Bone Machine is the eleventh studio album by American singer and musician Tom Waits, released by Island Records on September 8, 1992. It won a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album and features guest appearances by David Hidalgo, Les Claypool, Brain, and Keith Richards. The album marked Waits' return to studio albums, coming five years after his previous effort Franks Wild Years (1987). Recorded in a room in the cellar area of Prairie Sun Recording studios, described by Waits as "just a cement floor and a hot water heater", the album is often noted for its rough, stripped-down, percussion-heavy style, as well as its dark lyrical themes revolving around death and chaos. The album cover—a blurry, black-and-white, close-up image of Waits apparently screaming while wearing a horned skullcap and protective goggles—was taken by filmmaker Jesse Dylan, son of Bob Dylan.Bone Machine was included on several "Best Albums of the 1990s" lists, being ranked at No. 49 by Pitchfork and No. 53 by Rolling Stone. The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.Wikipedia
my dude needs a throat lozenge and some bed rest.
This is my 3rd Tom waits album on this list and I have accepted by now that I will never understand it. I like a lot of music that can be dissonant, weird, borderline unprofessional, out of tune, not on beat, etc. But Tom Waits is always part mediocre folk and part garbage noises with this weird muppet sounding dude trying to sing over it, but failing because he misread the label and started swallowing chewing tobacco I can't
Tom Waits is nothing if not authentic, a veritable machine of authenticity right down to the bone. He lives, bleeds, drinks, sings, howls… and one day will die… authentically. Not necessarily pretty or polite. But bona fide. And I’ll take a real ‘sinner’ any day over an artificial ‘saint.’ Billy Joel was wrong, incidentally, about the sinners having much more fun. It’s not that they don’t sometimes experience pleasurable things (one of the reasons people self-medicate with alcohol and drugs is partly due to how good it feels, at least until it don’t no more), but the sinners that populate 'Bone Machine' (and every other Waits’ album I can think of) are more often than not wounded and suffering from life situations. Jesus tells my favorite story from his collection about two brothers, the younger of which could easily be counted among the many outcast, unclean characters Waits writes about. The older is morally perfect; except for his feeling of entitlement, as if he has earned and deserves his father’s blessing. The younger screws it all up, suffers the consequences of his actions, then becomes very self-aware and goes back home seeking forgiveness, of which his father, thankfully, is only too happy and eager to give. One of the many take-a-ways in this story is that those who pursue meritocracy in their relationship with the Creator and the Creator’s creation, sadly, may never know the joy of grace. Waits’ characters may be dissolute, but they are also in a perfect position to be the joyful, grateful recipients of grace. Would you rather be inside the house in Jesus’ story, a symbol of heaven, with all the other happy partying forgiven sinners, or outside by your own refusal because you feel as if you've earned an invitation while the rest of the losers have not? Furthermore, if you refuse to participate in heaven, standing outside, then where exactly do you find yourself? Another way to say this is to ask the question: are you giving more power to the sin that closes doors or the Father’s grace which opens them? Your free choice. I only bring the Bible into this because Waits does too. Like Dylan, his songs are infused with scripture. Real scripture, real people, real God, real songs. Very different from the Amy Grant ‘Jesus is my boyfriend’ kind of religious songs (no disrespect intended to Grant, nor am I suggesting that she’s not authentic, too.) It’s just that I much more identify with Waits’ creations- drunks and whores and people contemplating homicide or suicide. Demons, too, perhaps the devil himself. (Good Lord, didn’t the hair on my arms stand straight up when Waits sings in ‘Black Wings’ that ‘… he has risen,’ but rather than the crucified One it’s the one doing the crucifying.) Tom concludes that chilling number with, ‘One look in his eye, everyone denies ever having met him,’ and then whispers that several times to fade out. Brr… Or, the hellish ‘In the Colosseum,’ where ‘we call ‘em as we see ‘em,’ or the ‘Murder in the Red Barn,’ that goes unprosecuted, or worse, unknown at all, or the deceptively playful ‘I Don’t Wanna Grow Up,’ also covered by the playful Ramones, except when Waits sings it is loses any seeming playful innocence of youth and sounds as if the youth is a victim of abuse. I happen to find the crazy, clunky music and Waits’ gravely, booze and cigarette vocals rather enjoyable; but, then I also like that