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Blood Money

4.5 out of 5 stars 100 customer reviews

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Blood Money
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Audio CD, May 7, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Blood Money is up there with Waits's best albums from the mid-'80s, veering as it does from sexy insomniac circus music to gorgeously heart-tugging lullabies to woozy zigzag bluesy romps to what can only be described as Oscar the Grouch singing out of tune on top of the soundtrack to an old French film. Blood Money's 13 songs were cowritten by Tom Waits and longtime collaborator and wife Kathleen Brennan for a Robert Wilson production of Georg Büchner's unfinished, protomodernist 1837 play, Woyzeck, about a Kafkaesque German soldier who goes crazy after doing medical experiments for money and kills his girlfriend after witnessing a perceived infidelity. The album's worldview is, necessarily, bleak. The lyrics are hilariously misanthropic, occasionally hallucinatory, and ring with the truth of Tin Pan Alley clichés turned inside out. "Coney Island Baby," in particular, is a grand statement, with Waits delicately croaking the lines "She's a rose, she's the pearl / She's the spin on my world / All the stars make their wishes on her eyes." The album's manifesto, however, is to be found in the title tune, as Waits spits out the words "If there's one thing you can say about mankind / There's nothing kind about man / You can drive out nature with a pitch fork / But it always comes roaring back again." Released at the same time as the lyrical, lovely Alice, the ragged and rhythmic Blood Money marks the return of one of our most gifted meta-singer-songwriters to the top of his game. --Mike McGonigal
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 7, 2002)
  • Original Release Date: 2002
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Anti
  • ASIN: B00005YX3K
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,426 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
"Blood Money" or "Alice" Hmmmm. Well I liked "Blood Money" better, but if you caught me in a melancholy mood I might prefer "Alice" instead. "Blood Money" shows off Tom Waits's strengths as a writer and composer (and heck, yeah, a singer!) All I got from my girlfriend was, "You can't really listen to this and enjoy it can you?" Well certainly. If you like your music world weary and forlorn, "Blood Money" and Tom Waits are right on target. "If there's one thing you can say about mankind, there's nothing kind about man." To me, that's right on target in "Misery Is The River Of The World" and hey, why not follow it up with "Everything Goes To Hell", "God's Away On Business", "Another Man's Vine", "Knife Chase" and "Starving In The Belly Of The Whale" for added pleasure. Waits is never afraid to take a keen look into the soul of man, and here he finds deceit, dishonesty, longing, depression, jealousy, regret. Musically, "Blood Money" is a mixture of jazz/blues/ragtime--the kind of stuff you'd hear in a smokey bar after hours. I liked "Blood Money" so much, that I'd put it up there with "Bone Machine", "Swordfishtrombones", "Rain Dogs", "Frank's Wild Years", "Small Change" and "Closing Time". If you are a Waits fan, this should easily satisfy.
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Format: Audio CD
It's no secret that Tom Waits isn't just an artist that deserves his own category; indeed, he deserves about four categories. There will always be disagreements among fans as to his best period. Personally, I still cling to the Island years, but that decision was solidified only after I had listened to "Small Change" and "The Heart of Saturday Night" about 70-80 thousand times while driving though Virginia and Illinois. Recently, the early troubadour albums have been in more frequent rotation. Enough about all that. The point being, I'm sure there is room for argument as regards these two albums, but contrary to another reviewer, I would have to go with "Blood Money". Like everyone else (I would guess) I bought these two simultaneously and (now I won't suppose this is unanimous) found "Alice" with its subtlety, beauty, and arguably better lyrics to be superior. After about two listens, my mind changed... and after quite a few more, I would recommend "Blood Money" if you've just now set aside enough money to buy one CD (I can't see anyone judging a fan if it came down to this and a fifth of Ballantines.) To qualify, though, this recommendation may only apply to Island years stalwarts... but "Alice" won't remind anyone of Asylum releases. Naturally, this is only the case if a choice has to be made. Both albums are phenomenal compared to anyone else, and quite good in Waits terms. "Blood Money" though, is just so sublimely manic and murderous that I can't see anyone not loving it. Two notes of musical interest - Cut 7 "Knife Chase" is probably the nicest instrumental since the "Night on Earth" soundtrack, and if I haven't lost it, I swear that the ending to "Coney Island Baby" has about four piano chords that will remind you of the first time you heard "Frank's Wild Years."
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Format: Audio CD
Tom Waits is a man of many voices and on Blood Money he summons the un-usual cast of characters. He is typically at his tenderest in a waltz, but on this album pessimism and depression pervade. There are waltzes but he uses them in a different fashion, from the sinister carousel-from-hell interlude in the opening track to the denial of tenderness in Another Man's Vine and The Part You Throw Away. There is depth here and I find more with each listening. Here is a distillation of the songs:

Misery Is The River Of The World - After six shots of tequila, the Cookie Monster vents about 25 years with someone's hand up his a**.

Everything Goes To Hell - What a different movie Aladdin would be if Jafar sang the opening title.

Coney Island Baby - A simple love song about the girl of one's dreams ... literally.

All The World Is Green - What good is all this beauty around your gravestone, dear?

God's Away On Business - Jimmy Durante as a jaded, syphilitic Pangloss.

Another Man's Vine - Scornful coveting by an embittered have-not.

Knife Chase (Instrumental) - Trapped in a house of mirrors and the lights go out ... who's there?

Lullaby - One of Waits' tenderest melodies. Shut out the bleak waking world, child.

Starving In The Belly Of A Whale - It's Rawhide with a Marine drill instructor exhorting the wagon train onward with his customary compassion.

The Part You Throw Away - Life ... what a waste.

Woe - At first glance this is a sweet love song about going out dancing with your girl. But, whoa, the title and the dirge-like tempo turn it into something else. Is this a bereaved old man at the open casket of his late wife?

Calliope (Instrumental) - Disturbing bed-spins between inebriation and unconsciousness.

A Good Man Is Hard To Find - If Billie Holiday were alive today she'd be 90 and croaking her way through this jaunty number.
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Format: Audio CD
chilling, soul tingling tales of love, lust, loss, and languish.
That haunting, smoky, philosophy spinning voice is one of the most savory products this strange universe has spawned. There are things in life that can be highly enjoyable: beer drinking, pipe smoking, and listening to Tom Waits are pleasures that come to mind.
I find Tom Waits a pleasure on days when the sky is blue and the the sun is shining bright. Birds do not whistle as beautifully as Waits.
These are deep, thoughtful tunes that make you think and feel. Poetry set to the beat of time, Waits stirs the heart and brings you into realms of far away places where the women are so beautiful you can taste it and scenery is always doing something for you.
Hearts may be broken while dark shadows and pain are just around the corner - but somehow through it all love endures and permeates it all. Tom Waits is always there with that indomitable cynical grin and his hands on the perfect keys.
Soothing melodies and mischievous, insightful lyrics reveal the mad genius of Waits, rendered as wonderful as ever in this powerful, jolting & soothing work.
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