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Bad As Me

4.3 out of 5 stars 93 customer reviews

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Vinyl, October 24, 2011
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$26.87 & FREE Shipping on orders over $49. Details Temporarily out of stock. Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we ship the item. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com in easy-to-open packaging. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

Throughout his career, Tom Waits has created milestone albums that serve both to refine the music that has come before, and to signal a new phase in his career: Rain Dogs and Mule Variations are both counted by fans as among these pivotal works. Now comes Bad As Me, his first studio album of all new music in seven years, which finds Tom Waits in possibly the finest voice of his career and at the height of his songwriting powers, working with a veteran team of gifted musicians and longtime co-writer/producer Kathleen Brennan. From the opening horn-fueled chug of “Chicago,” to the closing barroom chorale of “New Year’s Eve,” Bad As Me displays the full career range of Waits’ songwriting, from beautiful ballads like “Last Leaf,” to the avant cinematic soundscape of “Hell Broke Luce,” a battlefront dispatch. On tracks like “Talking at the Same Time,” Waits shows off a supple falsetto, while on blues burners like “Raised Right Men” and the gospel tinged “Satisfied” he spits, stutters and howls. Like a good boxer, these songs are lean and mean, with strong hooks and tight running times. And there is a pervasive sense of players delighting in each other’s musical company that brings a feeling of loose joy even to the album’s saddest songs. Bad As Me is a Tom Waits album for the ages.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Chicago
  2. Raised Right Men
  3. Talking At The Same Time
  4. Get Los
  5. Face To The Highway
  6. Pay Me
  7. Back In The Crowd
  8. Bad As Me
  9. Kiss Me
  10. Satisfied
  11. Last Leaf
  12. Hell Broke Luce
  13. New Year's Eve


Product Details

  • Vinyl (October 24, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Epitaph
  • ASIN: B005IGVZX2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #135,286 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Up until now, Rain Dogs, Bone Machine and Mule Variations were my favourite Waits albums - and I love all his work: early and latter, drunk and sober, soft and loud. Bad As Me is right up there with them and might even be better. I won't do a song-by-song analysis - someone will do this way better than me. But all the slower tempo songs are superb, with a few traces of DNA to earlier years (the start of Blue Valentines is repeated). The uptempo songs don't fall into any simple category - there's a great tasty musical stew boiling - including some sounds that haven't been made before by anybody (Hell Broke Luce is Tom at his most brutal and most innovative). So it's sort of like the White Album, but without all the weaker songs. And Keef is on 3 tracks, including a touching duet. How cool is that!
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
Only Tom Waits could do what he does on this album. I am not into track by track analysis. I want to address why this album is important and is an album few artists, perhaps even only Tom Waits, could release. What I mean is this. Tom Waits has released an album of entirely new material and it sounds like a "greatest hits" compendium at the same time. To listen to this album is to be introduced to Tom Waits for the first time and to make his acquaintance again. He is your brand new oldest musical friend. He is brand new and he is eternal. He cannot so much as cough and not sound musical. He is master of his domain and he is just beginning to discover the wealth and depth of his talent.
I first became aware of Tom Waits in the very early '70's. I am a huge Zappa fan. My girlfriend had, for my birthday, gotten us tickets to 2, two, count 'em, two Frank Zappa's shows in the month of April, 1972. The first was at the vaunted OrpheumTheater in downtown Boston. The opening act was Ram-A-Tam, the waste of time band put together by Jimi's drummer since Jimi had died. Pity anyone who opened for Zappa. You were bound to be booed off the stage. The second show was at the gymnasium, sit on the floor, at Lowell Tech College. The opening act was some nobody named Tom Waits. So, with the huge balls it took to open for Zappa, there he stood. Famous beard, smokes, hat and attitude. I was hoping it would be over soon. It was just him, his piano and an electric bass player. I wish I could tell you what he played, but I can't. I only know I was blown away. I think the best summary of what he was like then is captured on the somewhat hard to find album, "The Dime Store Novels, Vol. 1. I remember being utterly blown away.
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Format: Audio CD
I've been reading a number of the reviews stating that Tom is a genius, national treasure, tapped into the soul of America, etc. IMHO, all of these things are true, and I think his great works (Rain Dogs, Swordfishtrombones, Mule Variations) are absolute, must have, desert island classics. Sadly, I don't believe that "Bad as Me" ranks up there with any of these works, nor do I think the album deserves the deluge of 5-star ratings being thrown at it.

Undoubtedly a new Tom Waits album is an event, and as aways he manages to say things in his unique fashion. Ironically, however, my problem is that the album's "strengths" highlighted by most of the other reviewers are in fact it's weaknesses, when measured against Tom's previous outputs and his status as our favorite off-beat icon. I agree fully that the songs are tightly-knit - the backing band is packed with luminaries, melodies and arrangements are carefully constructed, and Tom displays just about all of his various vocal persona's through the album. All of this makes for an easily accessible album with catchy hooks, but this isn't what I'm looking for when I sit down to listen to Tom. I can't shake the feeling that we are being treated to something formulaic, with all of the elements we know and love - some quirky instruments, a well-placed howl or growl, the gamut of emotions from rage to despair - being in attendance, but somehow Tom is going through the motions, showing off his skills and smarts, but neither baring his soul nor showing any new insights or musical directions. In many ways, it sounds more like an end-of career retrospective than a new beginning or "return to form".

Maybe I expect too much, but I think some realism is required amongst the idolatry amongst these reviews- this is a solid and polished album, but it is not a great one. It may also be a good introduction for those who don't know Tom's music (could this be possible?), but it doesn't get anywhere near to exposing his real genius.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If I can work it, this is the way I find out if we're gonna be pals: I toss a Tom Waits cd in the machine and I watch your reaction. If you make a face and say, "What's this?", we aren't gonna make it. If your eyes turn to pinwheels and you say something like "Buh, buh, buh..." I'll give you whatever you want. Once a friend of mine, when we were listening to "Lie to Me" from Tom's album ORPHANS said, "Don't you think this is what music should be?" I laughed because it was one of the truest things I'd ever heard. "Yes I do," I said. And that's exactly how I feel about BAD AS ME.

This is the kind of music that'll dry your mouth out and make you thirsty for more. We've always needed Tom Waits to show us what music really is: vibrations just under the skin that warm the blood and make the heart grow. And we'll always need Tom Waits to remind us of that. I can become very desperate for his music. I am much less desperate today.

Buy. This. Album.
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