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55 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still a crooner then, but things were starting to change
Tom Waits has had a career in music that is mercurial at best. His 1973 debut CLOSING TIME was probably the closest he got to recording a tried-and-true singer-songwriter album, but the follow-up, 1974's HEART OF SATURDAY NIGHT, proved that, lyrically at least, Tom was beginning to make changes that would drastically alter his sound & image. It was a slow process, but by...
Published on April 29, 2002 by 33-year old wallflower

versus
1.0 out of 5 stars Do not buy from this seller. I don't think ...
Do not buy from this seller. I don't think my CD is an original. Now that I have my iTunes working again and have listened to the disc, every song has a scratchy noise in it. It makes me wonder if this was recorded off of an album. I am borrowing someone's CD player tomorrow and will try it. But I imagine the same thing will occur. Not sure if this late after purchase I...
Published 7 days ago by ally


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55 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still a crooner then, but things were starting to change, April 29, 2002
This review is from: Blue Valentine (Audio CD)
Tom Waits has had a career in music that is mercurial at best. His 1973 debut CLOSING TIME was probably the closest he got to recording a tried-and-true singer-songwriter album, but the follow-up, 1974's HEART OF SATURDAY NIGHT, proved that, lyrically at least, Tom was beginning to make changes that would drastically alter his sound & image. It was a slow process, but by 1978's BLUE VALENTINE, the fruits of that change were starting to show. Tom's voice was just beginning to get more edgy & his lyrics were starting to go off into other dimensions altogether. Yet there was still melody high up in the mix, making BLUE VALENTINE a good way to ease into the more experimental stuff.

I was shocked as well as anyone when I heard the album open with "Somewhere" from WEST SIDE STORY. But it's the voice that sings it, an early example of gravel-voiced Waits that at first jars the listener, then suddenly sounds natural. Definitely the most original interpretation of this song!

Furthermore, the imagery in Tom's lyrics was getting more & more unique. Titles like "Red Shoes By The Drugstore", "Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis", "Whistlin' Past The Graveyard" & "A Little Bullet From A Pretty Blue Gun" with words to match are proof that Tom was on the road to a different musical journey that would both leave longtime listeners behind & welcome even more newer ones. In fact, this is the album that turned me into a Tom Waits fan.

For those still floored by Tom's sudden musical change of heart, there were songs like "Romeo Is Bleeding", "Kentucky Avenue" & "Blue Valentines", which were still musically close to Waits' earlier work, but the lyrics were showing signs of evolution. They should probably listen with caution to "$29.00", for the unorthodox rhythm to that song hints at the amusical approach Waits was working towards at the time.

BLUE VALENTINE is often given a glossing-over in Tom Waits' legacy, calling it a transitional work at best. Sure it may have been, but even that from Tom Waits is guaranteed to be better than most other artists'. You could tell that Tom was starting to evolve, but he still had one foot left in the past, not quite ready to abandon his previous sound just yet. Those lovers of early Tom Waits who've found his later work to be a trying experience, BLUE VALENTINE will be a good introduction of Tom Waits moving from normal to out-there.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Work that Requires No Introduction, January 8, 2002
This review is from: Blue Valentine (Audio CD)
When my father, a longtime Tom Waits fan, first gave me the album "Small Change" about five years ago, I don't think I listened to it for any more than two minutes before turning it off. I didn't get what I wanted from the music, and I didn't have time to sit around waiting. I returned to Tom Waits a few years later, and have since found myself with a new addiction that only grows stronger the more I listen.
"Blue Valentine" is an album that evokes more emotion from me than I can easily state. From the tender opening strings of 'Somewhere' to the solo guitar notes and final almost whimper from Waits himself on 'Blue Valentines,' there is never a dull moment. The combination of Waits' voice (and some playing, primarily on guitar and piano) and the other music on the album creates an atmosphere that is simultaneously brash, angry, agressive, and still innocent, timid, and loving.
The imagery interwoven throughout the lyrics on the album are undoubtedly a huge portion of the reason that I love this music as much as I do. On top of that, however, is the manner in which the songs and their messages connect on some strange level. The colour blue is present everywhere, and serves to unify all these feelings on the album.
No matter what time of day, no matter what my mood, no matter what the weather, I can always find something in this recording that I can relate to. Since my second exposure to Tom Waits (which is the one that got me hooked) I've had trouble choosing one album as my absolute favourite. While others may have highlights that I can particularly appreciate, more often than not I find myself settling down with "Blue Valentine" spinning away in the stereo. A classic, timeless, near perfect recording.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly Wait's 70's peak, August 30, 2005
By 
This review is from: Blue Valentine (Audio CD)
I'm not the type who gives 5 stars to any above-average album that tickles my fancy. It's just I usually only review albums that are special to me. Hence, I am reviewing this. It's great. He hit something here, it was a sort of pro album if you get me. As great as they were, the albums before this sounded a bit like a new guy trying very hard to get that sound he had in his head on to tape, whereas on Blue Valentine he sounds like a natural. Sounds just like he's been doing this for decades and he just got a few musicians and popped into a studio and nailed a classic Waits album. The same goes for Heartattack And Vine. He was really getting into this style.

