Swordfishtrombones is the eighth studio album by singer and songwriter Tom Waits, released in 1983 on Island Records. It was the first album that Waits produced himself. Stylistically different from his previous albums, Swordfishtrombones moves away from conventional piano-based songwriting towards unusual instrumentation and a somewhat more abstract and experimental rock approach.The album peaked at No. 164 on the Billboard Pop Albums and 200 albums charts.Wikipedia
Day 26 of Albums You Must Hear... Swordfishtrombones is an album released by one of the most interesting and abstract artists of the list thus far, Tom Waits. I first learned of Tom Waits several years ago while going down a YouTube rabbit hole. Heath Ledger largely took inspiration from Tom Waits for his role of The Joker in The Dark Knight. I will link the video that I watched below, the likeness is incredible. I must preface with this first, Tom Waits is not for everyone. He is abstract, off beat and, frankly, different. For those reasons, I really enjoy Tom Waits and Swordfishtrombone is a genius record. Waits is bound by no restraints, and the pace is up to him completely. In this album you get many sides of this mad genius. If I was to make a recipe for Tom Waits style, I’d say it’s 1 part jazz, 1 part circus clown, foaming from the mouth, 2 parts piss & vinegar, and 2 parts witty, spoken word poet. While having one of the most gravely voices in music, he can go rough and tough to sentimental and soft at the drop of a dime. My favorite song on Swordfishtrombone is In The Neighborhood, an almost national anthem version of Hometown, Anywhere. It’s nostalgic and melodic. On 16 Shells From a Thirty-Ought Six, I felt like a Hell’s Angel riding down a deserted highway with my grip tight on the ape-hangers handlebars. Vroom Vroom! I also love the use of non-traditional sounds in the instrumentation, like creaking of hinges or the steely slam of a sledgehammer knocking in railroad spikes. On Frank’s Wild Years, a spoken word piece, Waits tells a short story with words that slide out of his mouth with such ease and coolness that I totally didn’t expect the twist ending. I really love this cut from the album. Soldiers Things is sad and ironic, yet beautifully written. Tom Waits is a terrific pianist and brilliant songwriter. I look forward to delving deeper into his huge catalog. Please share your thoughts, opinions and memories!!
It's not true that Tom Waits' music before this album contained no musical invention or experimentation. But, it is true that this is the point where he really let rip. Underpinning the bizarre sounds and vocal affectations is the great melodies you can hear on his earlier records. For such a wierd and wonderful collection, it ends up sounding and feeling really cohesive. I don't think it is quite his best work (that's Mule Variations, I think) but it is still a classic.
You're walking through the fairground with your date. They're miserable as you couldn't even win them a prize goldfish at 'Toss the Ring'. You tried to tell them it's all a fix and the rings aren't big enough to fit over the bowls, but they wouldn't listen. They looked at you like this date was as poor as your excuse. It begins to drizzle and your candy floss droops. Who cares? The idea of candy floss was better than the actual thing anyway. Over the sounds of others laughing, talking and screaming, you glance over the top of your date's head and see a man made of right angles standing next to the waltzers. You catch his one good eye and realise it's too late; he's seen you. He starts barking at you and your date and beckoning with a twig like finger. His one milky eye seems to be like some hazy frayed rope that's been knotted around your neck and he draws you in. Over your date's protestations, he somehow convinces you both to sit inside a waltzer. No one else is here. The lights are flickering and the smell of sawdust and vomit become oppressive. He laughs like man gargling kitty litter and slams the safety bar down and spins the cab round as the ride starts up. You're stuck here with this awful date spinning round and round and round and round. You have the fear that you'll be here forever in some kind of carny limbo. This is the music that is playing over the speakers. The louder you scream the faster the ride. Remember: fun is the key but keep seated at all times or you may die. Best Tracks: 16 Shells from a 30.6; In The Neighbourhood; Down, Down Down
1 and 5 are equally valid ratings. Personally I have a lot of patience for goofy, borderline-unlistenable shit as long as it doesn't take itself too seriously. I like this halloween music.
Heard through the blue funk which has descended on every blue blooded Englishman and, I expect, all in their charge across the waves patrolled by those in service to the glory of crown and country since the crippling disappointment of the Euros 2020 final, this was a tonic. Capturing the spirit of jug bands - assembling new achievements from the scraps of whatever is lying around - and celebrating the once-fallen as heroes, it offers glints of hope glimmering at the end of dark alleys. Perhaps there is a way out. Perhaps it isn't interminable. And not just for the rogues and waifs here. I am talking also, of course, about our fallen heroes Bukayo, Kalvin, Kyle, the Harrys, et al. As for Waits' hoarse bark - 'tis surely the noise issuing forth from every true Three Lions fan's throat this week, after hours - nay, days - nay, weeks - of singing Three Lions, Sweet Caroline, and bellowing their support for our freedom-fighting soldiers of the football field. A real touch of class from Waits to record this tribute to the England team merely a day after their defeat.
I really don’t like Tom Waits’ music and this album hasn’t changed my opinion.
Tommy boy. Some would say his finest hour (depends on who you ask), but this is when he started to get really weird, which I dig. His voice is a point of contention for a lot of people but I really like it. This album has everything that Tom had done until that point: sultry ballads, driving blues, poetry, strange, world-influences and weirdo lyrics. I like this album a lot but I think Rain Dogs just edges it out for this era of Tom. Favorite track: 16 Shells From a Thirty-Ought Six Least favorite track: Trouble’s Braids
An excellent album and important transition in his career as he started collaborating with and being influenced by his wife Kathleen. She introduced him to Captain Beefheart who became a major influence, and you can hear that in this album. He started developing more voices and characters that continue to show up in later albums. I am reminded why I like his music so much listening to the first couple tracks - he creates such vivid scenes, you can imagine the loneliness, seediness and darkness of the places he inhabits. Sweet to hear a song about Kathleen (Johnsburg, Illinois). I think there are a number of masterpieces on the album - 16 Shells, Frank's Wild Years included. Other standouts for me are Swordfishtrombone, Down Down Down, and Gin Soaked Boy. Ultimately I find Rain Dogs to be a better album - certainly my favorite of the 80's trilogy and probably of all his albums - but for me it still deserves 5 stars.
