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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Bone Machine

Tom Waits

1992

Buy At Rough Trade
Bone Machine
Album Summary

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

Rating

2.85

Votes

10371
Genres
Rock
Singer Songwriter

Reviews

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View Author
Sun Apr 09 2023
2

To the esteemed Princeton University Admissions Committee, Thank you, in advance, for taking the time to review my admissions essay. Becoming a student at Princeton would fulfill a life long dream and I am honored to be able to apply. It’s certainly uncommon for someone of my age, with an established career, to be applying for collage into their 40’s, but I believe I am uniquely qualified to attend your university and after regaling you with this true story, I think you’ll agree: Several years ago, while shopping for records at the nearby Princeton Record Exchange, I was asked by a student from your University (easily identifiable because of his Princeton University hooded sweatshirt, backwards ball cap and worn out Sperry’s), if I knew “where they keep the Tom Waits records.” “I checked the ‘T’ section….nothing there,” he added. “Try the ‘W’ section,” I suggested to him. “They sort artists by last name.” “Oh, wow”, he sighed, with a sense of overwhelmed exasperation. “I wouldn’t have thought of that”, he said, making his way to the W section, where a likely treasure trove of Tom Waits on wax awaited him. As he searched through the W section and I continued my crate digging, a sense of pride washed over me: “Holy fuck,” I thought. “I could have got into Princeton.” Hence, my reasoning for writing this essay. As I wrote earlier, I think my qualification for admittance into your fine school speaks for itself. I have a solid grasp on alphabetical sorting and categorization and a keen ability to help others solve their problems in a quick and efficient manner. Plus, I’m not half-bad at math. I look forward to my inevitable acceptance to your school and hope to provide forward thinking leadership amongst the students. Thank you once again for taking the time to review my application for admission. Go Tigers!

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Fri Feb 05 2021
2

my dude needs a throat lozenge and some bed rest.

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Mon Mar 28 2022
5

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.

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Thu Aug 12 2021
1

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

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Wed Nov 24 2021
4

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.

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Sun Nov 06 2022
5

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.

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Fri Jul 02 2021
4

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

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Wed Aug 11 2021
3

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.

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Sun Feb 14 2021
4

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

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Mon Aug 09 2021
4

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.

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Sun Oct 17 2021
4

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.

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Sun Jul 10 2022
4

Torn between 3 and 4, as there are some shit songs in there, but the good ones are so effing good...

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Wed Jan 17 2024
1

This album feels like a Key and Peele sketch. Tom Waits (played by Peele) walks into the recording studio and talks to the recording manager (played by Key) Manager: Come on it. Were glad to have you here. The band is all warmed up and were ready to go. Tom Waits (speaking in a normal voice): Sounds great. Let's get started. Tom begins singing like he's being tortured during the Spanish Inquisition and is quickly interrupted by the manager. Manager: Ok..... that was great, but why don't we try it again with your normal voice. Tom (normal voice): Not a problem. I love the feedback. Lets try again. Tom sings in a high falsetto this time. Manager: Stop! Let's try that again. Remember, we're paying the piano and saxophone player by the hour here. Tom (normal voice): I completely understand. Tom turns around and fires half the band leaving only the drums. Manager sighs and looks down. Tom begins singing like McGruff the Crime Dog on crack. Manager: Fuck it. We recorded the band warming up earlier. We can just fill in the rest of the album with that and some background chatter.

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Thu Apr 27 2023
5

I don't listen to this one as often as other Waits albums, parts of it are a challenging listen for sure and it requires your full attention. That being said, the percussive nature of the more challenging tracks pull me in, Goin' Out West is a monster groove. And songs like Who Are You and Jesus Gonna Be Here keep me coming back. 5/5

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Mon Mar 04 2024
5

Had this album on tape when it got released before buying a cd copy at some point. One of these albums that is hard to listen to in heavy rotation, but obviously very high quality and very listenable. Not the same impact as Franks Wild Years but clearly 5*.

