Tuesday, March 11, 2008

520. Tom Waits - Swordfishtrombones (1983)

Track Listing

1. Underground
2. Shore Leave
3. Dave The Butcher
4. Johnsburg, Illinois
5. 16 Shells From A 30.6
6. Town With No Cheer
7. In The Neighbourhood
8. Just Another Sucker On The Vine
9. Frank's Wild Years
10. Swordfishtrombone
11. Down, Down, Down
12. Soldier's Things
13. Gin Soaked Boy
14. Trouble Braids
15. Rainbirds


We come now to what is probably the best Tom Waits album ever. Someone had the brilliant idea to leave the man alone in the studio and what we got for that was the most eclectic, yet brilliant set of songs that he ever put to vinyl. Swordfishtrombones has the capacity to be at the same time one of the strangest and most beautiful albums to ever be put out.

Alternatively heart-breaking and manic this embodies all the best that Tom Waits can do. The lyrics are an interesting shift from previous album focusing more on freaks, outlaws and the down and out. Musically it is unlike anything, a throwback to an earlier age while sounding like nothing that came before or since, it is extremely evocative of an underworld of the 50's sounding half beatnik, and completely brilliant.

I am of course gushing about this, but no praise I can give this album is quite enough for it. This is an album that really makes me tick, from laughing darkly at Frank's Wild Years to being moved almost to tears with Soldier's Things there are just not enough superlatives... but here are some: Superb, incredible, amazing, beautiful.

Track Highlights

1. Frank's Wild Years
2. Soldier's Things
3. In The Neighborhood
4. Rainbirds

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Stylistically different from his previous LPs, Swordfishtrombones moves away from the piano and string orchestra arrangements of the late seventies replacing them instead with unusual instrumentation and a somewhat more abstract songwriting approach.

Swordfishtrombones peaked at #164 on Billboard's Pop Albums and Billboard 200 albums chart.

In 1989, Spin Magazine named Swordfishtrombones the second greatest album of all time.

Frank's Wild Years:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One of the best albums of all time. And one of the most unusual too. Swordfishtrombones is beautiful and scary: comparing Trouble's Braids with Johnsburg, Illinois you'd barely think it was the same album. Fabulous stuff.