Heartattack and Vine is the seventh studio album by Tom Waits, released on September 9, 1980, and his final album to be released on the Asylum label. "On the Nickel" was recorded for the Ralph Waite film of the same name. It was later used as the theme song for the 1985 "The Atlanta Child Murders" miniseries. "Heartattack and Vine" was covered by Screamin' Jay Hawkins. In 1993 this version was used without Waits' permission in a Levi's commercial, for which Waits took legal action and won a settlement. Jean-Luc Godard used "Ruby's Arms" in his 1983 film First Name: Carmen. Bruce Springsteen performed "Jersey Girl" live (and was joined onstage by Waits to sing it on August 24, 1981), including it in his retrospective "Live/1975–85".Wikipedia
Boy, do I love Tom Waits's ability to paint a scene. This album sounds like a lovesick drunk at an all-night diner in a cold, windy city full of shady characters.
Dude sounds like that blue CGI alien in Star Wars episode 6 after George tinkered with them. Just goofy
Awesome album. Sent me down a very long and enjoyable Tom Waits hole
Tom Waits makes Bruce "King Mumbles" Springsteen sound like a paragon of enunciation. Holy crap. People pay this guy to sing?! I mean, it has a certain kitsch but geeze. I found myself struggling to understand what the hell he was saying and I listen to hardcore metal where the vocalists are often screaming sentence fragments instead of singing. From a musicality standpoint, the songs are great and the recording quality is on point. It's just Ol' Tom's singing ... it's hard to get through sometimes. There are a few killer tracks on here where Tom's voice isn't ... as bad. "Downtown" is a great song. So is the title track, "Heartattack And Vine" (though I prefer the Screamin' Jay Hawkins cover). But "Saving All My Love For You" is almost unlistenable. And it's not the only track dragging this album's score down.
Love this. It’s about as Tom Waits as you can get. I’m partial to “Small Change”, which is far and away my favorite Waits album it sits right in the middle of my favorite Waits years (73-85), the very beginning of his discography. It’s raw, bluesy, gritty, powerful, and has that Waits twist so common of that era. He takes some getting use to, but all in all, a fantastic listen.
Love this. Get that his style of Bluesy jazz won't be for everyone but its the sort of album you can get lost in. The story telling, the song writing and the delivery is pretty much perfect. Waits brings the dive bars and the gutters to life, even makes them appealing at times. My only gripe is the fading out of songs and the instrumental track which wasn't needed. Great stuff from a genuine artist. 4/5
I think it was a reviewer from the Rolling Stone who said that Tom Waits can find more beauty in the gutter than most people would find in the Garden of Eden. That is a perfect description of his sound. He is definitely one of the greatest lyricists of the past 50 years. There’s so many clever lines on this album alone. ' Don’t you know there ain’t no devil, there’s just god when he’s drunk' from the title track is the first one that comes to mind. ' you got to tell me brave captain, why are the wicked so strong, how do the angels get to sleep, when the devil leaves the porchlight on' from “Mr. Seigal” is just another. I always see a good deal of criticism about Tom Wait’s voice but it’s perfect for the subject matter that he writes about. Can you imagine these lyrics having the same kind of impact being sung by someone like Robert Plant or Roger Daltrey. His arrangements on here are spot on too. There’s a unique sound to them as well which fits in perfectly with the subject matter and his voice. I knew a few of his albums on this list but this one was new to me. I can totally see why it's included.
Ok this one's really hard. I enjoyed the contrast of the jazzy and sometimes even whimsical music with the gritty skid row stories in a gravelly delivery. But while sometimes detailed, other times the lyrics were lazy and redundant and when the vocals went from gravelly to gutteral it became too much. Interesting listen though and I was intrigued throughout the album to continue listening for what was next.