kind of stuff. I’m sure a lot more probably will argue that he makes Joe Cocker, by comparison, sound like Tony Bennett, but that’s ok. Music is pretty subjective to begin with, to a certain extent. You like what you like. I like anchovies and green olives on my pizza, so there. Waits can play a gorgeously melancholy piano, keys soaked in booze, and then turn around and strum a filthy, dirty guitar that probably sends forth a plume of dust when it’s set to rest in its case. Wonderful pedal steel from David Williams to accompany those piano songs. And wherever Keith Richards pops in (on the final song, written by Waits for him) can Waddy Wachtel be far behind? Les Claypool and Brain, from Primus, ‘nuff said. David Hildalgo from Los Lobos coaxes a coyote out of the violin on ‘Whistle Down the Wind.’ But the predominate sounds on this intrepid LP are all the percussion, many of which Waits plays, and I’m not talking about just drums, but an interesting variety of other things, including one Waits invented himself that he names the ‘conundrum,’ a metal instrument ‘with a lot of things hanging off it that I’ve found- metal objects- and I like playing it with a hammer.’ That said, the real draw on 'Bone Machine' is not the music, but the lyrics. And I’m not about to begin quoting them all. I simply can’t. There’s too much. He creates little worlds within each and every song, mini-novels. I know of almost no other artist who does this as/so well, save Bob Dylan. It’s an outstanding gift- God blessed, not earned- despite the pitiable inability, perhaps unwillingness, of the so-called morally upr(t)ight to look beyond his red-rimmed eyes and down into the man’s heart. By the by, that story I referenced before, from Jesus’ discography, was told as a direct cause of the religious professionals in his day grumbling about his keeping company with the kinds of folks Waits witnesses in his songs. Waits’ criminals and outcasts are treated by Jesus as friends. The religious professionals have rendered themselves criminals and outcasts to God, and not by God’s choice, but by their choice. While googling the lyrics to assist with my listening to 'Bone Machine' I ran across this little anecdote from a fan: ‘I saw this homeless guy singing a couple of summers ago. I told him he sounded just like Tom Waits. He said, ‘That’s because I am!’ I couldn’t argue with him about that.’ You can argue with me about the merits of this LP, but not it’s grace. You just can’t. You really can’t. Please don’t even try, for Jesus’ sake.
When he's good he's great but when he is bad he is fucking terrible. This album has a lot more good than bad though.
Third Waits album of this gig, taking my total up to five. Might not be my favourite overall but on first blush contains his most eviscerating vocals. Sounds like he's singing half these songs after being shanked in the guts, his voice forcing its way through the blood rising in his throat. Pretty gruesome, and perfect for his grotesques, as is the lost and found instrumentation. He probably did stuff just as weird before this, but true to his reputation (with me) of getting better in his mid to late career, he's found a way to assemble his spare parts into a functioning vehicle rather than a rattling heap. Hence Bone Machine, not Heap of Bones.
This is probably my favorite Tom Waits album. I don't know if I heard this or "The Black Rider" first, but I remember listening to WAIF, a sort of public access radio station at the lowest end of the FM dial, when I was about 13 or 14 years old, and recording onto cassette anything that caught my ear in the night. Tom Waits certainly did. I then tried to get my hands on an album of his and went out and got a copy of "Nighthawks At The Diner." I was sort of confused by it though. It sounded like two completely different artists. I appreciated both modes, but definitely preferred his more experimental material. Nothing sounds quite like his unique cocktail of influences once he hit his creative breakthrough in the 80s with "Swordfishtrombones." His music ages well too because he largely eschewed the recording trends of the time, and pursued something much more timeless. He never quite fit in anyways, so when he really started embracing his inner madman, he stuck out so much it was sort of astonishing. One of the most amazing mid-career reinventions since Dylan went electric. Waits is certainly a polarizing musical figure, and I understand why his sound doesn't sit well with many, if not most, but I've had nothing but admiration for him ever since he had me spellbound over the radio that night all those years ago. Above all I'm drawn to his focus on texture and atmosphere. Whether you enjoy it or not, he has one of the most instantly recognizable sounds in music. A genre of his own. It must have been a difficult road being such an iconoclast, bucking trends, and simply being himself in the face of showbiz, but I'm glad he took the journey.
