T-Dub goes electric! This album is Tom’s only electric guitar (coupled with standup bass, which is unique) led album but it’s mostly a lost opportunity. One of Tom’s most unique albums ends up one of his weakest because of a lack of good material.
It’s a shame, because I love the bloozyness and Tom’s growl is only getting richer and more fun to hear, but for fucking, a full third of the songs are melodramatic symphonic The-Undead-Sing-Steven-Sondheim crap, One is a live nstrumental vamp (but Tom Waits is still there in terms of collecting royalties!), One is his third-best song about downtown, one is a heartlandy repetitive rootsy blues-rocker, and that only leaves three songs left to wow me, and two of those sound like filler while one of them is the title-track, a lyrically brilliant (“don’t you know there ain’t no devil / that’s just god when he’s drunk”) take on downtown Los Angeles with the underwhelming fade-out in the middle of what sounds like a verse at the end. In fact, the other blues song that I like fade out too, which makes things sound unfinished.
I mean, I really like that instrumental vamp, and I really like listening to Tommy Thompson Waits forever, and I really love the blooze, but there isn’t enough on this album to hang your cock on when you actually listen. I don’t know, I like it and all, but I’m still kinda sick with grief. The pathetic thing is that it feels a lot like normal depression, but this time I have a good reason for it. That would hypothetically make me feel better, but it doesn’t. The funeral isn’t for days, meaning I have a fun period of lonely solipsism in which to be pathetic. And then an interview the morning after the wake. Pathetic. Well, old people are meant to die in a more realistic sense than the rest of us, and we were all waiting for her to die anyway. My family all hate each other so much, it’s great. And I don’t like much of my family too. What a bunch of Jews. Who the fuck is Tom Waits?