DON'T MIND IF I DO
Thought I was out but he pulled me back in
I really don't like Tom Waits.
Good grief... I've already commented that I don't like Tom Waits's voice, but this album is labeled as "experimental rock." If you have to put it in a genre, I suppose that's as good as any, but there's quite a lot of this album that sounds like "drunken instrumentation." Imagine going to a carnival and hearing the background music played badly -- that's what the first three tracks sound like. Then at some point mid album bagpipes come in for a second? I felt slightly detached from reality after listening to this album, and not in a good way. I'm giving it a solid 1 star.
Tom Waits’s voice in “The Neighborhood” is my new favorite thing.
This is a pretty good album to encapsulate a lot of styles of Tom Waits. You got your bastards, your brawlers, and your bawlers. This is definitely an album that keeps you thinking "What could be next?". I had not listened to the entire album for probably at least 7 years, but I had fav'd at least half the tracks, but discovered some new ones that I really like to add. The only duds for me are "Town With No Cheer", I don't think it adds anything to the album nor the Tom Waits catalog. Frank's Wild Years in isolation is just a little dumb-fun story, but if I recall Frank is a character throughout Wait's career, so there might be something more interesting there chronologically. I was thinking this would be a 4, but I am thinking it's probably a 5 actually. Not something I want to always throw on, but I can't deny it's a great album.
I thought for a long time that Tom Waits was not the artist for me and that I would not enjoy any of his works, but that was before I heard this album. Unlike the problems I had with Heartattack and Vine, this album I believe showcases where Waits' voice really shines. Abstract and weird in the best ways, this album was a colossal, strange, wondrous ride through Waits' mind. He doesn't let himself get shoehorned into that deep gravely voice that he is known for, and there are some quieter, smoother songs that showcase a range I didn't know he had. Sometimes you just get some quiet instrumentals or tracks where he just speaks, which is a nice palate cleanser between songs. Overall, an album that shocked me with how great it was.
damn this was a really cool album the more I listen to Tom Waits the more I can appreciate his style and the way he grows in his discography can’t decide what my favorite song is, I’m just gonna give this a 10/10, awesome album, please listen to it
A beautiful but dangerous circus run by ghosts of soldiers with broken hearts. Lovely lovely lovely.
I love the man. He has a carny appeal that really strikes me as folksy, authentic, and fun while still being grounded and deep at points.
Listening to Tom Waits is like a reverse date rape - he'll drug you just to take you back to the bar.
Круто. Чувак знает что делает.
Arty music I don't understand or enjoy. Tom Waits sounds like he's doing a sarcastic impression of himself.
Was intrigued with this one as I know how much Waits is revered by true music lovers. Underground was not a good start - not sure what the allure is of angry Slipknot-like growling with Big Top circus musical accompaniment. I'd say one or the other but tracks 3 and 8 were the latter and I hated it. So need the right music with his voice - I quite liked 16 Shells from a 30.6 and Gin Soaked Boy so its doable. Shore Leave wasn't bad - still eclectic music but vocals not so off-putting (even the end of song warbling). In the Neighbourhood had some cool lyrics, Rainbirds was pretty, and the title track was alright. But his voice is just awful (it's like listening to the Cookie Monster) and there's way too much weird stuff and not enough good stuff that I'd want to listen to more than once (if that) or listen hard for the lyrics.
The instrumentation on this album is so good. The groove, the melodies, the music is absolutely fantastic. Moments of pure enjoyment and appreciation for how well the band plays each song, only to get interrupted by Tom Waits. Tom Waits is the villain in this album.
Now I know for sure I don't like Tom Waits at all.
Critics are just making up shit to like this album. Nirvana’s Nevermind before there was a Nirvana? Bullshit. This album may be deep, but it is unlistenable.
You know what? I hate Tom Waits.
Tom waits is absolutely the worst. Nails on a chalkboard.
He sucks bad. Like anyone could do this shit
Don't get it, not an enjoyable listen
The incredible string of 5 star albums continues. What an INSANELY good album. I’ve heard some of Tom’s more stopped down outings before, but the instrumentation and production values on Swordfishtrombones is out of this world.
Heerlijk, dit is voor mij toch het album van Tom Waits waar het voor mij mee begon. Ik ben helemaal niet van de toeters en bellen maar op dit album valt alles op zijn plek.
I love Tom Waits A LOT. I'm also biased because I love trombone. But this album is genuinely fantastic.
Tom Waits is Tom Waits! He's an aquired taste, but i really like this album. He masterfully blends multible genres.
Wow. Strange album but what an experiment in songwriting and genre bending. Will be listening to again
All time, Uncle Vernon
I'm a huge fan of Tom Waits. This is my favorite album by him. It's a crazy trip from the opening chaos of Underground to the final piano of Rainbirds. Lyrically it has some crazy moments (Frank's Wild Years) or just tells a great story (Shore leave) or has a warm and tender touch (Soldier's Things). The music and production are second to none as well and that's what gives each track its unique vibe.
Very good, not an album I was familiar with but it sounds like it should be
I have listened to quite a bit of tom waits. I don't believe that I ever listened to this album. But, I tell you what, I like it. I love his voice, sounds like gargling gravel and petrol. Just stoney, and rough. I think it creates such a neat sound. Plus he is a pretty interesting guy, and for sure reflects in his music. This one is a weird one for sure. But there are some songs I deem to be classics. The neighborhood is an absolute classic 16 Shells from a 30.6 absolutely slaps. This get recommended from me for sure now.
5 Thoroughly entertaining and brilliant writing throughout.
The only album we wanted to play again right after we finished it of the 80 so far.
I've heard a bit of Tom Waits before but now I'm hooked. I love the variety of his sound, from smokey lounge singer to ballads and much more.