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Thu Mar 07 2024
5

5/5. Wild how this is not only a super uncomfortable record but so strangely beautiful at the same time. Each song is so minimal in instrumentation but feels so different, less is more and Tom knows how to use each instrument to its fullest potential. I feel passion and sincerity in some songs, and then the next I am listening to a serial killer, also sincere unfortunately. Awesome album, just really unique and well-written.

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Thu Sep 23 2021
4

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

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Thu Mar 07 2024
4

No, Tom's voice isn't pretty, but it works okay, and he's a good singer. If his voice was what people considered traditionally pretty, some (most? all?) of these songs wouldn't work as well. I feel like this is one of many 3.5 star albums, but Tom is a 4 star artist, and this is one of his best albums, so I'll round up.

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Fri Mar 08 2024
4

Did not know tis one that well. but thoroughly enjoyed it, Black as the night,, music and lyrics. My favourite song is Black Wings". Give me lyrics like "I can't stay here and I'm scared to leave." and I'm happy. 4 stars only because compared to albums I know better, Swordfishtrombone, Raindogs and Franks Wild Years music was bit less varied.

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Wed Jan 17 2024
2

I imagine if Roz from Monsters Inc. was the lead singer of a band this is what their music would sound like. Such a Scream and Goin’ Out West are jams. The Ocean Doesn’t Want Me is creepy. I wouldn’t mind having a couple songs from this album come up on a shuffle of my entire library but I won’t be seeking out this album on its own. That being said, it still wasn’t a struggle to get through it.

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Sun Jun 13 2021
1

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.

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Fri Nov 19 2021
1

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?

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Fri Apr 15 2022
1

Mad as a box of frogs, and about as much fun

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Thu Mar 16 2023
1

It is a weird album and I did not care for it. I don't know this album is on the list or why people like Tom Waits. The album is better than a one but not really a two. A couple of songs were alright but Waits cannot sing. I am going to round down to a one but it is better than some of the other ones.

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Sun Jan 21 2024
1

Ah man, yet another entry in the weird, wild catalog of Tom Waits. Why does this guy get this much shine? Obviously he's unique, but he's the kind of unique you understand in one album, not five. Again, just...decidedly not for me. Waits is really quirky, and while I respect that, it's a flavor of quirk that I'm just not into. I hope this is the last we get from him, it's getting tiresome. Favorite tracks: In the Colosseum. Album art: Really cool cover, a shot of Tom screaming to oblivion with devil horns and glowing eyes. This is how Alex and I look when we wake up to find another Tom Waits album on the list. 1.5/5

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Wed Nov 11 2020
5

Crazy album in all the right ways

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Thu Apr 29 2021
5

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

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Thu May 13 2021
5

Delightfully weird and twisted

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Sun May 23 2021
5

Fantastic. Excellent mix of Tom's classic 70s sound and his more experimental stuff

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Thu Sep 16 2021
5

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!

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Fri Mar 11 2022
5

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

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Fri Apr 01 2022
5

Love Tom waits, not my favorite album but definitely a solid album

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Thu Apr 21 2022
5

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.

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Fri Apr 29 2022
5

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!

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Fri Apr 29 2022
5

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.

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Thu May 19 2022
5

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.

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Thu May 19 2022
5

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.

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Wed Jun 08 2022
5

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.

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Fri Jun 24 2022
5

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.

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Sun Oct 23 2022
5

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

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Thu Nov 03 2022
5

This was unhinged and I loved it

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Fri Dec 02 2022
5

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.

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Wed Jan 25 2023
5

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

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Thu Feb 16 2023
5

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...

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Thu Feb 16 2023
5

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.

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Mon Mar 06 2023
5

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!

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Wed Mar 08 2023
5

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.

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Fri Mar 10 2023
5

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.

