Friday, October 28, 2011

Bad As Me

I read a quote somewhere from Sam Cooke in the mid-60s, where he said singing is not about how pretty the voice is; it's about believing that the voice is telling the truth. Tom Waits is one of those singers that embodies this quality. Bad As Me, his first album in seven years, can stand up with past classics like Rain Dogs, Small Change, Mule Variations and Swordfishtrombones. Simply put, Bad As Me is BAD. It's fierce, exciting and full of surprises. Lots of different musical styles -- Howlin' Wolf blues, film-noir ballads, gospel, waltz, R&B and soul, post-modern vaudeville, plain kick-ass rockabilly, and Waits and his band of talented musicians (including Marc Ribbots, David Hidalgo and Flea) excel in all of them. Keith Richards also sings and plays guitar on several songs, including Satisfied, a humorous sincere nod to (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction, where Waits namechecks Mr. Jagger and Mr. Richards. The songs are short as they are catchy; I'm surprised how terribly accessible this record is. No duds or anything, and the second last Hell Broke Luce is hot shit wicked. It's basically a rap tune in the form of a military march, and it blows away every other hip-hop/rap song out there now. If you feel down like the world has fucked you over, this is THE record to listen to. Do yourself a favor and get it.