Love this. Sounds quite original, and definitely 'Tom Waits'.
A genuine piece of art. It’s able to make some of the ugliest sounds known to man and meld them into something beautiful
I love Waits and this one is a particular favourite.
Very funny, some real interesting Instrumentation
There's no one else like Tom Waits. I can understand why he wouldn't be enjoyable to a lot of people but if you get what he's putting out then you're probably going to love him. Its probably not my favorite from this legend but its among them
This is a stellar album that showcases Waits vocal range and his songwriting ability.
Swordfishtrombones is the eighth studio album by singer and songwriter Tom Waits, released in 1983 on Island Records. It was the first album that Waits produced himself. Stylistically different from his previous albums, Swordfishtrombones moves away from conventional piano-based songwriting towards unusual instrumentation and a somewhat more abstract and experimental rock approach.
I had a group of friends who were listening to Tom Waits and John Prine when the rest of us had switched to Talking Heads & B52s. They liked Tom because he was “greasy”. It seems that as his career progressed into the 80s his songs about America’s underbelly went deeper underground, with more obscure vocals and lyrics in addition to Vaudeville influences, trombones, baritones, accordions, marimbas, plus a few non-instruments. I remember we (my co-judge?) owned this album and the only song I paid much attention to was Frank’s Wild Years because there was a Raymond Carver story that had a similar plot line. I have a greater appreciation of it now, especially when listening to it back-to-back with his earlier, less edgy material, much of which we will be listening to, courtesy of 1001 over the next couple of years. He’s an uncompromising artist with the perspective that the rest of the world will have to get on the same page as him, not the other way around.
Glorious music beamed straight from some sort of mirror universe. I love this stuff. Fave track - tough one. "16 Shells From a Thirty-Ought Six" has that awesome bizarro sound that would go on to make up most of my favourite Waits album "The Mule Variations". "Frank's Wild Years" and "Swordfishtrombone" make an excellent one two punch, too...
Tom Waits was one of the big surprises I had so far listening to the 1001 albums… I didn’t think I’d enjoy listening to him for a whole album. But when I listened to RAIN DOGS was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Now listening to this I love it too! My instinctive reaction to Tom Waits is changing… I love the instrumentation on the songs. It compliments perfectly Tom Waits’ distinctive vocals. The stories in the songs held me transfixed… “Frank’s Wild Years” opens with ‘Well Frank settled down out in the valley, and he hung his wild years on a nail he drove through his wife’s forehead.’ Who doesn’t want to hear the rest of that story?! (Spoiler alert: it doesn’t end well) I think I might have enjoyed SWORDFISHTROMBONES even more than RAIN DOGS. This is a wildly interesting, crazy quilts of songs. Some tell stories, some are inscrutable, and some are fun flights of musical fancy. Yet they cohere as an album - one I will be happy to listen to again! Immediate favorite tracks: 16 Shells from a Thirty-Ought Six, In the Neighborhood, Frank’s Wild Years, Soldier’s Things, Rainbirds
This is amazing. My father was a huge fan, and while I thought Tom Waits was a bit challenging to listen to then, I really appreciate him now. Love.
The best Tom Waits album. The point when he transitioned from smoky ballads which he was still very good at to weird stuff. The guitar line on the first song alone is incredible
This is Tom Waits' 8th studio album and his first one away from conventional piano'-based music to more abstract and experimental. Yeah, a lot of these songs have horns, various percussions, weird sounds and, of course, Tom's gravelly voice. The album is worth it alone just for the unique stories he tells and then you add in the various instruments and noises. Never a dull moment. Most the songs have lyrics. There a few instrumentals, one which sounds has a vaudeville atmosphere. There are plenty of song highlights. "Shore Leave" tells a first-person account of a soldier leaving on a boat traveling through Asia and elsewhere accompanied by creepy percussions, bass and random noises and screams. In "16 Shells from a Thirty-Ought-Six," a farmer takes his frustration out shooting a crow or scarecrow sixteen times. The song has a unique time signature and noises sounding like a gun is getting reloaded. "Frank's Wild Years" is a story about Frank who eventually burns down his house and rides off on the Freeway. It has one of the great lines about his wife and dog "His wife was a spent piece of used jet trash,"Had a Chihuahua named Carlos that had some sort of skin disease and was totally blind." Tom went on to name an album by the same name a few years later. This is a fun and unique album. I know there are a few more Tom Waits' albums to come which should be just as enjoyable.
This is regarded as the first album in the second part of Tom's career, also the first of what is considered a trilogy followed by Rain Dogs and Frank's Wild Years. It marks the beginning of his changeover from the Louis Armstrong-ish, bluesy, wild living phase into his much more eclectic sound pulling influences from wherever he could find them. I've been a major fan since I first heard Heart of Saturday Night in 1974. I sincerely believe that when music history is written years from now that he will be recognized as one of the most important musical figures of the 20th century. I just wish he had one more tour in him since he is one of the most electric acts ever live.
This is one of the finest hours of music ever recorded. It's absolutely criminal that this isn't more notorious than it is, because Tom Waits really turned his entire career over with this, by tearing his own music down and rebuilding his songs as unconventionally as he felt like (or not). Stunningly brilliant and beautiful, tasteful musicianship throughout. Runs the gamut from heartbreaking to hilarious to seriously fucking frightening. Definitely top ten Greatest Albums of All Time. Top Twenty at worst.
оч крутой альбом! какой-то arthur shelby energy
Tom Waits a le don de faire des albums incroyablement bizarre. Celui-ci n'en échappe pas.. Cependant, c'est un bijou a l'oreille car il y a cohésion dans tout cela et l'écoute est très bonne. 5
Favourite album from a favourite artist. Like the Ramones, who I listened to a few albums ago, he polarises listeners, and that's OK. You either buy into the world he has created over the decades, or you don't.
Classic Waits. And you won't find many better Side 1's than this. Amazing how Tom re-invented himself. A rare and very special talent.