Tom waits for his Cornflakes, his Cheerios, his Weetos. He launches it all down his throat like your mum gobbling down uncle Mike's cock. He walks out into the on-coming traffic still in his dressing gown, his todger flapping in the cold morning mist. What's that you say, Jim? How's your nan doing? Still like a fist up her growler? Yeah, yeah mate, I'll be round later. Lend us a fiver? I'll have it back to you by next Wednesday when Rita pays me for the violin lessons she so desperately needs. She can't play a fuckin' note the poor cunt. Where's my butt plug gone? I had it an hour ago. Tom waits for Rita to come round. She loves to tickle her toes in the hours leading up to the event in the hope of getting a sausage sandwich out of Trevor. She never does. Tom cradles his young son in his arms and smokes a cigar. You like that don't you, Toby. Me and ya muvva don't like eachother anymore, but you'll keep us glued together until your infant death, which is due next week. Rita turns up, fanny hanging down round her ankles, channeling her inner Princess Anne. Tom is annoyed because he's already eaten half of his advent calendar in the time spent waiting. Rita slaps him and then beautifully plays the violin. She's been practicing. Tom realises she doesn't need him anymore and can't help but feel like he's been betrayed by his soon to be dead infant son, Toby. He snatches the fiver from Rita and stuffs it down Toby's neck. It snaps. Rita cries out in horror and runs away to Belgium's capital, Brussels. Just another day in paradise, ain't that right, Phil? Ain't that right? Toby you poor dead cunt.
His voice would be better suited to Mongolian Throat Singing.
Poetry. Some Dylan inspired lyrics, much darker and much more urban. Often visceral, often decadent working class drunk storytelling. Scorching vocals. Unique, creative metaphores. One of a kind.
Excited to give this a second listen. I really enjoyed this album. It is like you get to get a look into the mind of the gutter of society, and it doesn't feel inauthentic, or judgmental - just raw. I love the bare bones music, and there is a lot of emotion in his voice, even if some can't get past it. He swings from a song about a wasted guy who got 27 stiches in his head, potentially committing suicide, or spending all of his money on a hooker - or both - running from something - or everything - to a lullaby that might be a songs that is critiquing lullabies, by also showing someone who didn't take to heart that he should have "combed his hair" - and is now in the gutter as a hobo (?) - to a heartbreaker about a breakup or a visit from a ghost. This is only the second album of his that I have engaged with, and I get the same feeling that I did after the first one I engage with - this guy is a genius songwriter. Again, I can't wait to revisit it and dig a little deeper, or have the meaning shift based on where my head is at. Heartattack and Vine: "Don't you know there ain't no devil, there's just God when he's drunk. This stuff will probably kill you, let's do another line." "Saving all my love for you" - I imagine a drunk, fuck-up wandering around town in the hours before dawn. Love it. Downtown - 9/10 - "It's the cool of the evening the sun's goin' down, I want to hold you in my Arms I want to push you around, I want to break your bottle and spill out all Your charms, come on baby we'll set off all the burglar alarms, goin' downtown Down downtown." - Did it before Matchbox 20 "Jersey Girl" - Didn't realize he wrote it. Better, more authentic than Springsteen's version. "Til the money runs out" - hell yes. Incredible lyrics. Wasted confusion, can dig into the meaning. Did the pointed man commit suicide? Or with a prostitute? Both? "On the nickel" - a lullaby? A critique of lullabyes? By a homeless guy who maybe should have taken the little things like combing his hair more seriously? Not run away from home? Dunno - it's all of those things -and it's great. Even Thomas Jefferson is down here with him - on the nickel. Mr. Siegal - " you got to tell me brave captain why are the wicked so strong how do the angels get to sleep when the devil leaves his porch light on" Ruby's Arms - Is he dead? A soldier? Is he greeting her as the wind, and taking her scarf off the clothesline? Leaving through her blinds, past the windchimes. A soldier? Or a rambling hobo leaving someone he loves, and it breaks his heart? Awesome.
Tom Waits' voice is not for the fainthearted but, when one comes to terms with it, it can lead to some pretty drastic reconsideration. On Heartattack and Vine, there are several moments of upturned expectations when it comes to the songs that seem to not bring about greatness; yet when Tom belts with the passion and conviction, it's those two things that sends the songs into a place the listener doesn't expect them to be, like with Downtown, Jersey Girl and On the Nickel. Tom Waits is an acquired taste and may not be for everyone but, when he gets his hooks onto you, it's a enthralling ride.
Really good music from a man with a voice like gargled glass.
