; this album is as accessible as anything Waits has ever done and people who love his idiosyncratic style might be slightly disappointed by this very solid and perhaps somewhat 'unremarkable' album, at least for Waits. I don't think it's a bad thing though, but I like my albums concise and cohesive whereas nicolas is more a fan of the sprawling double or triple album.
However, I think that it's definitely a grower, so I'm gonna predict your rating will at least go up to a 4/5 nicolas.
As i said it was a first listen. Tom Waits albums are always growers, especially because you have to get used to his sound and musical direction which always changes, even slightly, from album to album.
Next time I'll hear it (soon) I'll post another review, but now I'm knee deep into African music (I love it).
I agree it doesn't have the sprawling feel of other Waits albums, but honestly, all the Waits albums I've ever heard except Alice and Closing Time are somewhere in my top 200 AT, so there really isn't anything I won't accept from him.
after a second listen, I'll upgrade it to 4 stars.
The beginning is great (especially the first song which is IMO the best). All songs are good, very solid Tom Waits songs but the originality I found in the first 2 tracks disappears after a while. All the other songs sound like they could feature on past TW albums (I heard songs that could be on Alice, one on Blue Valentine, one on Bone Machine, etc...). I don't really like "Hell Broke Luce", and I think that the bonus tracks on the Deluxe version (tracks 14 to 16) are sometimes better than the actual album songs.
A very solid TW record, but not a masterpiece. I think it could fit in the 300-400 section of my all time favorite albums list.
Awful... I have given Tom 15 or 16 chances to impress me because I should like this guy. So I figured I would listen to this objectively and much like every other Waits album I have heard... I hated it.
yes, I know, but Tom Waits has always been good at creating albums with a very strong and unique athmosphere like Rain Dogs or Bone Machine, and here it's not the case (or at least I haven't grabbed it yet); and what lacks IMO on this album is one or 2 very good and outstanding songs with a great and hooky melody. But I've only heard it a couple times and things may change.
yes, I know, but Tom Waits has always been good at creating albums with a very strong and unique athmosphere like Rain Dogs or Bone Machine, and here it's not the case (or at least I haven't grabbed it yet); and what lacks IMO on this album is one or 2 very good and outstanding songs with a great and hooky melody. But I've only heard it a couple times and things might change.
So far it is for me the best secondary TW album (the primary being Rain Dogs, Bone Machine, Blue Valentine, Frank's Wild Years, Orphans, Small Change and Swordfishtrombones)
About that new album:
It is more badass. It's more straight. It SOUNDS good. It has interresting sounds. Especially in the first few tracks. Unfortunately it's a drag in the middle. You also happen to find the best track there: "Back In The Crowd". "Hell Broke Luce" is real interresting, though and "Chicago" is a winner. Tom also must have waited some 36.5 years to fit in "Auld Lang Syne" somewhere in a song of his. Nah. He and Neil knows how to release half-ass albums and get away with it. You know a Neil Young hattrick? One car song, one song about longing and one country song. Don't have to be any good either. You COULD say Neil wants to drive a car in the country and not be alone. I'd say he's clever. And the 80s learned us about products that are shite.
Episode 3 : this record is a killer . His best since Bone machine (Orphans doesn't count)
Took me 3 to 4 listens to realize that
It 'll be in my top 3 of 2011
The 2nd half of the record is absolutely brilliant