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Tom Waits
Bad As Me
Anti/Epitaph

For nearly 40 years King Tom has reigned over all the drop-outs, all the circus freaks and so-called losers of this world. He's told stories, entertained, roared and shouted and waved spastically while presenting his colourful songs, guided by lively lyrics. Now he's badder than ever, with "Bad As Me", the title track off his up-coming album.

Bad As Me (due next Friday, Oct 21st) will be his 16th studio album (not including soundtrack albums One from the Heart and Night on Earth). In fact it's been seven years since his last album, Real Gone (2004), so a new album by Tom Waits is quite something to look forward to. Not to say celebrate, because most recordings by Waits are feasts for eyes and ears. Mr. Waits has been busy and occupied for the last seven years of course; 2006 saw the release of Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards - a 54-song 3-disc box set of rarities, unreleased tracks, plus some brand-new songs. In 2008 he did the Glitter and Doom tour (in US and Europe, but only visiting a small number of cities) resulting in a live album. He's been acting (minor parts, as usual) in a lot of films: Tony Scott's Domino (2005), Roberto Benigni's La Tigre e la Neve (2005), Goran Dukić's Wristcutters: A Love Story (2007), Terry Gilliam's The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (2009) and the Hughes brothers' The Book of Eli (2010). He's been recording songs with The Blind Boys of Alabama, Sparklehorse, Kronos Quartet, Philip Glass, plus others. And, well, even if it's other people doing the work: actress Scarlett Johansson's debut album, Anywhere I Lay My Head (2008) featured cover versions of ten songs by Tom Waits, while Robert Plant and Alison Krauss' zillion selling album Raising Sand held Waits' "Trampled Rose" (from Real Gone). Final anecdote: For those who saw the brilliant HBO TV show The Wire, Waits' song "Way Down in the Hole" was used as the opening theme song (Waits' own version, plus cover versions by The Blind Boys of Alabama, The Neville Brothers, Steve Earle, and "DoMaJe" - the latter is made up of five Baltimore teenagers).

"Bad As Me" (the song) is a typical Tom Waits song, and it makes me recall the wild and joyous Swordfishtrombones and Rain Dogs albums, which was when he for real entered the world of circus freaks and exotics. It's like a New Orleans parade song, or a circus show through town. 'You're the same kind of bad as me', growls Waits with his trademark voice. It's a very rhythmic song, with a piano and saxophone guidance, and of course a distinct and discreet guitar (must me Marc Ribot, or what?). This is an excellent taster for the album to come.

...I'm the blood on the floor / The thunder and the roar / The boat that won't sink / I just won't sleep a wink / You're the same kind of bad as me...'. I can't wait to hear the rest of the album!

Copyright © 2011 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

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