Sounds like Bruce Springsteen emerging from a vat of chemicals. I dig X-rated Bruce. Best enjoyed while walking through the wrong part of town with your red wings on. 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Oh, Tom Waits. Every time I've listened to one of his albums, I need to get past the shock of his voice before I can appreciate the album. That first listen is always rough. But then I listen again and his voice starts to fit his music and his lyrics. With respect to his lyrics - always pay attention to his lyrics. That's where the power is - and then his voice fits. The first time I heard "On the Nickel" I noted "pretty song, weird voice." Then I listened again paying attention to the lyrics, learning that he's talking about being homeless on Skid Row ("on the nickel"). Then you hear his voice singing, "What becomes of all the little boys, who never comb their hair? They're lined up all around the block on the nickel over there." As someone with a teenage son who often seems aimless and sometimes leaves me worried about his future, that line is devastating. And Waits' voice just FITS with these portraits of the downtrodden and the seedy underbelly of life. Other great lines: "Don't you know there ain't no devil? There's just God when he's drunk" and "I'll probably get arrested when I'm in my grave." Also, I personally appreciate the line, "Nothin' else matters in this whole wide world, when you're in love with a Jersey girl." Can confirm.🙂 Overall, my advice is get past the shock of his voice (it's better than you think), pay attention to the lyrics, and enjoy the musical ride. Oh, crap. Am I becoming a Tom Waits fan??
Never listened to Tom Waits before. He's got a very characteristic deep, dirty voice. Sounds like Captain Beefheart or white Louis Armstrong. He does actually hit some higher notes and sounds "normal". There are two types of songs on this album: the slow, emotional ones with strings, piano, etc, and the swingy jazzy greaser songs with Hammond organ, double bass and such. I dislike the slow songs because they just seem cheezy to me and his voice doesn't really fit them, but I do dig the greaser songs. They do follow a noticeable pattern of repeating every four bars but adding a new instrument/altering a melody line. The album is nice and varied, the vocals are original. It's for a specific audience.
Great music and lyrics, but I just can't get over his singing style. It's very distracting and oftentimes incoherent. I get why people like him, it's just not for me.
I grew tired of his voice more quickly that I expected. By the end the whole album felt like some awful parody. Won’t go back
After hearing the soundman of Answer me This banging on about Tom Waits for what feels like forever, this is the first time I'm listening to an album by this man consciously. A lot of lyrics about girls and prostitutes so far. And that trademark smoker's gravel. A bit too melodramatic for my tastes? His "rough and rumble" songs are better than his cheesy love ditties. 1. "Heartattack and Vine" 4:50 - Good 2. "In Shades" (Instrumental) 4:25 - Great instrumental 3. "Saving All My Love for You" 3:41 - MEH too cheesy 4. "Downtown" 4:45 - Back to some of the gravel of the first track, good. Weird golem like screech lol. 5. "Jersey Girl" 5:11 - Back to meh cheese Side Two No. Title Length 1. "'Til the Money Runs Out" 4:25 - Back to gravel, nice hammond organ bits 2. "On the Nickel" 6:19 - BACK TO CHEESE 3. "Mr. Siegal" 5:14- Ok, too many refs to whores imho 4. "Ruby's Arms" - A christmas song. No. Basically this album is a whiplash... Can only appreciate the more gravelly stuff.
Came dreading this because I hated the last Waits album I got, but believe I intended to be the most open minded about it… so it started good, the old exaggerated voice but nothing to bad, then a nice instrumental piece, I was kinda enjoying it and then it came the third track on which he sings as if he was about to puke, fucking awful and stupid, a couple of not so horrible songs and then again that ridiculous Jersey song and then again and so the damage is done. I’ll finish with the same sentence as the last time, I hope he damaged his vocal cords while recording this shit.
This is the second Tom Waits album I've had the misfortune of listening to. 0 stars if I could. 1/10.
I don't like blues. I don't like singers who sound like they are acting out a role. I really really don't like Tom Waits. 4/10
Un album tres bon qui est hors de l’ordinaire. Beaucoup de cariete. J’ai l’8mpression que ca a donne un gros coup en sortant. Du moins, ca aurait du. 5
Si fuera más joven a lo mejor hablaría de apropiación cultural y así. Pero ya estoy más allá del bien y del mal y ese tipo de discusiones me dan toda la hueva del mundo. Tom Waits suena como Howlin' Wolf acompañado de un puñado de músicos punk. Listo. Al final, lo que (me) importa es lo que haces con tus fuentes, tus ídolos y tus referencias. Y Tom Waits es una isla que alguna vez estuvo unida a tierra pero hace mucho que el estrecho fue invadido por el agua. Ya no quedan rastros. Flota y es. Es maravilloso este disco. Es oscuro, tiene groove, es romántico, en algunos momentos me recuerda a Spinetta. Me dieron ganas de ponerme un peda asquerosa escuchando esto en una noche calurosa en Chihuahua. Le pongo las 5 estrellas, le pondría más. Una constelación.