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Thu Apr 06 2023
5

I pity the person whose first interaction with Tom Waits is Bone Machine. It is abrasive and challenging, and if you're not in the right mindset to process that it will bounce right off. But if you are receptive to this sound (and conditioned by some of Waits's other albums like Rain Dogs, Swordfishtrombones and Mule Variations) you'll find a harrowing beauty in it

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Thu Apr 13 2023
5

Tom Waits is a living legend and this album is one of many testaments to that fact. 10/10

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Thu Apr 13 2023
5

Tom Waits only makes great music. Print it.

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Thu Apr 13 2023
5

In het begin vond ik de stem wel een beetje te veel maar uiteindelijk sloeg ik toch om voor de mooie en bijzondere nummers. Kan ook niet anders als een Bob Dylan en Leonard Cohen fan

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Sun Apr 16 2023
5

Always has been my favorite Waits album. Not a dud on here.

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Fri Apr 21 2023
5

On Bone Machine Tom Waits lets go of everything and is no longer limited by anything. This results in an intense album with primary music. Rhythms that sound like they're making use of anything that can be hit on. Strange vocals between screeching, growling and just singing. But it's also a beautiful album, although you have to put in a little bit of effort for it. This, to me, is one of the best records of all time. A sample card. Moving (Whistle down the Wind), Romantic Dark (Black Wings) Existential (Dirt in the Ground), even poppy sometimes (I don't wanna grow up). And all on bordering between genius and madness. Dark but not depressing. A masterpiece.

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Wed Apr 26 2023
5

I used to have this album on my iPod and listened to it at uni . It makes me feel any to smoke cigarettes and drink red wine from a paper bag . Was so good I listened to it twice.

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Sat Apr 29 2023
5

What a voice! And what great songs too. He's like a much better Bob Dylan, with Springsteen energy and Leadbelly vocals. I loved it!

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Mon May 08 2023
5

This was not actually my introduction to Tom Waits. I first heard Closing Time which is what I like to call his "piano player in a smoky bar at midnight" stuff. But Bone Machine was a huge eye opener. I always enjoy pulling this out out to listen to.

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Tue May 09 2023
5

if a junkyard got hold of the karaoke mic

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Tue May 09 2023
5

He growls! He croons! He funks! Roll up! Roll up! One night only folks!

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Mon Aug 07 2023
5

Tom Waits is one of the most consistent songwriters I know, and one of the only ones whose joy in playing in the art is communicated through his output. Even if the lyrics are dour, there's an ineffable quality that says, "I love this medium, and this is my playground." When I want to connect with that concept of joy, I pop on some Waits.

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Fri Sep 01 2023
5

The man knows how to make a racket.

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Tue Sep 26 2023
5

A darker and gritter Tom than usual, and I love it of course.

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Tue Sep 26 2023
5

This is the Waits era I feel most at home with. I'm glad I have better understanding of his earlier catalogue now; but his grittier stuff here is what made me fall in love with him.

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Mon Nov 13 2023
5

Seems not everyone is able to appreciate Tom Waits, and that's fair enough and not unexpected. I'll just count my blessings of what I get from this lovely album. Equally sinister and gentle, the lyrics are fabulous as usual, and it contains both I don't Wanna Grow Up and That Feel, two of his loveliest ever songs. All drenched in dirt. Other highlights for me, Dirt in the Ground, and the almost beat poem, The Ocean Doesn't Want Me.

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Sun Dec 03 2023
5

love this guy's voice and his songs are awesome!

