You’re the head on the spear
You’re the nail on the cross
You’re the fly in my beer
You’re the key that got lost
You’re the letter from Jesus on the bathroom wall
You’re mother superior in only a bra
You’re the same kind of bad as me
Tom Waits’ Bad as Me was released on his critically acclaimed 16th album of the same name in 2011. It was also nominated for a grammy award for best alternative music album. The title track featured today was digitally released as a single on Itunes and he netted his first top 10 album.
The lyrics of Bad as Me are lean and mean, but in typical Tom Waits fashion he presents it with a feeling of loose joy and abandon. The press release at the time of it’s release stated: This pivotal work refines the music that has come before and signals a new direction. Waits, in possibly the finest voice of his career, worked with a veteran team of gifted musicians and longtime co-writer/producer Kathleen Brennan.
I like this song a lot. He presents it in an debauched theatrical manner and he even cackles after he says:
‘No good you say
Well that’s good enough for me!’
I like the pounding percussion and brash guitars. It’s a self affirming song, that’s resolved in the character he has constructed although he’s still keeping himself fresh.
Someone described in the you tube comments below: ‘He’s like a stray cat who was transformed into a man by a genie or a shaman’.
once you join the Cult of Tom, the world becomes a better place
I’m still getting familiar with his music. It’s going to be slow going, since I find his music an acquired taste.
It is indeed. If you’re not in the mood it is insane.
It’s great music to drink to, I know that! His music makes me smirk and sometimes chuckle. He sounds frivolous, but there’s something profound lurking beneath.
exactly. to the casual listener it is the ranting of a lunatic. after more time with it, there is magic in the story telling
Great description! The funny this is, my kids love him. I like his more outlandish songs like ‘Big in Japan’, ‘Hell Broke Loose’ and ‘Step Right Up’. The latter is probably the funniest song I”ve ever heard.
How did you get into him?
Leonard Cohen. He started me on a rabbit hole of these brilliant post folk artists. I’m big into our k rock and you don’t get much more punk than Tom.
Sidenote, his short in the latest Coen Bros film, Ballad of Buster Scruggs, stole the show
I’m also a big fan of Leonard. His songs have featured a lot here and there’s plenty more to come. I think I tried sampling Tom’s music through Dylan fan sites.
Yeh, that Coen Bros gold digger vignette with Tom was excellent.
He is really in your face with this one. How can you not love the lyrics to this?
I can see how Bukowski and the Beatniks were a great influence on Tom. Often when I read his material I think of Bukowski’s writings.
Well this is just awesome. Have not heard it before to my knowledge. Loved your description of it, just perfect!
I’m thrilled you enjoyed it so much! I admit I often find it difficult to think of a suitable description for Tom’s music. There’s probably a bit of ‘love and theft’ in what I came up for this song.
It was really good, all through! Especially: “The lyrics of Bad as Me are lean and mean, but in typical Tom Waits fashion he presents it with a feeling of loose joy and abandon” — that really summed it up.
I’m glad you connected with that Nadine. That’s kind of you mentioning it. I really appreciate it.
Ghosts of Captain Beefheart (Howlin Wolf). I like your eclectic style. This music just sounds good to my ears.
‘Ghosts’ I’ll check out. Thanks CB.
I really dig Tom, Beefheart and the like but they would be the first to give a nod to Wolf.
I love it. HUGE Tom Waits fan. This one’s really good, and one of my favorites is Telephone Call from Instanbul. Omg, that description is hilarious AND right on target, lol : ‘He’s like a stray cat who was transformed into a man by a genie or a shaman’. Hahahaha.
He’s turned into a nice actor, and I liked him in the Coen Brother’s gold miner vignette too.
But that made me start thinking of the story about the guy with no arms or legs and what happened to him when his “partner” found a new, shiny thing to make money with. Holy…..crap. I can barely imagine a more horrible life. It really creeped me out. Very unique movie. I adore the Coen Brothers!!!
Hey Stacey! I never knew you were a HUGE Tom Waits fan. My library is choc-full of his stuff although I’m still getting into his music. Telephone Call from Instanbul is in here too.
Holy crap don’t tell me you’re a Coen Bros fan too! That Buster Scruggs movie was pretty good. I liked about 3 vignettes of the total. The ‘girl and the Indians’ one blew me away. So sad.
Adore Tom. My husband always nudges me when he shows up in a movie or if someone’s scratchy, hoarse voice is singing in the background on the soundtrack he’ll say, “It’s your buddy!”
That’s funny–I think I liked three of those vignettes too! The one you mentioned, the gold miner, and then, of course, “Meal Ticket” (guy with no arms or legs).
The others were okay but didn’t strike me as much. What were your other two?
We both love the Coen Brothers here. A few of their movies that I can take or leave: O, Brother, Where Art Thou, Hudsucker Proxy, Hail Caesar, Lady Killers. Admittedly, I haven’t seen all of them, but among my favs: No Country For Old Men, True Grit, Raising Arizona, Fargo, Big Lewbowski, Miller’s Crossing.
‘It’s your buddy!’ I love it. There are some great interviews with him. One in particular with Letterman which I showcased in my blog and the performance is superb as well.
Supposedly Heath Ledger mimicked Tom Waits voice for his Joker role. He sounds just like him.
Regarding the Buster Scraggs movie, I think I liked the Singing Cowboy, the cowboy who robs the bank, the gold prospector and the girl and the Indians.
I love the Coen’s and all those you mentioned. My old man was particularly fond of Raising Arizona. I really like Burn After Reading, which hardly gets a mention. Barton Fink as well which I reviewed here because I was in awe of the script.
God, I’m blanking on Burn After Reading. I *think* we saw it. Seems like I would have remembered that, ha.
Okay, so what’s the deal. Was the armless and legless man too disturbing………?
Burn After Reading was hilarious and has an exceptional cast, but it never really caught on. I don’t know why.
What’s the deal!! Haha, I liked the armless and legless man vignette somewhat. Just not as much as those cowboy/western stories I mentioned. The last one didn’t do it for me at all.
I gotcha. Some things strike us, some don’t. But I agree about the last one, if it was the one about them riding with death in the carriage or something? *yawn*
I think the limbless story struck me because, to me, that would be hell on earth. Why worry about dying and having Satan drag you to hell when you’d already been there? Plus, the man that was “managing” the limbless performer, he reminds me of politicians in general but our GOP here specifically. I could see every single one of them doing the exact same thing without batting an eye. To me, the performer’s manager embodies the soulless nothingness which is the GOP. Having said that, I can imagine not many people favored that vignette. Why would they, right? Everything I said was dark and depressing, lol !!
I looked up Burn After Reading. I believe we rented it at some point and saw it at home and, yeah, it was very enjoyable. Such a heavy hitter cast, too. You’d think it WOULD have made more of a splash. Interesting.
I think it might have been because the episode seemed a bit over sentimentalized. I gathered you were struck by it because he was limbless lol You’re right, things strike us differently. I personally think they should have just stuck to country and western gunslinger vignettes and been done with it. Sometimes it seems the Coens shoot to fast from the hip with their movies and without proper redaction, Hail Caesar and Buster Scraggs to be specific, but I’m being awfully critical of this amazing director duo.
Yeah, it’s hard to hit the target like every single time, I guess. POSSIBLY one of the only directors to do that was Kubrick…….?
Yeh, Kubrick. Paul Thomas Anderson is perhaps another although I couldn’t get into ‘Inherent Vice’. I need to see it again.