Amé la voz y la vibra alcoholizada de este álbum
Helped me relax after a crazy day at work.
August 10, 2021 (Aug 19) I have to admit the singing is not quite what I'd want it to be (mostly from an enunciation perspective, I like the tone), but I just learned Tom Waits actually wrote two of my favourite songs and this album shows why. Definitely a certain mood but I'm into it!
Pretty much what I said about Swordfishtrombones applies here: Not everyone is going to like Tom, but if you do you are probably going to love him. I don't know that it's my favorite album by him but I don't know that I do have a favorite. It's a great time. What a one of a kind talent.
Great example of his work
Ó Tom. Það tók mig langan tíma að fatta þessa snilld sem hann skapar. En gademit, hann á hjarta mitt í dag. Frábær plata.
The studio album before Tom Waits started to really go... "Tom Waits"... great blues record. If it doesn't hit, listen to another and Wait(s) for it. :)
I love the Tom Waits slow vibe on this album. The tracks are musically different and Tom just can't help be a story teller. Ace stuff!
Dirty, bluesy, soulful, emotional. Fucking awesome and super chill
It's a stunning and beautiful album. Many of the songs I know very well, but others are new to me. If Tom Waits is new to you, I am so sorry you didn't grow up with it on the record player as I was so lucky to do then and now too. His voice and his sound are embedded into the soul fabric of my music heart. I love to hear it. If you've never seen it, please watch this Tom Waits video as it will make you laugh and just shows his range, his depth, and his humor! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9NWUqR5w_A
Everything about the composition and flow just compliments the voice.
Very good, melancholic and rock and roll mixed in one album.
Oh Tom, keep up the seedy work.
Lovely album - got confused because of the Screaming Jay Hawkins and Bruce Springsteen covers (that they did of Tom Waits) so I thought I had already heard it before - but first time listen, first time love - Tom Waits always soothes my soul.
Ruby's Arms and Jersey Girl are gorgeous.
I like that it was mostly instrumental
I scored the other two Tom Waits albums that have come up already as fives, and I see no reason to break that trend. Who else can so completely transport you with a song? One minute you're wherever you are - the next minute you're bourbon-drunk, surrounded by cigarette smoke, and wearing clothes that haven't been washed in weeks. Magic. Fave track - "Downtown", although the title track is a contender too...
I love Tom Waits and I can't think why. That gruff voice should grate, but somewhere in there, there is warmth and soul
5 stars the entire way through.
I absolutely LOVE Tom Waits. While I have other records of his that I like more or listen to more often, this one is great and it's probably one of the more accessible ones. I love the gypsy blues piano and the acerbic point of view. Beyond the great sense of sound on this record with all the different piano sounds and the guitar and the odd, spacey arrangements, his lyrical sense is wonderful and that's what really will keep me coming back to Tom Waits for the rest of my days. These songs produce a smoke-filled noir film scene in my head filled with seedy characters and stories. I feel like I should be sitting alone at the end of a darkened bar stirring a glass of warm brandy with a nail and taking it all in. In another life, in another time... that could've been just where I ended up. There's a wonderful enjoyment of the dark and unhinged nature deep within us all that Tom seems to be able to put his finger on. It makes me somehow less afraid of that part of me. He finds a way to make it all sweet in the end and wraps it up the darkness with a bow quite nicely... a ratty, beaten up bow that's been stepped one out on the street, but a bow all the same.
Wow. This may be my favorite Tom Waits album yet (and that is saying something!). I loved the variety, the piano, the organ… lots of great moments. This is pretty much what I think about when I think stereotypically about Tom Waits.
There are few who could charm me this much by singing about whores and Chinamen. But Tom Waits does. I'm not sure what a fifth Tom Waits album is adding to this list. No matter. I love it still.
Hmmm...another Tom Waits album. I think this one is what I was expecting from Tom Waits. It was good.
