Album #520 – Swordfishtrombones

Album #520

Swordfishtrombones is the first album Tom Waits produced himself. It marks a departure from lush string arrangements, piano, and bawdy ballads. Swordfishtrombones is an album that features the Tom Waits I know and love. Jazz, blues, folk and experimental sounds are all present here. Waits acts as a storyteller and in many of the songs, he speaks instead of sings. Many of the lyrics are funny and descriptive. His voice is another distinguishing feature. The gravelly/raspy nature of it makes Waits’ pipes easily recognizable and identifiable.  This kind of style is what makes Tom Waits so special. In fact, nobody else was doing this kind of thing musically in 1983. Producing this album himself made it unique and one that really stood apart from it’s contemporaries. It would be the style Waits would continue to develop on his next few albums, including Rain Dogs, which is also on the list. Another reason why the 80’s was so good. There was a lot of great, exciting music in the decade. Sometimes, you just had to look to find it. Highlights include: 16 Shells from Thirty-Ought Six, In The Neighborhood, Frank’s Wild Years, Swordfishtrombone, Down, Down, Down, Soldier’s Things, Gin Soaked Boy and Rainbirds. Overall, I give Swordfishtrombones, 5 out of 5.

Next: A Walk Across The Rooftops by The Blue Nile

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