There has never been a more apt album title. The music is indeed stripped down to its bones. Tom sings his existential angst over percussion that sounds like it's just Tom Waits banging on shit with whatever he can find (because it is). It's all so very Tom Waits, and so very 90s (check out that album cover, complete with font that looks like a cross between the espn2 logo and anything produced by Tim Burton), and it works. Best track: That Feel
Like nothing I've heard before (only Electro-Shock Blues by Eels comes close, which I'd guess this influenced). A dark and demonic quality created by it being rhythm and percussion led, which is evocative of ungulate creatures. The latter parts of the album has more instrumentation with actual notes, which seems to imply a journey - I'm imagining someone arriving in hell and growing to accept their lot over time. I like this a lot. Dark but not depressing. Unique, evocative, interesting. 4.5/5
I remember seeing the album cover back in the 90's (definitely a memorable cover) but I never listened to this. Some wild stuff in here, lots of weird noises and fun (sometimes funny, though I can't tell if that's on purpose) singing and playing, and a lot of interesting things going on. Each track seems to stand on its own stylistically. I have heard other Tom Waits music (I love the album "Closing Time") and whenever I've seen him in a movie, if a scene includes him I always know it's going to be good. I don't know much about him, and I have a feeling I should. Glad I heard this.
I don't wanna grow up
The sounds of a nightmare. The songs here have been stripped down to their bare bones leaving only gristle left. You'll either love or hate this. I personally love it. Best Tracks: Goin' Out West; Murder in the Red Barn; I Don't Want to Grow Up
Waits starts off with the screeching and the junkyard percussion and you can’t imagine a whole album of this- but then he sings a love song of such exquisite beauty and tenderness it knocks your socks off. Nobody makes music like Tom Waits. A unique artist.
Tom Waits' Bone Machine is something I would never consider putting on. Every track is too bleak, morbid, and Tom's grating voice makes for a very annoying listening experience. 1/5.
First album that I'm not looking forward to hearing. I'll give it a crack. Despite knowing precisely zero about this album or Tom Waits in general, it turns out that my apprehension was entirely justified. This is a falsetto cacophony of meritless free form jazz leading to bad blues. I'm pretty sure that for "Who are you this time" he was singing with his eyes closed because the music is just so damn moving. Can this pish end soon please?
Mad as a box of frogs, and about as much fun
Crazy album in all the right ways
This album came as a surprise. I knew what I was getting into with Tom Waits, but it might’ve just came at the right time
Delightfully weird and twisted
A pedigree of Wait's sound!
Fantastic. Excellent mix of Tom's classic 70s sound and his more experimental stuff
Questo album mi ha totalmente spiazzato. Conoscevo Tom Waits come attore, sapevo che faceva pure il musicista e godeva di ottima fama e forse proprio per questo ho deciso di non ascoltarlo. L'avevo liquidato come l'ennesimo attore musicista. Gravissimo errore! Questo disco è fantastico, non c'ho altri aggettivi. Sicuramente fa capire bene la differenza tra realmente impegnativo e palloso. E' un disco impegnativo sì, ma ad ogni pezzo, se hai un minimo di aspirazioni artistiche, non puoi non rimanere a bocca aperta davanti al livello di libertà espressiva di Tom Waits. Ogni pezzo non mi arriva come una canzone ma come una sorta di diorama che descrive delle scene, scene incredibilmente precise e da cui è difficile non essere catturati nella loro stranezza romantica. Veramente questo album per me sta su un altro livello di genio artistico e penso che avrò bisogno di molti più ascolti di due per comprenderlo bene. Per me Tom Waits è veramente quello che Leonard Cohen vorrebbe farci credere di essere. Grandissima scoperta!
Hullu viikko! Ihan parhaita levyjä ja yks hirvee sonta. Mitäs tästä nyt sanois. Tää on mun lemppari Tom Waitsin tuotannosta. Yksi kaikkien aikojen lempi levyistä! Hullunkurinen, pelottava ja järjettömän väkevä. Minimalistisuudessaan jotenkin todella raaka ja anteeksiantamaton. Tää voitti kai Grammyn vaihtoehtomusa-genressä julkaisuvuonnaan. Ei toki turhaan. Todella hienosti nyrjähtänyt levy! Sillai just oikeella tavalla pois paikaltaan oleva nivel tjs. 5/5
Love Tom waits, not my favorite album but definitely a solid album
5.0 - Another masterpiece, this time drawing cues from the American songbook. There are blues dirges like “Jesus Gonna Be Here” and vaudeville-style ballads like “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up.” Themes of sin, life, death and redemption. This one demands repeated listens and I’ll be happy to oblige.