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Wed Dec 06 2023
5

From the howling monstrosity pictured on the cover to the haunted and twisted songs lurking within, “Bone Machine” is an unhinged record of beautiful, terrifying chaos. Released in 1992, it’s the culmination of the direction Waits began moving in from 1983’s “Swordfishtrombones”, inspired by his wife and writing partner Kathleen Brennan. The natural conclusion of this journey? The death rattle of the end of the world. Here’s how to pitch it: open with a cacophonous bluesy track named “The Earth Died Screaming”. Follow it up with a funereal musing on how everyone and everything you love will end up as “Dirt in the Ground”. And then spend the rest of the album switching between terror and tenderness on a dime. Perfect. Waits and Brennan’s production is muddy and earthy: vocals are a distant howl, grunt, snarl or moan and the instrumentation is more chaotic and homespun than ever. Theres a whole junkyard of percussion here: listen to how it bristles against each other in “Such a Scream”, creates a living slaughterhouse in “In The Colosseum”, or adds to the sheer menace and magic of “Goin’ Out West”. These tracks are cluttered and crowded, but feel so lived in with such distinct characters: it’s impossible not to be swept away. But my favourite aspect of “Bone Machine” is the bruised, barely beating heart beneath all of those bones. From the very beginning of his career, Waits has done aching and yearning ballads like nobody else, and this record has some of his very best. “Who Are You” is a downtrodden ode to a tortured relationship. “Whistle Down the Wind” personifies terminal weariness, a soul consigned to roaming purgatory in his tiny corner of earth. And “A Little Rain” is absolutely beautiful, with one of the most gut-wrenching gear shifts I’ve ever heard in its final verse: “she was fifteen years old, and she’d never seen the ocean; she climbed into a van with a vagabond; and the last thing she said was ‘I love you, Mom’; and a little rain never hurt no one.” I’m tearing up just typing it out: incredibly powerful storytelling. The two very best tracks, though, come right towards the end, summing up each of these distinct approaches. “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up” is a clattery, defiant ode to youth and stubbornness: surprisingly catchy and all the more poignant for being delivered by a gravelly 43-year-old. It also has the rare distinction of being covered by both the Ramones and Scarlett Johansson. Finally, “That Feel” ropes in Waits’ old collaborator Keith Richards for a sentimental, barroom style singalong. After the ordeal of the earlier tracks, it feels uplifting, life-affirming even. The day breaks and another sun rises, and Mr. Waits goes home to take some very strong cough medicine. A superb album.

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Mon Jan 01 2024
5

Lyder som om det er skrevet og produceret i et andet univers. Der er intet der lyder som Tom Waits. Av av av hvor er det nice

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Mon Jan 01 2024
5

Første gang jeg har hørt et fuldt Tom Waits album. Har en fornemmelse af at det var en god en at starte med! En af de bedste jeg endnu har hørt fra denne liste

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Fri Jan 05 2024
5

Let’s start with the obvious - Tom Waits does not have what anyone would consider to be a pleasant singing voice. That said, I love his music. It has such a unique and intriguing sound and never fails to draw me in. The Earth Died Screaming was such a great song to open this album with. The Ocean was like a beat poet’s fever dream and strangely beautiful. Really vibed to In the Coliseum and Goin’ Out West. This was a great album. Clear 5 for me

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Wed Jan 17 2024
5

weird and wonderful and Waits-y. 5 stars.

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Fri Jan 19 2024
5

Love this album. Loved it before, still love it. I especially love A Little Rain (for Clyde), but all the songs are great. 4.5/5

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Fri Jan 19 2024
5

If you haven't heard Tom Waits before, this might be a tough listen. It took me a few tries over a few years to soften to this sound but once you settle into its uneasiness you can get lost in the world he creates. If you're curious but not sold, try Rain Dogs and come back. 4.5/5 well actually 4.6/5 so I can round up. You probably won't listen on repeat but definitely worth a listen, (and come back periodically to re-visit) it's worth the effort.)

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Wed Jan 24 2024
5

i love it. the production is weird and deranged and squeaky and sets such an atmosphere. I can feel dust, rain, darkness, this sort of silence and the moonlight. It's haunted and beautiful. Tom Wait's voice is gravelly and rough and perfectly complimented by the writing and the production. There are songs here about depression, earth's demise, life and growing up, murder and so much more. It's so good. My personal favs are earth died screaming, dirt in the ground, i don't want to grow up, that feel, the ocean doesn't want me, a little rain. It's great and i reckon it'll just grow on me with more listens. It's a strong 4 to a 5.