Waits' first "weird" record (and my first introduction to his work) remains my favorite for all of its diverse voices and wide ideas. Favorite track: 'Soldier's Things'
Very cool album artwork! I get to listen to this on vinyl!! Exciting! Absolutely love the variety, experimentation with sound, unusual but warm yet gritty vocals. Gorgeous sounds and one of the greats in the singer song writer category.
A fascinating and colourful album full of interesting instrumentation accompanying Waits' distinctive voice and compelling lyrics. 4.5/5
16 Shells From a Thirty-Ought-Six!
Not as strange as I expected... good album!
Love me some Waits!
Rustig en goed. Kalmerende stem met af en toe ook wat opzwependheid in
Soft spot in my heart for this one
Love Tom Waits, didn't know this album before. Not my favorite Album of his, still good.
This album kicks off my favorite period of his career where the more creative instrumentation begins. This sound is equally as distinctive as his iconic voice, his choice of imagery and subject matter, or his tendency to incorporate spoken word into his music. He achieves a sort of timeless sound that is at once nostalgic for a vague sense of the past and yet simultaneously bleeding edge somehow. Always an iconoclast, he doubles down on it here and his play certainly paid off. Although I do appreciate this album as his career turning point, I have deeper personal connections to the albums that followed. I like how the album goes out on an instrumental number.
I liked the music a lot, did not like his voice.
Surprisingly good! What a fun gravel voice. And other stuff.
I need to do a mix of Tom Waits, Marianne Faithfull and Kurt Weill.
Always and still prefer Rain Dogs
Has a Modest Mouse sort of vibe going on. Feels good.
Oh man this album is a lot. Shore Leave is wacky. 16 Shells is super cool, like an absolute killer song. from there it dumps into Town With No Cheer, which is totally different. lots of musical whiplash. In The Neighborhood is an encapsulation of the album as a whole. Frank's Wild Years is the happiest nightmare I ever did hear. Rainbirds is an excellent closer.
My first Tom Waits album. Unmistakable gravelly voice. Lyrics evoke the poetry of Bukowski, set in strip joints, cheap bars and dirtbag motels. Clanky percussion and nightmarish organ sounds. Waits is cynical and worldweary. Dry and bitter delivery set over spare acoustic instrumentation with some elements of smoky lounge jazz.
Not as good as Rain Dogs or Heartattack and Vine, but I do like it.
Ken Tom Waits niet heel goed; goed plaatje!
Highly polarizing artist but hey I like him. I do like when he sings more and I dislike the Cookie Monster talk sing stuff.
I honestly had no idea that Tom Waits was anything other than the Kurt Weill by way of Captain Beefheart backed by a junkyard band kind of guy we've come to expect on recordings like Bone Machine, but it turns out that Swordfishtrombones was where all of that started. Apparently, Waits was musically restless at the time and decided to shake things up. One way he did this was by gaining access to the collection of exotic instruments compiled by percussionist Emil Richards. And Waits was wise enough to eschew the synthesizers and drum machines of the time, so Swordfishtrombones feels timeless, like it could have been recorded any time during the last 40 years. I'm guessing that Waits was also inspired by Captain Beefheart's late period albums like Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller) and Ice Cream For Crow. Waits bravely opens the album with the purest version of his brand new style, as though daring his audience to reject him. But here's the thing about Swordfishtrombones--Waits doesn't stick to one style, the way he did on Bone Machine. He goes all the way from a sensitive croon to full on Howling Wolf impersonation and all stops in between. That's revealing for me, because I kind of thought that Waits' Howling Wolf schtick was actually who we was, but no. Waits puts on vocal styles like so many masks, whatever suits the characters and stories he wants to tell in a specific song. As to style, Waits has the junkyard percussion thing down, but he also does jump blues, B3 organ trio stuff, and the occasional piano ballad. For me, that makes Swordfishtrombones a very rich record. It's also beautifully performed, courtesy of a veritable who's who of musicians, including guitarist Fred Tackett from Little Feat, organist Ronnie Barron, who worked with Dr. John, and utility percussionist Victor Feldman, who has played with well, everyone. And it doesn't hurt that the lyrics are literate and frequently a hoot. Now, although Tom Waits isn't really my kind of artist, I couldn't help but appreciate the level of detail and craft lavished on these tunes. 4.5/5
The album with a combination of acoustic instruments and man's vocal. It's some rock and some folk music.
WOnderful, quirky, mastermind of Tom Waits.
Odd, living little nuggets that feel like they’ve tumbled directly from the head of a sapient racoon and skittered off into the shadows to start a new life of their own.
One of Tom Waits' best albums and the beginning of his foray into the avante garde. 8.7/10
Tom Waits is like an old jazz guy from the future.
I'm a fan and listen to his music every day, so I'm biased, but the songs are achingly melancholic (eg Johnsburg, Illinois) which (if you like that sort of thing - and I do) hit the spot every time. He is an acquired taste though;.some stuff is very odd (16 shells,,, which is largely about a guitar) but once you accept the strangeness, it's fabulous and occasionally very funny (Frank's wild years). I expect at least another three of his albums to make this list, and I for one, can hardly wait.
Fantastically interesting album. The weird sounds and jazz influenced rock really do well to compliment Waits’ twisted yet beautiful story telling. Lyrically phenomenal.