The vibe is top-class. Late-night metropolitan sleazebags, junkies, hookers, winos. It's all there. You can hear the neon-lit signs in that vibraphone-type of instrument in Red Shoes By The Drugstore. There is great maudlin romance and sentimentality in cuts like Kentucky Avenue and the title track, and, in my opinion, Christmas Card From Minneapolis is quite possibly a contender for the greatest song ever written. So much colour, power, passion, character. Great stuff. And of course, to give it that natural feel there are some great blues numbers that just flow and, although they don't strike you as being amazing, they are just as important as the other tunes. Listen to '28$' or 'Whistlin' Past The Graveyard' a few times, soon you won't be able to imagine the record without them. Oh, I almost forgot, his cover of 'Somewhere' is quite excellent, too.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars so worth looking back, January 22, 2006
By 
Lynne Dill "Lynnesturn" (Lewis Center, Ohio United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Blue Valentine (Audio CD)
First off, I'm a Tom Waits junkie. So if I appear slightly biased, it's because I am.

I have been acquiring all the Tom Waits music I can and have everything that's available. Since I had most of the songs on this cd on other cds, I had passed this one by. What a mistake! If the only song on the cd was "Kentucky Avenue" it would be well worth the cost and the effort. This song sung by someone else, without the voice and the sincerity of Mr. Waits might have sounded like a cheap effort to bring on the tears, but his delivery is so touching I feel like I'm eavesdroping on a special and private conversation. It's a story really of what would seem to be a 9 year old or so talking to a friend, sharing gossip and making big plans. The love and tenderness being shown by one friend to another is devestating. It goes beyond touching the listener's heart, and goes straight to the listener's soul.

The same goes for "$29 and an Alligator Purse", "Blue Valentine" -- there's not a bad song in the bunch. The background music is some of the best blues ever played.

I can't imagine anyone buying this cd and being dissappointed with it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Waits' Most Undderrated Album, March 27, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Blue Valentine (Audio CD)
. . . except by his fans. "Whistlin' Past the Graveyard" has long been a favorite, as well as "Christmas Card From A Hooker In Minneapolis" which, for this reviewer, hits too close to home. "Somewhere" has a special majesty to it, and "29.00" and "Sweet Little Bullet From a Pretty Blue Gun" are like tiny little hard-boiled motion pictures, perfectly realized. "Kentucky Avenue" should please most of his sentimental fans. All-in-all, a complete package of Waits' inadversarial 1970s musical style. A fair representation of his career . . . very smoothly flowing.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't you rememeber I promised I would write you, October 18, 1999
This review is from: Blue Valentine (Audio CD)
Even if there had been only the title song recorded this CD would have deserved the highest rating. Blue Valentine releases more adrenaline to my blood then anything else in this world. Listening to CLOSING TIME or SMALL CHANGE makes you think T.W. is talented. BLUE VALENTINES assures you he is a GENIUS...
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tom's best!, January 15, 2006
This review is from: Blue Valentine (Audio CD)
This is my favorite Tom Waits album, by far! This and Foreign Affair are the epitome of the greatest poetry vinyl has ever seen. Tom beats Dylan by a few, and blows Springsteen out of the water with this masterpiece! Listen to "Kentucky Avenue" for the gentleness of the beast (and what imagery!), "$29.00" for it's blase approach to a savage world, and Wrong Side of the Road for it's solution to a hopeless life (and what an ending!). This is the tightest band you'll ever hear, and if you like jazz/beat/blues music you definitely should check this out! It's in the top ten of my all time favorite albums for sure!

The Eagles have covered Tom's work ('Ol 55), Manhattan Transfer covered "Foreign Affair", and Springsteen has covered his "Jersey Girl". Artists love Tom.

After Blue Valentine Tom started going a different direction, one that didn't impress me. Some like his later work (SwordfishTrombones and later) sounded like alot of banging on pots and pans if you want my opinion! I'll take Blue Valentines and Foreign Affair ANY TIME compared to his later stuff.

