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Tom Waits - Real Gone (1 Viewer)


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Another review. Thoughts, criticisms, suggestions, etc. all very appreciated. Thanks!


Tom Waits
Real Gone

After Tom Waits released and toured in support of his simultaneous releases Alice and Blood Money in 2002, he entered the studio to record Real Gone. A departure from all of his previous musical ventures, Waits eliminated all traces of keyboards from his music for this album. This creates an interesting and adventurous new style -- something Waits has definitely demonstrated he is keen to. If anything, Tom Waits is the embodiment of change and progress within his 30-plus-years on his musical journey.

Real Gone has a definite focus on rhythm, with the most melodic elements of the music usually consisting of a sole guitar and his unmistakeable voice. Managing to create a sound that is unique even to himself, he demonstrates his innate propensity for the creativity and innovation that has driven his career. The ten-minute track "Sins of my Father" is an excellent example of this innovation Waits is known for best -- aside from his voice. A repetetive rhythm track drives this, offering little variation within the piece, while a very bluesy guitar resonates across the sparse percussion. The spoken stylings of "Circus" provide a film-noir feeling, and somehow, Waits manages to make the music sound mysterious and black and white.

Waits has obviously not lost his lyrical mastery, as evidenced strongly in the track "Day After Tomorrow," a wartime letter home written by a soldier -- obviously a piece about a current political situation. On the opener "Top of the Hill," he issues in a style that can only be described as his own the lyrics "I need your moon to be the sky / Sky against / Don't get your trouser button / Stuck on the fence / Diego red and bedlam money are fine / Why don't you come up here / And see me sometime," affirming that though some may try to replicate his lyrical style, none can ever match it.

Expanding on the work of both himself and others, he takes listeners on a musical train ride. The sights may be familiar, but everything is slightly different -- to some, they are improved, to others, they may appear harsh and inescapable, but such is the beauty of music. From the rhythmic chanting on "Don't Go Into That Barn" to the gentle guitar work on the softer "Green Grass," it is obvious that the wisdom Waits possesses has matured over the many years he has spent crafting his sound.

Waits described Real Gone as "cubist funk," a title than certainly fits with the oft-manic style of the record. This style description reaches its pinnacle with "Metropolitan Guide," a piece that would fit in perfectly with Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque's greatest works. Perhaps in the future, there will be galleries devoted to 20th and 21st century music styles. If so, it is inevitable that Tom Waits will be recognized as one of the most innovative and influential artists of his time.

Matthew Montgomery