Waits has carved out quite the niche, playing rackety, gothic shaggy dog tales from the demimonde on a bunch of instruments that feel like they're on the verge of falling apart. And I love it!
This is another 5 star-er for me. I like the world Tom Waits comes up with. His albums are one of a kind. And this one is a favorite. Goin' Out West is an all-time great song.
This is the third appearance so far by Tom Waits in this project (we're about 25% through). This isn't an album I've listened to before and the first time through, I wondered why this one? He's got so many albums, why choose this one over any others? And what's it adding that the other included albums haven't already given us? It wasn't clear to me at first what made this one different. After two more times through the record, the answers to those questions didn't matter. There's room in my heart for as much Tom Waits as you want to give me.
The sound of the tracks on this album are what first come to mind when someone mentions Tom Waits. I enjoyed listening to the album on my walk today and I am happy that I am getting more exposure to Tom Waits through this project.
tom waits took me by SURPRISE. i have disliked other experimental albums within this list, but i am HERE FOR MISTER WAITS!!!! i admittedly haven't heard anything else by tom waits before and i'm looking forward to hearing more of him on this list. there is something about his raspy, gravely voice. he owns it and leans into it! his songs are dark with deep lyrics. he didn't restrict himself at all. i think everyone who listened to this album, whether they liked or disliked it, can agree that waits let himself create what he wanted to create. i don't know why this is listed as "experimental rock," when it touches jazz, country, rock, spoken word, and other genres i didn't catch. the album has a cohesiveness somehow. i realize this album is weird--like really weird, but i couldn't stop myself from enjoying this.
I dont have a personal ranking of my favorite Tom Waits albums on hand. If I actually had to make one this album wouldn't be in the top half for sure. If this made it over Blue Valentine or Mule Variations its a damn shame in my opinion. Now, enough negativity. This is still Tom friggin' Waits. A true G.O.A.T in my book. So even when he isn't putting out his best work, it's still damn good.
This album came out when I was in college. It's the first Tom Waits album I had heard all the way through, and the first one I ever bought. Looking back, this must have been fairly grim and weird listening for college-age me. But I appreciated the darkness and the depth of it. This was grittier and grungier than anything Seattle had to offer in 1992, without Waits feeling a need to be loud about it. Waits has always done a great job of balancing between his noisier and quieter impulses, and this album is no different. As I said before, grim. There's a heaviness and airlessness to these songs that stands out starkly in contrast to anything else in music. But it's like peeking at a wound that hasn't healed. Waits paints a landscape that's hard to look away from. These songs are sometimes dirgeful and vulnerable, sometimes disturbing or just plain creepy. But they're never boring. Waits has other albums I listen to more often, but I enjoyed coming back to this one today. Fave Songs (All songs, from most to least favorite): A Little Rain, Who Are You, Goin' Out West, I Don't Wanna Grow Up, That Feel, Earth Died Screaming, All Stripped Down, Jesus Gonna Be Here, In the Colosseum, Whistle Down the Wind, Murder in the Red Barn, Black Wings, Such a Scream, Dirt in the Ground, Let Me Get Up on It, The Ocean Doesn't Want Me
This was unhinged and I loved it
Any good faith review of this album needs to buy into the Tom Waits grovelly-voiced musical ecosystem. With that predicate, this album rocks. It’s a great mix of hopelessness, wit, vulnerability, and inscrutability. Overall very Tom Waits. Nice production too, the sandpapery mostly acoustic (and sometimes non-instrumental) sounds really add to the tangible roughness of Tom’s voice.
Love Waits voice... Take a bit of listening to understand him and then the words start popping out. Some of my favorites were Earth Died Screaming, All Stripped Down, Who Are You This Time, Murder in the Red Barn, and of course, I Don't Wanna Grow Up
Weird Waits is best Waits. This album directly prefigures "The Mule Variations", which has been a long time fave, so I definitely plan to come back to it more. There's even a mention of the Eyeball Kid! 👁️ Fave track - "The Ocean Doesn't Want Me" is clearly a prototype of "What's He Building In There", so I love it for that reason. "Earth Died Screaming" and "I Don't Wanna Grow Up" were also standouts...
