Tom Waits has aged like wine, if that of wine was kept in a rusty lead pale with screws and razor blades at the bottom of it in some forgotten basement. What I guess I'm trying to say is Waits sounds better than ever. I bet Tom even surprised himself with the initial reception of his first record in seven years. First off, this album features superb instrumentation provided by Keith Richards, Flea, Les Claypool, and David Hidalgo from Los Lobos among many others. Waits was challenged by his wife and longtime writing partner to make this album as tight and compact as possible, no song was allowed to be longer than 4:26 long. This restriction is what I believe makes Bad as Me one of his most accessible records of his career. It starts with an explosion of fury with "Chicago" a scuttlebutt of a tune featuring blasts of horns and banjos while chugging along a runaway train. From there the album weaves through many different love songs that nod to all of the varying styles of Waits' career while still remaining fresh and new sounding. The album ends on a foggy "New Years Eve" in typical Waits fashion. I've always expected great things from Tom Waits but even I am surprised to how great Bad as Me is.
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