What a trip
"He sounds like a living cigarette but its pretty good." I like this a lot, it's super unique
This is equal part Louis Armstrong, Randy Newman, and Sesame Street. I half-expected "Daddy Would You Like Some Sausage?" by Tom Green to start playing at some point. Still - this shit is pretty cool. Great lyrics. I laughed a lot. I appreciated the instrumentation and Waits' successful attempt to create something different, yet familiar (at least those who like New Orleans' style jazz/blues). "16 Shells" is cool - I dig it. "Frank" and "Gin-Soaked" are also dope. And watch this - I think I want to be friends with Tom Waits. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bQ1cfM13Jg
Love me some Tom Waits and this album is always toward the top of my list. 4.5/5
My first impression was pretty negative. I really didn't like his growly voice. At about 3:30 into Shore Leave I was basically asking "wtf am I hearing?" I had a similar reaction to 16 Shells from a Thirty-Ought Six. His voice was more tolerable on later songs like Swordfishtrombone and Soldier's Things. I kept thinking "I'd probably like some of this music if it weren't for his voice." On my second listen I found myself getting past his voice and enjoying the music more. On the third listen (I'm persistent) I even started appreciating his voice more (3:30 into Shore Leave still made me say wtf, but I started to like his style on 16 Shells). As I write this, I'm on my fourth listen and this album is growing on me like a fungus. I'd say after one listen I was at a 2 because I liked the music and hated his voice. I wrote a note at the time: "If he wasn't singing like he just gargled battery acid, this might be a good album." By third listen I was at 2.5 and rounding to a 3. On my fourth listen, I'm at 3.5 almost 4. I'm going to keep it at a 4 to acknowledge that this was a difficult album to get into, but it's clearly an album that rewards attention and multiple listens.
Truly amazing album, only overshadowed by being released just prior to Rain Dogs, one of the greatest albums of all time.
Glad I revisited this, as it's better than I remembered. Still not a huge Waits fan, but I appreciate his beatnik-blues persona thing, and here it is combined with experimental touches. The whole thing is compelling, and I feel each song taking me on a weird narrative journey. 4*
3.5/5. I guess I don't really understand Tom Waits. I don't really like his voice, and I find it hard to listen to. I think I just need to get more adjusted to it. For me, that takes away from the music and makes it less enjoyable. I do think the songs on here do have great artistic value and I do appreciate it.
Another strange one by the master of strange. Liked this one more than the last of his I reviewed.
Waits is a badass and I could listen to his voice for days
I don't listen to Tom Waits often but I always enjoy how different his style and songs are
a most eloquent gravel road
Con Bone Machine sono diventato un fan di Tom Waits quindi le mie aspettative erano molto alte e oltre tutto il fattore sorpresa non c'era con questo album. Il risultato dell'ascolto è un album che non mi ha pienamente convinto ma che comunque è sicuramente di altissimo livello. L'ho trovato forse un po' lento a partire e un po' meno coerente di Bone Machine, ma comunque racchiude dei pezzi che mi hanno colpito parecchio tipo In the neighborhood o la title track stessa, o anche Soldier's Things. Nei punti in cui è meno a fuoco sembra un po' troppo improvvisato. Mi sento un po' triste a dare 4, però 5 per coerenza non lo merita rispetto a Bone Machine. È un 4 diverso dagli altri 4.
Didn't like the butcher however overall it was beautiful
not your ordinary rock album, the first song is reminiscent of some dwarf fantasy song. The next one sounds like the opening of a detective. Everything supported by Tom's unique voice.
Lovely and sleazy in equal measure.
Atmospheric album imbued with compelling storytelling. I was transported to another world instantly - one of a sailor who has travelled all over the world, estranged from his wife ("Shore Leave"), an Aussie jackaroo, a soldier. The bleak exploration of the loneliness, disenfranchisement and time's harsh tendency to just go on and leave us behind, was soulful. Loved "Town with no Cheer" - such clever lyrics (e.g. referring to train tracks as a xylophone). Shout out to Swordfishtrombone too, more excellent storytelling and clever lyrics. Almost cried while listening to "Soldier's Things". Enjoyed the unnerving rhythm and poetry of Trouble's Braids - that fell into rap territory. Quite a hopeless song to (almost) end on but couldn't have been more perfect for an album by a musician who explores the "underbelly of society". Discovering albums that truly broaden my horizons, the way Swordfishtrombone did, is the reason I signed up for 1001albums. This album did a brilliant job of showcasing stories about people and places from which most of us "well off" modern city folk are far removed. It was captivating. Loved the jazzy, bluesy and rock inspired instrumentals too. I imagine this album was ground-breaking at the time. I haven't given it a 5 because personally, I didn't find it entertaining on a musical level - more a storytelling one, which is great but I do like to feel music in my body as well as my mind/emotions. Will definitely be coming back to this one.
не ну норм, хриплый голос, минималистично. На семплы разобрать можно, а так-то я не шарю в томе ваще
El disc que marca la nova etapa de Tom Waits, allunyant-lo del jazz rock tabernari i endinsant-lo dins el seu propi univers sonor. Aquí va començar tot. Jo el valoro més com a món creat a partir dels instruments, arranjaments, veu i lletres que com una col.lecció de cançons; no n'hi ha cap que destaqui especialment... però si estàs disposat a deixar-te emportar, els llocs on et transporta són gairebé tan reals com la vida mateixa... i gairebé tan obscurs
Glorious genre spanning wizardry. The first of three genuinely game changing albums from one of the best american songwriters of all time. Not everything will hit with everyone but the audacity on display here deserves at least a 4. 4/5
The first of the great Tom Waits albums.
Rating: 7/10 Best songs: Underground, In the neighbourhood
I was a bit sceptical about more Tom Waits but this was great
yeah, okay, i can vibe with this.
Wow - captivating & very, very different.
Tom Waits is about as polarizing an artist you can get. I see lots of 1s and 5s here. It’s so hard to peg his style and that’s probably what I like most about him. But I get it, he’s not for everyone and is an acquired taste. Art rock, blues, jazz, spoken world, you name it, it’s here. This is a minor masterpiece.
Truth be told: I'm a big fan of his Tom and piano style. He is such a good storyteller and this is less conducive with the louder style although he nails the storytelling on ballads like In The Neighbourhood where the piano is replaced with horns, etc. The album is very good and he has some classic songs with this louder experimental style. I guess he couldn't do only Tom and Piano forever. This is a good transition album but the 5s are reserved for Tom and his piano.
