Friday, October 31, 2008

ALBUM: Trick or Treat

I've been saving this post especially for Halloween...

One of the first exciting finds on my quest to listen to the 1,000 was an old record by the enigmatic Tom Waits called Rain Dogs.

Just a brief history of me and Mr. Waits. His album Mule Variations came out while I was in highschool and I heard a few songs off it through a record label sampler. I'm not gonna lie, these songs scared me pretty bad, and I subsequently never pursued any more of his music. Then, over the last couple years I've heard some of his songs in friend's cars and covered at local shows and thought, "hm, maybe I was too harsh on 'ol Tom. Maybe I should give him a second chance".

So when I saw that Rain Dogs was cited as an essential album I decided to go pick up a copy. I was excited to have my old misconceptions swept away, but when I heard the first few seconds of the first song, Singapore, I thought "Oh no. I've made a huge mistake - this man really is too freaky." This is why:

Tom Waits - Singapore
from the album Rain Dogs (Amazon/iTunes)

Scary, right? (I thought it was a pretty appropriate song for a Halloween post). Well, it took me mustering all of my courage, but after I did, I decided to venture through the rest of the album. And am I glad I did. True, his voice is something of an oddity. And true, his subject matter is usually pretty dark and dank. But man, is he an incredible songwriter - his songs are poetic without pretension, and if you can break through the delivery they are often very affecting. And sometimes, when he drops that creepy-carnival act, he can really pull out some straight up beautiful songs. Like this one from the same album. Enjoy.

Tom Waits - Time
from the album Rain Dogs (Amazon/iTunes)

Happy Halloween!

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