Tom Waits – Bad As Me

Album Review by Ali Maloney | 24 Oct 2011
Album title: Bad As Me
Artist: Tom Waits
Label: Epitaph
Release date: 24 Oct

Tom Waits' music does what all great art should, it creates worlds. His is a universe as vivid and colourful as any film despite the fact they’re birthed in three-four minute songs. Bad As Me is neither his best work nor any departure from the mark of quality that can be expected from a Waits release; in many ways, it could be considered as the run-down speakeasy flipside to the raw gutter-rat filth of the last album proper, 2004's Real Gone. It's certainly more on the jazz rock swing side than Waits normally is.

Alongside Waits' dextrous (and frankly phenomenal) vocal performances, the band, as always, is great; Marc Ribot brings some outstanding surf twang to Everybody's Talking – one of the tenderest and most sublime songs of Waits' career – and thankfully Flea doesn't make himself too obvious. Waits himself is in fine jest, drafting in Keith Richards to accompany his personal response to rock stars who claim to be somewhat lacking the achievement of satisfaction. So what’s everyone else doing wrong? It's simple, really: “it takes a raised-right man to keep a happy hen – there ain’t enough raised right men.”