This is the Tom Waits I know and love. I think on on the bandwagon with loving Goin' Out West and I Don't Wanna Grow Up is classic.
I heard Nighthawks a week or so ago and found it boring. So I approached this one ready to hand out 1 or 2 stars. After the first song I was thinking 3, then as I immersed myself in this odd sonic experience, I was thinking 4. By the time I'd run through Murder in the Barn, Black Wings, Whistle Down the Wind and I Don't Want to Grow Up I had to go 5. He takes you on a journey through weird, wonderful, scary, and hilarious. Each song uses a different voice. Each voice should grate on the ear but he's like Dylan. His voice fits the songs. He even sounds like Dylan at one stage. Bloody brilliant!
One of Tom Waits' best albums, and that is saying something! From the opening of "The Earth Dies Screaming" you know you're in the presence of greatness.
I live that Tom Waits gets stranger as he gets older. Is usually the other way around. Although this album is - ouch - 30 years old now. And thanks must go to Kathleen Brennan for introducing Tom to Captain Beefheart, as it really shows here. A classic set of songs, that are just weird enough. Or is it just normal enough? There's not a duff track on here, and it all works together as an album which ebbs and flows beautifully, which isn't always the case. Goin' Out West and Grow Up make me chuckle every time. And being able to call in Keef for your closer can't be bad.
Definitely an acquired taste, but I listened twice and was pretty into it.
The first words to pop into my head were "voodoo blues". A bunch of my favorite artists love Waits, so naturally I enjoyed this. Waits sounds like a man possessed or heavily intoxicated. Very apocalyptic. Favorite tracks: "Jesus Gonna Be Here", "Goin' Out West", "Murder In the Red Barn"
It did have something creative and it could be something that I would explore more in the future. But most of this album is not for me.
Bringing back the memories on this one
- Was surprised by this album, I know Tom Waits' voice can be pretty hit or miss for me, but largely connected with me all album. I liked the instrumentation all over, from the weird percussion to the sax parts - I didn't know that "I Don't Want To Grow Up" was a Tom Waits song. I think I had only heard the version by the Ramones. - This came out the same year that Tom Waits was Renfield in "Bram Stoker's Dracula", hard not to imagine him just randomly eating flies during the recording of this album
Mare like 3.5 but extra points for trying something different.
Tre bon album, je suis tomber sur un autre album de tom waits apres et je vois qu’il y en d’autres plus mons tyle. Quand meme ca vaut la peine. 4*
Bastante raro. Pero creo que le voy a dar un 4.
demented, dark, growly and percussive. Sounds like it was recorded in a nuclear bunker 3 days after the last of the rations ran out. Not an easy listen by any stretch.
Tom Waits is quirky, weird, and does not follow any rules. His music always feels good.
This album is tight!
This album sounds like a demon escaped from Hell and started a band with reanimated skeletons.
Powerful songs with beautifully melancholic moments, as is the way of TW's music
Una vibra muy fuerte de pantano encantado donde conviven la población whitetrash con las regiones gringas del vudú. Chido, sus toques darks me gustan. Favs: Such a scream, in the coliseum, going out west. Mood: The bible gone wrong
Liebe Tom Waits, aber das ist schon sehr experimentell… deshalb keine 5
Possessed, he vomits up the lyrics as an exorcism is banged out in the background.
Grew on me. At first it sounds like a rewrite of Rain Dogs by an old man past his peak (which to an extent is undeniably so) but there are some real gems: who are you is great. Jesus gonna be here (Blind boys of Alabama version) has been a favourite of mine for years without me knowing it was his song.. though their version is definitely better.
A voice to crush rocks, but a poetic soul to reflect our humanity.
I bought this when it came out in 1992 - a very strange but compelling album which rewards multiple plays.
Not my favourite Waites album, but one I enjoyed nonetheless.