I'm fairly familiar with Tom Waits but I've never sat through one of his albums front to back, and I don't know how this will go since his music can be challenging at times. Turns out it's not too bad, I think going in already knowing what was to come helped but I was able to get into it and really enjoyed his mad jazzy carnival. Tom's such a weird cat, I love it.
ne slušah ovaj album nikad, ali dobro je da je iskočio. ovo mi parira Rain Dogsu, tu je, u tom smjeru, dobro da nije poput Bone Machine-a. Ovaj album je koktel eksperimentalnog rocka/bluza/poezije/đeza/storytellinga sa nekakvim mračnim cabaretom - a i samo ime albuma me nekako podsjeća na bućkuriš. bojim se da bi ovaj album mogao čak biti jednak kao Rain Dogs ili čak za nijansu bolji? nije to grijeh, ali vrijeme će reći i koliko puta okrenem album - rekao sam si. ***nastavak: okrenuo sam si album, i mogu reći da je bolji od Rain Dogsa, fluidniji je! dakle iznenađen pravo. u top 3 njegova albuma lagano je uletio. jače je od četvorke, ali nije petica...još.
Ungulates! The ungulates are coming! Clomping their way to the firey fairground of hellllllll! Five Tom Waits albums on this list is ridiculous, but this is probably my favourite of the four I've heard so far. It hits the sweet-spot between the relentless demonic rhythm of Bone Machine, and the mish-mash of styles on Rain Dogs. It is varied, but still sounds like a piece and suits Waits' voice throughout. 4/5.
4/5. ZANY. All over the place. Probably a grower. Gonna have to revisit this one
Tom Waits is amazing. Love his weirdness and the songs it delivers, even if this album wasn’t his best 8/10
I have not yet fallen love with the music of Tom Waits...as in, I don't find Tom Waits to be the answer to question, "Oh, you know what I want to listen to right now?" But I have enjoyed gaining more exposure to his music, and I see falling in love as a possibility. This album was fun with a nice variety of tunes.
Tom waits is definitely growing on me. I used to think his voice was weird but the more I listen to him, it's almost soothing, and it connects to his music very well. I liked this album a lot!
Challenging but we’ll worth it.
The sound of a carny having a midlife crisis. Perfect.
Good enough but probably won’t be looking for more of his music anytime soon.
One of the more surprising things this exercise has given me is an appreciation for the sourpuss known as Tom Waits. I find him to be a better songwriter - and vocalist, Waits almost sounds like Howlin' Wolf - than Leonard Cohen, and I've even come around to enjoying his versions over the covers made famous by other artists (See: Eagles, "Ol' 55"; Springsteen, "Jersey Girl"). The songs were Tom Waits lets loose here really slap. There are apparently 5 Tom Waits Albums on the list. Seems high? Maybe. But those 5 do not include his debut album "Closing Time", which to my ears is his best album. This one isn't far behind. Your mileage may vary when it comes to Tom Waits, but I find it's always best to just sit back and let that motherfucker take you on a journey.
Rock de Tom Waits. Un 4.
Really enjoyed this. Such a mix of moods and styles yet still all hanging together well as an album.
How has it taken me almost 40yrs to discover this album? I feel like I’ve rolled around in smashed malt liquor bottles. I love it and hate it but mainly love it.
Tom Waits fulfills the potential he displayed in his 70s era, now using unconventional instrumentation and songwriting techniques to create a rock album that sounds like no other artist, and yet it works really well. It's weird, groovy, and exotic, with a small mix of late night jazz club. It works because despite how strange and unfamiliar it all sounds, I find it to be quite a coherent record, with pieces smoothly transitioning between each other. This makes up for weaker tracks like "Dave the Butcher" to have a fitting purpose. It also works because we have 15 songs in 42 minutes, with only a few of them going much longer than 3 minutes. So you get a sample of all these different ideas and inspirations, and if you get bored of any of them, you can likely just wait a minute for the next one to come through. He's still pretty new at this, and comparing it to Rain Dogs, you can see he would have even more potential. We hear more songs here with weaker ideas that don't work too well but are still cool. There are also fewer strong tracks that blow you away. But in the end, we have a highly coherent experimental record that will blow your ears away, and is pretty hard for even casual listeners to shrug off. Favorites: Underground, Shore Leave, 16 Shells, Swordfishtrombone, Down Down Down
A great album. At the start of Waits’ turn into experimentalism, parts are maybe a little too derivative of Beefheart (even the title is reminiscent of a Trout Mask Replica) but it stands on its own in the genre. My appetite of the weirdo stuff isn’t inexhaustible but I’m generally up to give this a spin.
Tom Waits is a masterful poet and storyteller. While I know that one of his influences was Captain Beefheart, but, to me, the two are very different. Waits' songs make sense to me. I totally enjoyed this album. "In the Neighborhood," "Swordfishtrombones," and "Johnsburg, Illnois" really hit the mark. "Johnsburg, Illinois, although short, is a beautiful, bittersweet song, maybe about Waits' wife. The piano, until the end of the vocals, matches the feeling of the lyrics, sad, but sweet. Once the vocals end, the piano becomes discordant, maybe how Wait's feels without his wife. I would definitely listen to this one again.
I enjoy Tom Waits more when I consider his albums less of "music" and more as musical stories/poems. The imagery, the instrumentation, the narration are superb. I can close my eyes listening to a Tom Waits album and feel as if I'm swept away to somewhere else.
Not my favorite Tom Waits album but contains one of my favorite TW songs, Frank’s Wild Years
Better than any other of his albums I’ve heard
Dirty singing done right
Not my favourite but giving it a 4. It is exactly what this list is about for me. Confirming great albums and stretching your mindset and appreciation for albums you might not have purchased but should try.
Rock de Tom Waits. Un 4.
Enjoyed this a look. A classic but not one that I can imagine popping on when chilling. Regardless it's very interesting musically and fun to listen to properly like this
Tom Waits is a longtime favorite and this is one of his best. I love his early records, but this record moving away from piano driven songs to more abstract and experimental song structures is a high point. One of his best.
