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Night on Earth: Original Soundtrack Recording Soundtrack

4.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Soundtrack, April 7, 1992
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Audio CD

Amazon.com

Released in 1992, Waits's soundtrack to Jim Jarmusch's quirky Night on Earth is built around a recurrent theme reminiscent of Rain Dogs and manipulated into moods that reflect the cities in which the movie's various stories are told. Banjo and accordion are used to great effect to evoke the three European cities. Elsewhere, marimba and other percussion that Tom Waits was using on his "official" recordings at the time are well suited to the darkness and humor in Jarmusch's stories. The two new songs written by Waits and partner Kathleen Brennan stick to the same instrumental blueprint, but have little to commend them to a place in the pantheon of Waits's songs. As accompaniment to the movie, this music works; as a stand-alone recording it is a long-haul listen. --Rob Stewart

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Back In The Old World (Gypsy)
  2. Los Angeles Mood (Chromium Descensions)
  3. Los Angeles Theme (Another Private Dick)
  4. New York Theme (Hey Can You Have That Heart...
  5. New York Mood (A New Haircut And A Busted Lip)
  6. Baby I'm Not A Baby Anymore (Beatrice Theme)
  7. Good Old World (Waltz)
  8. Carnival (Brunello Del Montalcino)
  9. On The Other Side Of The World
  10. Good Old World (Gypsy Instrumental)
  11. Paris Mood (Un De Fromage)
  12. Dragging A Dead Priest
  13. Helsinki Mood
  14. Carnival Bob's Confession
  15. Good Old World (Waltz)
  16. On The Other Side Of The World (Instrumental)


Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 7, 1992)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Soundtrack
  • Label: Island Records
  • Run Time: 129 minutes
  • ASIN: B000001DU0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,527 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. Hoffman on February 6, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Waits' soundtrack to this 1992 Jarmusch film is at times haunting, beautiful, deranged, aggravating, and amusing. Worth a listen by any Waits fan. Includes 3 vocal performances that rank among his best - particularly the waltz "Good Old World" and its instrumental equivalent.
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Night On Earth is a mostly instrumental recording from Tom Waits. The songs are mostly in the vein of his recent four studio albums at that time (Swordfishtrombones through Bone Machine - particularly the latter album and Rain Dogs), in that they feature his typically quirky percussion and wind instrument soundscapes - his "junkyard orchestra." The album's motif is quite nifty: Waits has crafted a main theme that changes and morphs according to the different cities that they represent in the movie - from the raging electric guitar of the Los Angeles theme to the beautiful stringed instrumentals of the later tracks. These instrumentals are fairly typical of Waits, and are good as far as they go. Imagine Swordfishtrombones, Rain Dogs, or Bone Machine without vocals, and you have a pretty good idea of what you're getting. There are also three songs with vocals. These feature Waits's typically wacky and intimitable lyrics, and are performed in a calmer, more soothing way than his other current material of the time (Bone Machine.) This album seems like it would work best as a backdrop for the movie (which I haven't seen), than as a stand-alone product. Still, it has its charms in the latter context as well. Reccommended for Waits fans (though you should have his other albums before you pick this one up), and fans of the movie.
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The music has a repetitiveness I like, a constantly moving theme, like a monster tramping around in the darkness. These are not pop tunes but mood music. Variations give it an alternately boozy barroom feel or a Twilight Zone paranoia. The two versions of the sung "Good Old World"--one brutal and bulldoggy, one sentimentally in-the-cups--are both keepers, reminiscent of the parallel versions of "Innocent When You Dream" on Franks Wild Years. "The Other Side of the World", the only other track with lyrics, is a bridge between the Franks Wild Years and Black Rider albums, with lots of that lost, old world, Brothers Grimm mood. It's one of my favorite Waits tunes, and full of his new love for Kathleen Brennan.
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this was a gift for my father, who was sick with cancer. he had listed to this in his youth and i had really lost hope in finding it. so glad we got it in time for him to enjoy it. was very happy to make one small wish come true for him.
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If you like Tom Waits and like what he did circa 1992, you will love this. It is mostly instrumental and it is sophisticated, just like you and me! I mean, we are sophisticated and I'm pretty sure we have been instrumental for something. You don't need the faintest remembrance of the movie to like this. But of course, if you don't remember Beatrice Dalle, I suggest that you go and watch it anew or for the first time. An excellent record for Tom's fans. I don't know if normal people will dig it though.
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Tom Waits is the kinda guy that makes eclectic music with a lot of experimenting, and with experiments, one can fail as easily as succeed. This means that on one Tom Waits album you can find true gems, songs that reset the bounadries of music, next to other stuff that is... well, just not so exiting. The same goes for artists like Nick Cave and Current 93. It is both their weakness and strength but at the end, this eclectic aproach to their music must be applauded and embraced, for only true artists have the guts to go all the way, and in the process, sometimes prevail and some other times fall flat on their face.

Since "Swordfishtrombones" (1983) Tom Waits has left the smokey piano-in-a-remote-bar tunes behind and started experimenting with less obvious instruments like the marimba, banjo, organ and harmonium. Some songs prevail and become recognizable "Waitsian music", others just "are what they are", this is the way things go.

But here is the soundtrack to Jim Jarmusch' movie "Night on earth" and for Tom Waits it is surprisingly even from A to Z. Besides that, it's also remakebly low-key.

The string of sixteen musical tracks (of which three are with vocals) play like one big song with each track being a variation on the former and the next. The three songs beautifully blend in with their non-vocal surroundings and the result is an moodful piece of nightmusic.

Not many soundtracks can be enjoyed all on their own if you haven't seen the movie. Most musical tunes are too much connected with the images they accompanied. But Tom Waits has the adventage of being a musical craftsman for many years so he is able to create a atmospherical piece of music that is perfect for the film and at the same time can pretty much stand on its own.
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