Definitivamente no es el tipo de música que escucho ni que suele gustarme, pero "Such a Scream", "All Stripped Down" e " In The Colosseum" me parecieron muy buenas (!). "Goin' Out West" mi súper favorita, y mención de honor a "I Don't Wanna Grow Up", que va directo a mi playlist autobio!! "The Ocean Doesn't Want Me" es bastante rarita; siento que se parece a "Untitled" de Mylène Farmer (quizá se haya basado en esa canción, quién sabe...). También siento que hay momentos en que puedo reconocer algo de influencia de Johnny Lee Hooker en la música del álbum (?), especialmente en "Jesus Gonna Be Here". Muuuy buen álbum, le doy un 8.5/10, sólo porque no es mi estilo.
not as good as some of the stuff from the 70s and 80s but still ... Tom Waits
Every Tom Waits song reminds me of the Wire, but I dig his voice and moody tunes.
surprisingly good album, from the title and cover I was expecting something more grungy like Dust by Screaming Trees but I actually really liked this nice acoustic, bluesy kind of album 8/10
Not bad, Never knew he was so unique. Serious gravel and alot of 'Experience' in both that voice and those lyrics.
Really strong songs, and I like industrial junk Tom so much better than crooner tom.
I feel like I shouldn't like Tom Waits as much as I do. Dude's weird. But I dig it. This is an all-around very cool album. Lots of dark references to death in the middle of some really catchy but odd music. Favorite tracks: Earth Died Screaming, Dirt in the Ground, Such a Scream, All Stripped Down, Who Are You, Going West, I Don't Wanna Grow Up (I also like the well known cover by the Ramones - also check out the cover by Priscilla Ahn - thanks YouTube for that suggestion!). Too weird to call a 5, but definitely a solid 4.
Another great Waits album. This one seems a lot more percussive than some of the previous ones on the list. It gives it a raw mechanical sound and that mixes well with his voice. We still get those Waits ballads like “A little Rain” and “Who Are you” in between them. This gives the album a strange light/heavy vibe. “Goin’ Out West” is just insane and probably my favorite track on here. This album doesn’t hit me a strongly as Rain Dogs or Swordfish Trombones but it’s still a solid album.
The first time I heard I don't Wanna Grow up, loved that track then I saw the video and was sold. Tom Waits may not have that conventional voice but he is the guy who makes every weird note just a little more awesome, every word, and oddity is his own thing. I don't have anyone to really compare him to...but awesome album.
My favourite Waits album, bar none!
I love Tom Waits and this is a great album. This one is delightfully grim. I would also say that I know there are at least three other albums of his that I prefer, that this one felt a little long, and that I had more trouble finding a song I really connected to. But those are nitpicks.
Digerible, y muy bueno hablando en escalas de Tom Waits
Szpile w glowie czesc pierwsza
I find Tom Waits a tough listen, always have. So it was a nice surprise that one of his stranger albums is his most appealing.
Bastante raro. Pero creo que le voy a dar un 4.
Buen disco de Tom Waits. Un 4.
Torn between 3 and 4, as there are some shit songs in there, but the good ones are so effing good...
This guy is equally as cool as his music
Being more experienced with his 80s-sound, Waits turns up the country influence, making the music at turns more touching or more demented
Pas mon préféré de Tom Waits mais tout de même impressionnant Prefs: Earth Died Screaming, Dirtin' the Ground, Such a Scream, Who Are You, In the Colosseum, Goin' Out West, Murder in the Red Barn, Black Wings, Whistle Down the Wind, I Don't Wanna Grow Up, That Feel Moins pref: All Stripped Down
The first Tom Waits album on this run. I had previously heard stuff like Blue Valentine but wasn’t too keen on it. Can’t say the same about this one though. It’s brilliant. Much has been said about the stripped back sound on this record but I think this is where Waits’ voice finds its natural backdrop. Really enjoyed this record and looking forward to giving a second chance to some other bits in his catalogue.
I strongly dislike some of Waits' music, but this is actually really good! It has a Southern Gothic kind of energy.
Wowwy, this is actually dope. That opening is what I imagine a Bone Machine would sound like. Didn’t listen to the whole thing, but the quality of what I did listen too is much higher then a lot of the stuff I’ve listened to so far through this website. I also love this cover art. Shoutout Dan Rowan
Bem melhor que o anterior dele escutado. Mais rock.
