Tom Waits – Real Gone

  • Bobby Gorman posted
  • Reviews

Tom Waits

Real Gone - ANTI- Records

Many of the readers for the site probably have no idea who Tom Waits is, and those that do probably don’t really like him. He plays a more unique style of music, which won’t appear to most punk rock fans. So why am I reviewing this CD you ask? Simply because of the influence this man has had on the bands that we listen to. His career has spanned over four decades and he’s released over twenty CDs, he’s been nominated for an Academy Award and won a Grammy, he’s written the full musical score to the hit play The Black Rider (which I’m seeing tomorrow), he’s still making appearances on late night shows, and he’s been cited as influences by numerous punk bands around the world. So there’s no denying what he’s done in his career. I’ve had the chance to listen to most of his albums throughout his career thanks to my dad being obsessed with him; and listening to those CDs, you can tell exactly where Tom Waits‘ voice transformed from clean and melodic to scratchy and harsh due to alcohol and smoking. But enough history about the man, let’s talk about the album.

Let me get one thing out of the way right now, they messed up on the song order; the songs in track listing and lyric booklet are in a different order then they appear on the actual CD. This isn’t really bad, just annoying and seems like a stupid mistake to do. The album is full of experimental songs, and each song sounds different then the last. Tom Waits vocals were still sore and scratchy, but there are distinct differences in them from one song to another. From the nearly acoustic, soft slow sound of The Day After Tomorrow to the Stomp-esque sounds of Clang Boom Steam, to Circus where it seems like he’s just telling a story; there is always a very vivid variation in his tone of voice. Taking a look at the lyrics in the booklet, and you can tell that he does have a way of words. Musically, they use everything possible from banjos, to guitars and basses, claps and bells, percussion and turntables making for a wide variety of sounds. And for the first time ever, he has abandoned the use of piano on this album.

I don’t mind Real Gone. It isn’t an horrible CD, but I don’t see myself listening to it tons. Some of the songs I like quite a lot, like Hoist That Rag, Day After Tomorrow,and How’s It Going To End; while there are others which I can’t stand like Metropolitan Rose, Clang Boom SteamTop Of The Hill. I personally like his albums from the early 1970s more, before his voice went through the alteration; but I know my dad loves the album and old Tom Waits fan will probably still really like it too. The reason it gets a somewhat low score is just because I know it isn’t the type of CD most of the readers of the site will enjoy. But you still can’t deny what he’s done in the music scene of today.