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The music is oddly mixed and Tom's microphone sounds overloaded at times, but somehow it all fits together to make sense. The disc opens with "Top of the Hill," which is a great indicator of things to come with its funky rhythms with prominent percussive downbeats. If you enjoy this tune, you will likely enjoy "Metropolitan Glide," which comes up a few tracks later and uses turntables to great effect without dominating the musical landscape. There are a couple beautiful slow pieces as well in "Dead and Lovely" and "How's It Gonna End." The guitar duties are largely handled by the legendary Marc Ribot, whose playing is perfectly suited to Waits' music. He really shines on "Real Gone." His guitar brings a haunting quality to the slower pieces and razor-sharp gutter funk to the faster tunes.
All told, this is just another classic Tom Waits album. He is amazing. "Real Gone" is like walking down an old dusty road in Mississippi and noticing something shiny along the roadside. You walk over to the item, look down, and see a handle of a box buried halfway in the dirt. You dig out the box, open it, and find an old pistol, a flask of good whisky, and $3000 in circa 1920 hundred-dollar bills.Read more ›
Relying less upon melody then shaky rhythm, song after song consist of one crumbling riff or two that Tom croaks out wildly along with, barking vocal percussion in strangulated yelps. Recorded in his bathroom at home, these human backbeats are as hilarious as they are frightening. He apparently didn't loop any of them either, like the intro to "Big in Japan", opting instead for the unpredictable accidental grunt that one would groan out after having screamed "Boo Boom, KUH KAK!" for four straight minutes.
Lyrically, this is as strong as any other Waits record, following the example of Blood Money and focusing less on narrative then bittersweet metaphor, ("He's not the kind of wheel you fall asleep at") complimenting the pitch black instrumentation perfectly. When not making wonderfully absurd commentary ("If I was a bed, I'd be an unmade bed"), he's barking along with the drums and his previously recorded percussion, the John Lee Hooker from hell groover "Shake It" and bleeding rock "Baby Gonna Leave Me" prime examples. Your foot won't not pound the floor in unision.
I don't know exactly what people who buy Real Gone for an introduction to Tom Waits will think, but longtime listeners will laugh and cry the whole way through, marvelling at the most undeappreciated musician of the last 50 years, somone having long ago deserved the respect and awe names such as Bob Dylan instantly conjure. At the very least, the coverage in magazines and newspaper. Anyone notice how small the mentions of his musical doings are these days?
Backed by a talented crew featuring the welcome return of guitarist Marc Ribot( his dirty guitar tones are custom made for Waits material) and Primus' bass extrodinaire Les Claypool, Waits lays down what has to be his most primal set to date. Where BONE MACHINE's harshness was levened by the occasional ballad, REAL GONE is an unrelenting set of cacophony and insistant rhythyms, even the queiter moments are raw and filled with dread.
There are a number of fine songs that rank with the best in the Waits canon, including the 10 minute plus SINS OF MY FATHER, the primitive blues of SHAKE IT, the rustic flavored TRAMPLED ROSE, the deep-fried blues stomp of HOIST THAT RAG and sublime soldier's letter to home DAY AFTER TOMORROW (the album's tenderest moment).
On the other hand there are a few tracks that may not have passed the cut of an editor such as the incessant opener, TOP OF THE HILL(featuring Tom the human beatbox), and the mostly spoken tracks, CIRCUS and CLANG, BOOM, STEAM. While good, they are not essential, though they do fit in the general overall tone of the album. Also worth mention is that he his using the same templete used on both BONE MACHINE and MULE VARIATIONS. Some of the arrangements and topics feel familiar. Still these are minor quibbles.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I understand that Tom Waits is not for everyone. But if you like originality, varied style, interesting lyrics, and novel instrumentation, you have come to the right place. Read morePublished 6 months ago by B. Sattelmeier
This entire CD is a masterpiece! Tom Waits is simply a genius, and that's an understatement. His pure, raw, uncomplicated music is a welcome relief from the annoying Simon... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Lildev69
Not every great track Tom Waits made is here, but everything that is here is great.Published 16 months ago by Zachary Cabon
Tom is always classy, this is just a good example of great general barrier breaking and his unique personalityPublished 17 months ago by ty
Every Waits CD is a different experience. Some tracks you have to listen to a few times to get a feel for his unique arrangements. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Richard D. Costa