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Fri Jan 26 2024
5

Lyrically delightful. Not quite the Tom Waits sound I know from "Blood Money" and other later stuff, but good enough that I'll give it 5 stars. He's done stuff that I like even better, but on the scale of this listening project? Definitely one of the best.

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Mon Jan 29 2024
5

One of my favorite albums of all time!

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Wed Jan 31 2024
5

I freaking loved this album.

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Wed Feb 07 2024
5

What is this movie that plays behind his eyes? This is a lot fun. He created such a rich atmosphere, filled with curious characters. Tom Waits is just very unique, an acquired taste. I’m glad to have finally gotten there. His music is so so good.

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Fri Feb 09 2024
5

Fantastic. The song writing is unconventional and even avant garde at times, but it never loses me as a listener. Some songs are dark and grimey (The Earth Died Screaming , In the Colosseum) where others are blusey, soulful and thought provoking (A Little Rain , Whistle Down the Wind). I really love how he plays with his voice to make a unique and interesting sound. He plays with genres, especially old genres but never jumps away from a cohesive album sound. The album sounds like walking into a 1890s Vaudeville show in Los Angeles and getting the full range of weirdness and blues. Its entertaining and also makes you feel everything.

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Wed Feb 21 2024
5

I've acquired the taste for Tom Waits long ago after seeing him live in Columbus, OH. Must've been 15 or more years ago now. Still one of the best shows I've ever seen and we were in the nosebleeds. Bone Machine isn't one of his albums that I'm super familiar with. It doesn't feel like it will topple my favorite (Swordfishtrombones), but it has all of the elements of later-career Waits. That snarly voice, the non-traditional instruments, old-timey yet industrial, whimsical yet dark. There's no way I'd ever rank any of his albums lower than a 4.5.

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Mon Feb 26 2024
5

👌🏻👌🏻👌🏻👌🏻

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Mon Mar 04 2024
5

Typical weird Waits combination of hotseknots and ballads that somehow works perfectly well.

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Wed Mar 13 2024
5

This album is a beautiful meandering masterpiece.

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Mon Mar 18 2024
5

Descriptions for these songs are like bowery blues, acid torch songs, music from the depths of tortured souls. Such quirky wonderful compositions and sounds. Favorites are Earth Died Screaming, Who Are you, Goin' Out West, Black Wings, Whistle Down the Wind, and That Feel.

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Wed Mar 27 2024
5

BL: After listening to "Nighthawks at the Diner" which was my first proper Waits LP i'd listened to the whole way through, I was eager to hear more. Thus the generator has presented me with another offering. This one often regarded as his best, or atleast most notable one, so we will see if its rightly famous, or infamous. AL: I was originally going to write that this was not as strong as NHATD, but then I considered that these two records are not at all comparable. While that captures the discontentment of the working class in America, and the angers spoken in blue collar art and poetry this focuses on something much more harrowing. Concerned with themes of death and the nihilism that comes with pondering such sober thoughts - this captures a feel seen more in the likes of Jason Molina's works. This lives and breathes the discontentment of the rust belt, where nothing ever really lives - and humans are bone machines to their masters until they wilt away and return to the dust they came from. This is absolutely amazing and almost certainly a definitive album of a time in which rock music was oversaturated with RHCP and Grunge. FT: "The Earth Died Screaming", "Dirt in the Ground", "A Little Rain", "Goin' Out West", "Whistle Down The Wind", "That Feel" 5/5

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Thu Apr 11 2024
5

Great album. One I have heard, and would put on any list. From the growling tones, to the remarkable lyrics, this is amazing.

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Mon Sep 14 2020
4

Definitely an acquired taste, but I listened twice and was pretty into it.

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Fri Jun 04 2021
4

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"

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Mon Jan 18 2021
4

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.

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Sun May 02 2021
4

Bringing back the memories on this one

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