Some really good songs, some not so much. Very uneven. So, a typical Tom Waits album. The title song didn't even feature any trombones. Wtf. Best track: Down, Down, Down
Vissa låtar var fan hemska medans vissa var riktigt bra. Svårbedömt
Musically pretty cool, lots of different instruments played throughout although a very strange album. I'm guessing a lot of drugs were used in the making of this album. Would be interested in listening to some more Waits and maybe coming back to this one. Which was ok but maybe i wasn't in the mood for this one.
I like a lot of what Tom Waits does. But not all of it. I'd agree that it's worth a listen just because he has such a unique sound.
That was a very fun introduction to Tom Waits. I even liked the beat poet sections; the album was lyrically interesting and musically diverse without being too challenging. I would look forward to more Tom Waits.
i could imagine this being used i some weird peaky blinders scene
Semibängeri Jazz/Blues/Jazz poetry (rumsren Dxxa D)
I only know two Tom Waits albums and this wasn’t one of them. Some good tracks in here but found it a bit challenging at times. Probably needs some repeat listens to dig into the lyrics a bit. A quick google told me that Spin magazine once voted this the greatest album of all time. Not sure I’d go that far, but there was enough in there that I reckon I should probably give it a second listen.
Not one of my favorites by him. I know it’s a critically acclaimed one, but just not one that I hold in high regard.
Lastig verhaal, die Tom Waits.
Nooit mijn ding geweest - Tom Waits. Dit album vond ik nog wel ok, maar ook hier loop ik niet echt warm voor.
Incredible voice. Enjoyed it mostly. Pretty obscure
Interesting voice, but quite an average album.
Ok…. A lot like Leonard Cohen
Tom Waits is wild
The beginning of the album is a bit abrasive, but once you get through the first few, you discover really awesome songs. Will need to revisit.
I found this album pretty easy to listen to. Haven't listened to Tom Waits really before and rather enjoyed it.
I kinda hated it up until "Town with No Cheer" and "In the Neighborhood" which were somewhat redeeming. Initial songs felt a bit lazy and uninspired compared to the other albums. After that it was ok. Typical Waits. "Rainbirds" was nice as well. Overall I could have done without, but it wasn't bad enough to warrant a 2.
Strangely hypnotic in the weirdest way
Not Tom Waits best work. I will always remember though the description that Waits work is basically, 'what if Charles Bukowski played piano?'. And well it works perfectly for this cigarette and whiskey soaked beatnik poetry session. It's effective at what it does, but i don't know if I wanna spend 50 minutes in such a vibe now that I am getting older. But in the end, it works well enough for what it is.
Starting off with underground- I’m confused and what is his voice it’s like off brand Louis Armstrong? Huh idk. The second track, shore leave sounds like a Congo cult chant or something? He’s starting to sound more like an emo iggy pop. It’s not bad kinda groovy and chill. Ooh I like the start of the third track Dave the butcher with the organ that’s pretty nice. Circus feel but also creepy circus. But I like it so far. Ok it’s going on still it’s like a two minute jam of creepy organ. Horror story type stuff. Whoa the fourth track is kinda beautiful. Johnsburg, illinois is my favorite so far. His voice is still kinda different I’m still trying to get used to it. OOH THAT PIANO CHORD PROGRESSION IS SWEET. Alright pretty nice pretty nice. Oop switch up to the next one, track five 16 shells from a 30.6. His voice matches this one better. Pretty groovy not very catchy. Actually it’s kinda catchy reminds me of some mining chant or something? I feel like a woodworker working in my shed. Manly. Growl voice he’s growling. Kinda getting long. Also I still have no idea what genre this is I’m still confused. His voice is powerful tho I will not lie. Track 6 now, town with no cheer. BAGPIPES?? Alright. Ok I like his voice in this one it’s like a jazzy song you’d hear walking down a city at night. Also fun fact: google says Tom waits is alternative/indie. Real helpful google. This one is chill it’s pretty nice. Up the hills and a blanket of what? Okay. Ok now track 7, in the neighborhood. Some kinda marching sounding thing?? I’m starting to wonder if this is a concept album or not. It might be? Idk. This one is ok I don’t really know. Was this guy ever in a band or something? I don’t think I’ve heard of him I might listen to his number one Spotify really quick to see if I do. OHHHH. This guitar riff is so familiar. Yes I’ve definitely heard this song before. It’s I hope that I dont fall in love with you. He sounds like a country guy. His voice is so smooth compared to the album I’m listening to. This song is from 1973 and this album I’m listening to is 1983. He must’ve smoked a lot of cigarettes. Ok I skipped it ON WITH THE ALBUM. Track 8 just another sucker on the vine. Accordion now? This one is nice I like it so far. I actually really like how this album has small little interludes of random no words music it’s chill. This one is my favorite musically so far. Screw what I said about that song and walking in the city THIS is the song to do it to. Ok not track 9, cranks wild years. Jazzyyy. This reminds me of Lou reed with the velvet underground with the talking and music in the back. Like the gift or something. Or Coney Island baby? Idk I like this one a lot tho. His speaking voice is very nice. Ok now track 10 is swordfishtrombone. THIS one is jazzy I like that upright bass. His voice is growing on me more and more. Also is that like a xylophone or something? Cool. He really really reminds me of iggy pop I have no idea why. Maybe because the sweet music in the back with the more raspy dark voice. Good contrast. I almost stopped listening to this album after the first two songs but I’m glad I stuck with it it’s very interesting I’ve never heard anything this weird but also groovy? Track 11 down down down starts off with a bang. I love the organ. OOH his voice sounds fantastic in this one. Like early 60s garage rock or something. Also just noticed I haven’t heard much guitar use in this album. Ok I really liked that song that was good. Next is track 12, soldiers things. A lot of soldier talk is he good? Ooh that is some very nice piano and upright bass. He definitely went to jazz school or smth. Not too bad I’m a sucker for moody piano. Track 13 gin soaked boy finally has some guitar. This one is bluesyyy. Ill say it again about jazz school. I really love the guitar in this one. His voice matches it well too. Track 14 troubles braids is weird. Some Congo drums? Speaking voice again too. Hmm idk how to feel about this one lol. Ok now to the final one track 15, rain birds. Has a nice piano ballad to start off. Very pretty. This piano is really great i might learn it honestly. Wow that’s really really beautiful. Ok and that’s the end. A very interesting album and not the easiest to listen to? But also pretty original and I absolutely love the jazzy bluesy feel and piano. Overall I would give it a 6/10 because it was good but not my favorite. Maybe when I relisten to it I’ll like it more. For now that’s my rating.
