Swordfishtrombones (studio album) by Tom Waits
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Tom Waits bestography
The best album by Tom Waits is Rain Dogs which is ranked number 109 in the list of all-time albums with a total rank score of 13,305.
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Swordfishtrombones track list
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This album is rated in the top 1% of all albums on BestEverAlbums.com. This album has a Bayesian average rating of 81.7/100, a mean average of 80.6/100, and a trimmed mean (excluding outliers) of 81.8/100. The standard deviation for this album is 15.2.
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This is the first I've heard of Tom Waits, and I'm wondering where this has been my entire life. This is daring music, and Waits attacks it with such infectious confidence, as if he's been singing these songs his whole life. There is so much variety in these 15 tracks--every new song feels like a curveball, and the album somehow seems to get better the longer it goes on. Among other things, Swordfishtrombones deftly explores humor, beauty, loneliness, and small-town nostalgia. As others have mentioned, I feel like I'm at a smoke-filled bar listening to various characters animatedly telling stories about their lives. This album sparkles with genius, straddling traditionalism and the avant-garde simultaneously. Americana at its finest.
A loose concept album of sorts around titular main protagonist Frank, ‘swordfishtrombones’ is the perfect entry point for anyone looking to explore the Waits catalogue.
This album is so unique and good at the same time. It has a vibe of a drunken guy telling you stories in a bar over some jazz and blues instrumentals. I prefer his weird singing than spoken word, but I don't mind it very much. My favorite tracks are Underground and Swordfishtrombone, they are just magnificent. I would also like to highlight 16 Shells From A 30.6, In The Neighborhood (which sounds like weird Springsteen) and Down, Down, Down. Some instrumentals like Dave The Butcher are eerie, but it only adds to the atmosphere of a record.
Its alright but not his best
The best way to describe this record is that it is Rain Dogs just without the final polish that would put it right near the top but it is still amongst the greatest. You can tell the exact direction Waits is going with this release with its art/experimental rock style and it makes it clear he was onto something great with this album. Lyrically, it is just as strong as any Waits album with him depicting scenes and events in graphic detail that suck us into the world he creates. He then uses his rough, gritty voice to weave these tales to conjure up sorrow, pain and any other emotion he possibly can. He is so effective with the way he uses his voice and it fits this dark style of music perfectly. Then we go onto the music itself which is just brilliant. It is creative, experimental and a whole lot of fun to try and decipher. All the performances are very strong and we are treated to a vast array of instrumentation that are all used very effectively. The percussion, trombone, trumpet, organ and bass all stand out to me the most. There are lots more to find though and some very strange instruments on here also. However, what keeps this record away from being in the truly elite is the couple of filler songs we get. They are mainly the shorter songs that don't hold up as well and as Waits demonstrated, with songs like 9th And Hennepin, on Rain Dogs these songs can be phenomenal. Some songs just don't hit as well and fall quite short of the mark which I think is mainly due to the lack of experience in this field which is mastered later. Overall, this is a great album and well worth exploring for its experimentation and quality.
Tom Waits knows how to walk a different path musically. This album does not sound like anything that I know before. A very intimate album with New Orleans tones with that avantgarde spice makes this a challenging album to grab. Recommended warmly for those who are not afraid.
images of a smoke-filled room. cadenced messages America at night
Swordfishtrombones is one of those albums that makes me think "I wish I'd made that". Fantastic album.
I thought this album was gonna be a bit more experimental than it ended up being after hearing the first track, which, if I'm gonna be honest, disappointed me to some degree. But I was not disappointed by the excellent songwriting. Tom Waits deserves more credit for his ability to craft an interesting collection of songs that are just experimental enough to make you think about how it was written and how it makes you feel. Swordfishtrombones is excellent.
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