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Friday, January 17, 2014

428 of 1001 Albums: Tom Waits' Bone Machine

Tom Waits is one of the most interesting artists that you'll listen to. There were songs that were great, and others that I just didn't care for all that much. His voice is consistently unforgettable though. This album though is very well acclaimed, and one of Waits more popular works. It definitely breaks the mold of music.

History: Tom Waits had been releasing albums way earlier on, but Bone Machine would mark his return from a long break. The album is known as one of the best of 90's and charts several lists. The album would win a Grammy. The album features many guest appearances as well including The Rolling Stones musician, Keith Richards. The songs from the album have appeared in numerous places including movies like Fight Club. The experimental sounds and rock mix would garner it a lot of attention, and make it a classic over time.


Vocals: You aren't going to ever hear vocals like Tom Waits. Waits is bold and lets his vocals go into all sorts of ranges, where sometimes it works better for me than others. Mostly, it sounds like he is crying. "Whistle Down the Wind" though really blew me away. I loved how Waits matched the emotions of the tune, and let his voicing form this flow for the song that worked alongside the instrumentals. I wasn't as fond of the vocals on songs like "Murder in the Barn" though. He gets more growling, and a lot more loose from the traditional blues sound in other tunes.

Instrumentals: The instrumentals are some of the strongest aspects of the album, and the arrangement of instruments involved is wide and unique. You have different types of guitars utilized, string instrumentals, and a saxophone used for some songs along with traditional instruments like the bass and drum. It makes for an album that gets a lot of the emotion it has from the instruments involved, and for blues fan there is a lot to appreciate about it is incorporated into the album, but given a bit of a modern flare to the album.

Recording: The recording was done in a unique place that was like a cellar and cemetery. It adds to that level of atmosphere you garner from the album. Of course the cover art which is a blurred picture of Tom Waits adds enough eerie vibes. The recording utilizes so many different elements that are unique regarding vocals and instruments that I wouldn't place this into the 90's upon first listening even though it is one of the most popular albums from that decade.

Tom Waits makes an album that leaves me conflicted. There are songs I just didn't enjoy, and then there were others I'm going to go back and listen to over and over again. It's a great mix of work that while I can't enjoy everything I can see the appeal that lies within the content available. It's a bit masculine and rough, but the rawness is what gives it it's flare.

Rating 7.5 of 10.


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