Didn't leave much of an impression
Some interesting musicianship but overall not really something I can get into. Pretty harsh juxtaposition between his voice and the music in many cases
Tom Waits has a couple of 5-star albums in my mind, both before and after swordfishtrombones (closing time, raindogs...), but this one doesn't do it for me. It was a big change to his previous style, couple of songs I really like on it but many I don't.
Still not a full Tom Waits convert, but I did really enjoy this one at times. Very unique, and definitely benefits from multiple listens.
Sounds like Tom Waits. Listening while I'm working and picking up a lyric here and there. The record sounds nice. Strange noises created by conventional instruments. I can see how this is in the top 1001. Highlights: The whisperscreams at the end of "Shore Leave." And, as I said, the instrumentation is really relxing and interesting.
Weird album right here
Not what I was expecting from Tom Waits. I'll probably give this a few more listens as I suspect it may be a grower not a shower.
I too have shot billiards with a midget until the rain stopped. What are you waiting for, Tom? Just do it!
equal parts weird and intriguing. made me listen to another tom waits album so i must have liked it.
Was this meant to be a film soundtrack? The horn, bells and snare on “In the Neighborhood” make it a nice addition to any Christmas playlist. It’s a shame Frank took out the dog with the house fire.
Anytime I put on a Waits album it's the same thing, a rough discordant start, that I'll eventually settle into and enjoy.
Tom Waits è un geniaccio e l'avevo capito con l'ascolto dell'album precedente. Mi ha messo di nuovo in difficoltà. Questa volta ho fatto fatica a concentrarmi sull'ascolto, perché conoscendo Bone Machine, questo mi è parso subito inferiore quindi sono partito un po' prevenuto. Confermo che la sua genialità diventa un po' pesante alle mie orecchie, al punto che devo mettere pausa e continuare ad ascoltare dopo. Ma non perché non mi piace, solo perché a volte ho la sensazione che sia troppo. Ripeto, non è al livello di Bone Machine, ma non si merita nemmeno 2. Quindi 3
I'm not sure how much I like it. It's got some appeal.
That was fine. Bit weird, and not a fan of his voice, but the piano and lounge vibe was decent. Fav new track: Soldier's Things
What a uniquely weird Album. Tom has a unique voice and a unique, I orthodox way of using it. The background music is minimalistic but works and fits the bill
You never know what you will get with Tom. Always a surprise. Not that any album particularly blows me away, but every album intrigues me and grabs my attention. It’s been great becoming familiar with his career and evoluton.
Liked the tribal rhythm bits and the trumpet bits.
Stand out songs: Underground; 16 Shells From a Thirty-Ought-Six; Down, Down, Down Weird and different but not bad.
It is the first time I listened to Tom Waits. You need time to appreciate it all but U think it is a very good album
Swordfishtrombones by Tom Waits (1983) I like swords. I like fish. I like swordfish. I like trombones. And I really like Tom Waits. This album consists of 15 experimental tracks, most of which are successful. And most of them are from the John Cage school of instrumental nonconformity, and the Allen Ginsberg school of poetic chaos. (But [therefore?] it’s not for everybody, just mostly fellow bohemian hedonists and proletarian cynics like me, and it’s not likely to inspire multiple listens or covers, although I bet it was listened to by Frank Zappa, Indigo Girls, and the later Bob Dylan, yep.) The lyrics are humorous, and wildly creative. But, of course, this is Tom Waits. Here’s a sample (from “Frank’s Wild Years”, which inspired a subsequent album, Frank’s Wild Years): “Well Frank settled down out in the Valley and he hung his wild years on a nail that he drove through his wife's forehead. He sold used office furniture out there on San Fernando Road and assumed a $30,000 loan at 15¼%, put a down payment on a little two-bedroom place. His wife was a spent piece of used jet trash: made good Bloody Marys, kept her mouth shut most of the time, had a little Chihuahua named Carlos that had some kind of skin disease and was totally blind. They had a thoroughly modern kitchen, self-cleaning oven, the whole bit. Frank drove a little Sedan. They were so happy . . .” I would like to have gone on a road trip with Frank, Carlos, and, of course, Tom. Wives can stay home. In 1989, Spin magazine named Swordfishtrombones as the second greatest album of all time, just behind James Brown’s “Sex Machine”, and just ahead of Bob Dylan’s “Blonde on Blonde”. Hmmn. I think maybe Bob Guccione spent too much time arranging long strings of fake pearls. Put this on when you’ve got an hour to kill. It’s only 42 minutes long, but it’ll take you 18 minutes to recover. 3/5
My third Tom Waits album to review, and I'm still not sure what to do with it. Maybe I'm getting used to Waits, because Swordfishtrombones seemed okay. "Rainbirds" was an easy instrumental track to like, but "In the Nighborhood", "Swordfishtrombone" "Down, Down, Down", "Gin Soaked Boy" and "16 Shells From a Thirty-Ought-Six" were easily "okay" or better tracks. The track I would want to skip is "Shore Leave" which almost feels like a classic Tom Waits track because all I could say was "What?" when I listened to it.
O jebote led više Toma, stvarno dost.
Bill reckons a bit long, but more tolerable that anticipated. Shannah likes his piratey voice. Story-telling on Shore Leave and Frank's Wild Years generally appreciated. 3/5.