I found out that a friend of mine loved the song "Foreign Affair" by Manhattan Transfer, and I gave him the original on the CD by Waits and it blew him away! He couldn't believe that a "beat poet" like Tom could write such exquisite lyrics! And I agree, Tom is the best poet/musician ever recorded, and "Foreign Affair" is the best of that genre I've ever heard. Don't believe me, check it out for yourself!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TRUE VALENTINE, September 1, 2007
By 
This review is from: Blue Valentine (Audio CD)
I never thought I would be writing a Tom Waits review but here I am. A very good friend of mine, (thank you so very much, Mr. Robertson...) actually bought this album for me and had it sent to my home. Well, three months later, I now own TEN Tom Waits albums. I am now of course, a hopeless Mr. Waits addict, even more surprising is that I normally listen to bands such as Tool, Rush and Black Sabbath. However, Mr. Waits simply transcends musical genres and I love him for it, he is an absolute genius who writes, sings and plays, from the heart.

The album is just so atmospheric, dense and evocative, that I never tire of listening to it. It is the kind of album into which the listener simply disappears and what a dark honour it is to inhabit this blue, smoky world. From the other worldly opening of 'Somewhere' with its bold, redemptive optimism, "We'll find a new way of living, a new way, of forgiving..." to the desolate, heartbreaking portrait of dark love on album closer, 'Blue Valentines' you know you are in the prescence of greatness. This is still my favourite Tom Waits album and is now one of my favourite albums of all time.

These are the songs of the lost and the lonely and tracks like 'Christmas Card From Hooker In Minneapolis' feature some of the best lyrics I have ever heard, "I'd buy me a used car lot and I wouldn't sell any of 'em, I'd just drive a different car each day, dependin' on how I feel...' Beautiful.

Other highlights are 'Red Shoes By The Drugstore' with brilliant lines like, "As the rain splashed the nickel and spilled like Chablis all along the midway..." and "There's a dark huddle at the bus stop, umbrellas arranged in a sad bouquet..." There are a book full of ideas in one song.

'Kentucky Avenue' is pure heartbreak, with such an unusual angle on a relationship that I would defy anyone not to be moved by it. The closing lines, "Put a church key in your pocket, we'll hop that freight train in the hall, we'll slide all the way down the drain, to New Orleans, in the fall...' are simply wonderful.

Blue Valentine really does approach perfection and cannot be recommended too highly. My love affair with Mr. Waits continues with every album, each one evokes its own character, its own world and to inhabit these worlds is just such sweet, sweet surrender.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tom at his cynical, romantic best, May 12, 1998
By A Customer
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Blue Valentine (Audio CD)
Tom Waits starts "Blue Valentine" with "Somewhere," which nicely establishes his themes of romance and tragedy. But Tom's West Side Story is much more grim than Tony and Maria's. His New York contains desperate hookers, dying gang members, doomed runaways, and haunted murderers. If this sounds difficult to take, it is; there's little to no hope on this album. But it's the desperation that make his character portraits cut deeper. If Tom has a message, it's this: if his characters, like the hooker in Track 3, are worthy of being song subjects, then we all are. The music is gorgeous, too; the melody on "Kentucky Avenue," for one, is haunting enough on its own to make anyone misty (when the words reveal their meaning, the effect is devastating - "Kentucky Avenue" is the one song that breaks me down every time). "Romeo is Bleeding" provides a great bassline under Tom's beatnik rap (still his best spoken song), and "29 Dollars" offers a slow, dirty blues to back its tragic, if inevitable, tale. The material on "Blue Valentine" is downbeat, bitter, and cynical, and Tom revels in it like a hipster narrator. But it's never depressing to hear an artist in top form; it's exhilirating. And if "Blue Valentine" offers no hope, it offers truckloads of compassion. So buy it and listen. Just don't expect to want to talk to anyone afterwards.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tom Waits at his best!, June 12, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Blue Valentine (Audio CD)
This is my favorite Tom Waits album! 29 dollars and Wrong Side of the Road are beyond awesome! This is Tom's most consistent album with strong songwriting throughout. He just started using his gravel voice style on this album and it really made a big improvement (listen to the album The Heart of Saturday Night or Closing Time to make a comparison). His voice was really strong, his lyrics the most menacing, and his band was so tight with great use of the electric piano (especially in 29 dollars). The bad thing about not going with the popular musical style (disco, I think was big in '78 when this was written) is that you get barely any air play. But the good thing is that the music is timeless! You can play this album year after year and it never seems dated. Blues seem to always be relevant and there is always someone playing them in any decade you want to look at. Also, if you like this album make sure you get Foreign Affair and Small Change. They are pretty close in style (and time) to Blue Valentine. Tom really changed his style later on starting with SwordfishTrombones. And before this album he had some really tame albums with not as much violence, and no 9 pack a day gravel voice, almost folky type music. Either way, if you've never heard a Tom Waits album, run to your local record store and buy one!
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Blue Valentine
Blue Valentine by Tom Waits (Audio CD - 1990)
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