Sunday, February 20, 2011

#FlashBackSunday Tom Waits - Alice / Blood Money (2002)

Tom Waits has a very interesting story and persona surrounding him; in love with a woman with a successful marriage of more than a decade, artistic personality, talent, and a persona that can be both, enchanting and deeply mysterious. In concerns of his music career, it has had commercial ups and downs, but always a vision, always a sound, always a direction, always a commitment that only true artists have. Not to count points that he has one of the most expressive voices out there. He recently entered to the Hall of Fame, so I don’t have to spend a lot of words talking about him, for he is a true living legend, but I decided to do my tribute talking a little bit about him.

The power of his expression comes from he’s existential search of how to portray his feelings, since early on he had poetic and acting sensibility, read and was involved in the beat movement and had a passion for Jazz, blues and naked emotions, so it was only a matter of time for him to explore these sounds to express himself. It starts with a waits sounding like someone else and finding his true self along the way, and that’s the amazing thing of listening to his records, you can actually know this journey of self discovery without knowing anything about his life, in time he became a success as a Broadway and off Broadway actor, published author, monologue writer, and a true artistic reference of the music history of US of A, but with that also a great inspiration of global recognition in being someone with a unique sound in music.

But lets talk about 2002, he did something very bold and fantastic, he had material to make a new record, but he saw that he had two different visions, a romantic and fatal melancholy side on one hand, and an ironic, strong minded and political side on the other, and before putting out a set of songs that had nothing to do with one another he decided to take one at a time, so he published two albums, “Alice” and “Blood Money”, both with songs that have find a cult following and was the introduction of Tom Waits talent to a younger generation. Don’t forget even Scarlett Johansson’s first LP that was a cover ode to Tom Waits, some covers of this LP’s.

The fist one in alphabetical order, “Alice” is a heartbreaker that has a lot of sentiment, talks about love, suicide, death, and the adventures of "Alice in Wonderland" by Lewis Caroll, music like has just little polka characteristic sounds of Waits, you find the his vulnerable side, the soft side, the side that you can fall in love with, the waits of the whisky bar, the late night Waits with the original mystery edge in songs like Lost In Harbor or Watch her as she Disappears, and the killer (and I mean Killer) theme song Alice, a song so good that I don’t see anyone on earth not liking it somewhere along the way, one of those songs that in life you’ll get to like at some point.

Blood Money on the other hand has a different nature, more animalistic, more messy, dark in a more playful kind or way, also more political messages since the open track “Misery Is the River Of The World”, a stronger voice, from the whisper of Alice that speaks to your ears to the Waits that screams to your chest that gives vertigo and frightens you, don’t forget fantastic songs also in this LP like “God’s Away On Business”, “Everything Goes To Hell” and the softer side that remember the early years with a higher tone like “A Good Man Is Hard To Find”, every song hidden behind drunk trumpets and smell of cigars and alcohol.

These are two really great albums of the past decade that introduces one of the great ones of history of music (for me and for a lot of people), I’m sure there will be some other tom waits flashback in the future.

Alice Tracklist:

1. Alice
2. Everything You Can Think
3. Flowers Grave
4. No One Knows I'm Gone
5. Poor Edward
6. Table Top Joe
8. Lost In The Harbor
9. We're All Mad Here
10. Watch Her Disappear
11. Reeperbahn
12. I'm Still Here
13. Fish & Bird
14. Barcarolle
15. Fawn

Rate: 10/10

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Blood Money Tracklist:

1. Misery Is the River of the World
2. Everything Goes to Hell
3. Coney Island Baby
4. All the World Is Green
5. God's Away on Business
6. Another Man's Vine
7. Knife Chase [Instrumental]
8. Lullaby
9. Starving In The Belly Of A Whale
10. The Part You Throw Away
11. Woe
12. Calliope
13. A Good Man Is Hard to Find

Rate 10/10

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