tom waits

"I like beautiful melodies telling me terrible things"

Ok, in case you saw my last post and watched the videos and are still wondering why I’m obsessed with a musician whose voice sounds like Satchmo-meets-Cookie Monster and whose songs resemble spooky pirate anthems, I will now follow up with Tom Waits Part 2: The Ballads.

I challenge you to not be affected by these songs.

Tom Traubert’s Blues a.k.a. AHHHH MY HEARTSTRINGS:


and it’s a battered old suitcase 
to a hotel someplace
and a wound that will never heal
no prima donna, the perfume is on
an old shirt that is stained with blood and whiskey
and goodnight to the street sweepers 
the night watchman flame keepers
and goodnight Matilda, too

San Diego Serenade:
[Tom Waits grew up in San Diego, then lived in LA, and now lives in Northern California. I love when songwriters write about places, even better when they’re about all the places I’ve lived!]

I never saw the morning ’til I stayed up all night
I never saw the sunshine ’til you turned out the light
I never saw my hometown until I stayed away too long
I never heard the melody until I needed the song

Hold On:
[Apparently this was on a Walking Dead episode…wonder how many new fans he gained from that?]

So, she left Monte Rio, son
just like a bullet leaves a gun
With charcoal eyes and Monroe hips
she went and took that California trip

And here are a couple more that sadly I can’t find live performances of, but are just as worthy:
Blind LoveJGL did a cover of this, which is admirable but just can’t compare to the original.
Martha. This song is from his first album, when his voice was relatively tame! Love that chorus. <3

I know I’ve said this before, but I’m a sucker for hard people who are softies at heart (Keith Richards, Pete Townshend, et al.). And this definitely applies. Maybe Tom Waits is mostly known for his scraggly voice and the weird characters he plays in movies, but let it be known that he writes beautiful songs, too.

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