I had barely listened to this Waits album, I think the first time I was like "this is a bit much for me at the time" and I moved onto The Black Rider. This is a great reason to give it a deliberate re-listen. This is one is dark, even for Waits. Cinematic and theatrical as all hell. It's like Waits got too drunk and was locked in a basement, then was informed everyone he loved has gone away and now he has to make an album. Sound wise, this is percussion-driven with everything falling around that. It suits the album well. There may be a few tracks that don't do a ton for me, but overall it's very strong. Fav Tracks: Goin' Out West, Dirt in the Ground, The Earth Died Screaming
The very thing that drew me to Tom Waits in the first place is what makes some of his albums suffer a little bit - the fact that each song is so different, he's doing so many experiments and dabbling in so many genres. I don't come back to this one as much as some of the others because it's not as cohesive, and it drags, especially in the middle. Despite that, some of my favorites of his are on this album. It would actually be much faster for me to list the songs that aren't my favorites, but I won't do that. If I had to narrow to my top 3 favorites, I would say "Dirt In The Ground," "Jesus Gonna Be Here" and of course "I Don't Wanna Grow Up." And "The Earth Died Screaming" "Such a Scream" "All Stripped Down" "In The Colosseum" "Goin Out West" "Murder in the Red Barn" and "That Feel." There, I've named almost every song on the album.
Great curation of tones and moods. Some of the songs aren't great in isolation, but they don't have to be - it's about the atmosphere which comes through in spades
"Bone Machine" is the 11th studio album by Tom Waits and was his first one in five years after "Franks Wild Years." It was noted as being rough, stripped down and percussion heavy with dark themes of death and chaos. I'll say; at times these songs could very creepy, could be beautiful and also sounded like listening to a 1920's/1930's radio show. It was recorded in a cellar in California which had very good echo. Guest appearances on the album included Les Claypool (Primus), David Hidalgo (Los Lobos) , Brain (drummer) and Keith Richard's. It was produced by Waits and his wife Kathleen Brennan (who co-wrote some of the songs) and also won a Grammy for Best Alternative Album. Multiple sticks, weird percussion and Les Claypool start the album with the very creepy "Earth Died Screaming." Waits begins the song mumbling and is screaming by the end. Oh, and it's about the apocalypse. "Who Are You This Time" is a more straight-forward rock song. Hey, Tom Waits can sing. One of the "beautiful" songs on the album. Great lyrics...singing about an ex-girlfriend who was promiscuous. "They're lining up to mad-dog your tilt-a-whirl." Waits goes gospel on "Jesus Gonna Be Here." A nice echo production and sounded like a very barebones New Orleans jazz song. Impending death. "A Little Rain" is a heartfelt and melancholy song with Waits' raspy voice. Piano and steel guitar. A father is recalling his daughter's death. "Goin' West" sounds like mid-80's alternative with the creepy guitar. Pounding drum beat. A raw sound. Waits is particularly indecipherable as he makes fun of Hollywood pretty boys. Tom has hair on his chest and he looks good. Lol. Los Lobos' David Hidalgo plays accordion and violin on "Whistle Down the Wind." Another Waits' raspy delivery. He's looking back at his life before being stuck in the dust. And then the album finishes off with "That Feel." Keith Richard's contributes to the vocals and with Waits and him together sounding like two old drunks singing at a bar. Excellent. About an old girlfriend? About drugs? He can't really change who he is. This album was a fun experience. It might be grating to some but never a dull moment. Original. Experimental. I don't know if I'd start with this album if you haven't heard him before but if you like him, I'm sure probably like this.
Upbeat it is not, but then it is Tom Waits so that is not news to anyone. It was an interesting experience but required persistence as his style really does take some getting used to before it becomes appreciated. I have not, however, been converted. I am not going to seek out more of his so called music to listen to, nor am I going to listen to this again.
Not Tom Waits best in my opinion but it’s a gorgeous album nonetheless. Peculiar in sound and production and only a few standout songs - but it’s more of a complete record kind of thing - it makes sense as a whole.
this was…significantly better than i expected. i havent enjoyed tom waits before, but i really liked this.
Baffling, beautiful, haunting, weird
Sometimes you don’t know why an album has the title it has, but that’s not the case here. Tom made a machine out of bones. A bone machine. And then he plays it for you and you suffer eternal damnation.
Great passion and incredible interpretations by one of the greatest singer-songwriters in the history of music.
Fijn om weer eens te horen