This is my fifth Tom Waits album in this project. I think this is definitely the seediest so far. Lots of prostitutes and whorehouses. But these characters are fascinating and heart-wrenching, the music seizes your soul, and Tom Waits voice is used to absolute perfection here. This album definitely seems like the triumphal end of Waits' early period, before the more experimental sounding albums that started with Swordfishtrombones.
p467. 1980. 5 stars A voice like Marmite, you either love it or hate it. I happen to love it. Great songs, great lyrics, great production, and he keeps it short and on point. What's not to like?
This one replaced Rain Dogs as my favorite Tom Waits album!
I saw Tom Waits at Sydney’s State Theatre in May 1979, the year before this album was released. I went with my dear friend, Jackie. Waits was supported by local legend Mark Gillespie, whose gear was delayed by a vehicle breakdown, delaying Tom’s set by around 90 minutes, giving Jackie & I the opportunity to retreat to Hyde Park & get even more stoned than we already were. Subsequently, this was one of the most memorable concerts I ever attended. Waits was great, with just his piano, a double bass, drums & a horn player. It’s always been a romantic notion of mine that this album was born on that world tour.I can find no confirmation on the net, but I’m sure I heard back then that he wrote On The Nickel in Glebe. The album opens with the title track - pure 70’s Waits, when he still wrote tunes. There’s In Shades, a rare & wonderful instrumental from this period & Mr Siegal, which features terrific New Orleans piano. And each side of the record ends with great Waits ballads - Jersey Girl & Ruby’s Arms. For me, this is the last truly great album by Tom Waits. After that, experiments took over from melodies.
I never thought I knew who Tom Waits was until today. After some research, I realized I know the song "A Little Drop of Poison" from the movie Shrek 2. That song isn't on this record, but it is phenomenal! This record is gold from front to back. Tom's voice is super gravelly, and rough, but it is beautiful in its own right. The best way I can describe his voice is if Louis Armstrong and Lemmy Kilmister had a baby who got really into blues rock, that would be Tom. This album has songs that are straight blues rock, as well as some that could almost be considered lounge music, and some folky ones. This is a record that immediately had me tapping my foot and bobbing my head. Tom is a hell of a poet! Some examples of his lyrics include: From the song Mr. Siegal: How do the angels get to sleep When the devil leaves his porch light on From the song Heartattack and Vine: Don't you know there ain't no Devil, That's just God when he's drunk I never realized the song Jersey Girl was Tom's. I always assumed it was Bruce Springsteen's. Tom's original version is amazing!! Overall, a phenomenal record!! This is why I love this generator! I never would have found this gem otherwise. I will definately be putting this album into regular rotation. Favourite songs: Mr. Siegal, Heartattack and Vine, 'Til the Money Runs Out, Downtown, Jersey Girl, On the Nickel, Ruby's Arms, Saving All My Love For You, In Shades Least favourite songs: None. This album is phenomenal. Not a dud in the lot. 5/5
Scratches a really particular musical itch. Probably couldn’t listen to it all the time or even every day, but hearing it once in a while would make me happy
No one has a voice like Tom waits. Solid album not as rough around the edges as bone machine. Favorite tracks: Downtown, Til the Money runs out
Very Raspy Voice. A artist singing blues like tunes with raunchy overtones. I really like it.
Once you get past his muppet voice, the songs are pretty good
Hard work but lovely under the crust
Maybe the most "album" Tom Waits album I've listened to so far, and there's some really great tunes on here too.
Makes me want to stay up drinking
Glad to be exposed finally to one of this legend’s works! Up and down album. Very unique.
Me ha parecido buen album, con toque muy personal entre blues y rock. Como a Mari, me han gustado más las canciones lentas, de hecho Ruby's Arms es mi preferida. Es curioso como en algunas canciones me recuerda a L. Cohen y en otras parece que estoy escuchando al Boss. En algunos temas abusa demasiado del efecto "caverna" en la voz.
Primer disco completo que escucho de Tom Waits. Su voz aguardientosa siempre me ha gustado y aquí todo suena bastante bien. Como que sí me motivó a escuchar más del buen Tom. Creo que mi top fue justo "Heartattack and Vine", pero "Downtown" y ese himno desgarrador que es "Ruby's Arms". 9/10
Me ha parecido un descubrimiento de disco. Con esa voz rasgada a lo Joe Cocker, muy característica, Tom Waist nos regala un disco con temas Blues y unas baladas increíbles. Jersey Girl y Ruby's Arms se vienen conmigo para siempre por ser de esas canciones que son el hipno de un cantante.
Voz heavy, buenos ritmos en varias canciones, letras chidas, pero la extendida presencia de baladas (?) sí me llevó a adelantarle a varias o incluso darle skip. Creo que la que más me gustó fue Heartattack and Vine. Mood: el come galletas meets poetas beat y blues
I actually really enjoyed it, but it would have been way better if the singing didn't sound the way it did. 7 I guess, wish I could justify rating it higher, but I just can't see myself wanting to relisten to it
A tough one to rate. Not my favourite Tom Waits album but good enough for a low 4 I think.
I don’t get why this is considered lesser Waits, he seems so comfortable here and the atmosphere is so thick and palpable
Great album. Waits writes some beautiful song. Listening to this got me on a Waits kick for the day.
Where the late night blues of his earlier albums ends and the experimental camp of his later albums begin.
Por la portada yo esperaba una clase de sonido punk, pero fue totalmente diferente, ese sonido blues y esa voz aguardientosa sumado a los arreglos de cuerdas fue muy bueno, me ha gustado mucho este trabajo.
22nd June 2021 Listened on the living room speaker in the morning with jen while working. I haven't listened to enough Tom Waites, love his voice. Can be a bit melancholy but some amazing lyrics and soulful ballads.
I love this album, and have so much more respect and understanding for Waits as an artist than before. Incredible.
this tommy waits fella sure can write a song
Pretty good variety in sound. Vocals are ok.
i like this
This album is stellar, although it isn’t my favourite Tom Waits album it has one of his most known songs on it. I love his greasy blues rock dive bar songs on this album. It’s a nice pace between those and the softer tunes Highlights: heartattack and vine, jersey girl, mr.Siegal
Tom Waits doing what he does best; crooning about love and the dirty parts of culture, letting his voice carry the songs with minimalistic music at times. I’ve always loved that he will craft a song and bring uncommon instruments to the forefront while pushing traditional instruments to the back. Lots of organ on this one. Will always have a huge soft spot for Jersey Girl, but everything else on this album is so solid. Heartattack and Vine and Downtown stand out for me.
I like the minimal arrangements, funereal cadences, with a muted Hammond organ. A poetric barbarian. (7/10) Favourite Tracks: Jersey Girl, Ruby's Arms
Solid as hell, dare I go later?? Mule variations?
Not my fav is Wait’s work. Only the title track, Downtown, and Jersey Girl interest me, the rest feel like worse versions of other songs. It’s still all great but is also a bit short.
This is a good album, and I frequently come back to many of these songs, especially "Heartattack and Vine" "Downtown" "Mr Siegal" and "Ruby's Arms." As an album it's a little too divided between rippers and sweetness, and perhaps not his peak in terms of songwriting. "Jersey Girl" and "On the Nickel" are wonderful songs too but I don't crave listening to them like I do some of the other songs on this album, or some of the other albums in his discography.
By now it’s obvious this endeavour has listed pretty much anything Tom Waits had ever published. However, this one is a actually good!
this was a great one. i knew his music a bit from back in the day (i used to close every edition of my radio show with I Don't Want To Grow Up - fun!), but this was an album i'd completely missed until today. jersey girl was an obvious standout, but i also really liked a few of the other less-played tracks. it's nice having an album that has a cohesive sound, but that doesn't all sound like the same song 14 times in a row. plus, you know, that raw, desperate sound he's got - and which, as near as i can make out, has never changed. he's somehow never found his salvation over all these years, but he's also never slipped from the edge.
Waits' performative lyrics are classy, but the performance isn't always perceived. But compared to Bone Machine, it is much more listenable. Also the bass line is perfect:)
Good mix of up-tempo and slow. Especially liked the slow songs.
'Rubys Arms' is more beautiful and heartbreaking than all of Adele's sad songs put together. I'm not a fan of his voice, but it didn't stop me from enjoying this album.
Very entertaining. Such a unique sound. It is hard to take the album seriously, yet I found it endearing.
I like boozy crooner TW more than weird jazzy TW, but this is just in the right spot before it gets TOO weird