Swordfishtrombones (studio album) by Tom Waits

Swordfishtrombones by Tom Waits
Year: 1983
Overall rank: 388th   Overall chart historyOverall chart history
Average Rating: 
82/100 (from 706 votes)
  Ratings distributionRatings distribution   Average rating historyAverage rating history
Accolades:
Award Top 10 albums of 1983 (7th)
Award Top 100 albums of the 1980s (51st)
Award Top 500 albums of all time (388th)
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Tom Waits bestography

Swordfishtrombones is ranked 2nd best out of 26 albums by Tom Waits on BestEverAlbums.com.

The best album by Tom Waits is Rain Dogs which is ranked number 111 in the list of all-time albums with a total rank score of 13,965.

Tom Waits album bestography « Higher ranked (111th) This album (388th) Lower ranked (514th) »
Rain DogsSwordfishtrombonesClosing Time

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Swordfishtrombones track list

  Track ratingsTrack ratings The tracks on this album have an average rating of 82 out of 100 (all tracks have been rated).

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Swordfishtrombones ratings

Average Rating: 
82/100 (from 706 votes)
  Ratings distributionRatings distribution Average Rating = (n ÷ (n + m)) × av + (m ÷ (n + m)) × AV
where:
av = trimmed mean average rating an item has currently received.
n = number of ratings an item has currently received.
m = minimum number of ratings required for an item to appear in a 'top-rated' chart (currently 10).
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Showing latest 5 ratings for this album. | Show all 706 ratings for this album.

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85/100
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11/23/2022 09:45 Hyggevinyl  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 1,13375/100
 
70/100
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10/31/2022 16:15 jonny5244  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 8,20563/100
 
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10/25/2022 14:29 mikethesloan  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 34859/100
 
60/100
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10/23/2022 23:29 Jamie  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 99164/100
 
85/100
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10/16/2022 09:28 mv3k  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 49480/100

Rating metrics: Outliers can be removed when calculating a mean average to dampen the effects of ratings outside the normal distribution. This figure is provided as the trimmed mean. A high standard deviation can be legitimate, but can sometimes indicate 'gaming' is occurring. Consider a simplified example* of an item receiving ratings of 100, 50, & 0. The mean average rating would be 50. However, ratings of 55, 50 & 45 could also result in the same average. The second average might be more trusted because there is more consensus around a particular rating (a lower deviation).
(*In practice, some albums can have several thousand ratings)

This album is rated in the top 1% of all albums on BestEverAlbums.com. This album has a Bayesian average rating of 81.6/100, a mean average of 80.6/100, and a trimmed mean (excluding outliers) of 81.7/100. The standard deviation for this album is 15.3.

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Swordfishtrombones comments

Showing latest 10 comments | Show all 34 comments |
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Rating:  
85/100
From 10/16/2022 09:34
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.
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Rating:  
75/100
From 09/07/2022 01:08
Its alright but not his best
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Rating:  
85/100
From 07/05/2022 19:31
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.
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Rating:  
85/100
From 01/27/2022 09:36
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.
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Rating:  
75/100
From 01/03/2022 16:47
images of a smoke-filled room. cadenced messages America at night
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Rating:  
80/100
From 05/04/2020 13:39
Swordfishtrombones is one of those albums that makes me think "I wish I'd made that". Fantastic album.
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Rating:  
90/100
From 04/14/2020 04:59
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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Rating:  
80/100
From 12/31/2019 16:46
Very cool.
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Rating:  
100/100
From 07/22/2019 15:26
Favorite Tracks:Dave The Butcher, Johnsburg Illinois, In The Neighborhood, Swordfishtrombone, Gin Soaked Boy, Trouble's Braids, Rainbirds
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Rating:  
70/100
From 02/20/2019 03:00
Weird starter but the double bass sound on this record is truly amazing!
Overall quality of sound is great. Also, the music is well crafted but not particularly brilliant.
It has a lot of interesting improvs that end with fadeout. Guess it wasn't designed as a total piece but as a good collection of tracks, jams, timbres, sounds, textures, etc :)
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | -1 votes (0 helpful | 1 unhelpful)

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Best Albums of 1983
1. Murmur by R.E.M.
2. Violent Femmes by Violent Femmes
3. Power, Corruption & Lies by New Order
4. Synchronicity by The Police
5. War by U2
6. Speaking In Tongues by Talking Heads
7. Swordfishtrombones by Tom Waits
8. Kill 'Em All by Metallica
9. Let's Dance by David Bowie
10. The Final Cut by Pink Floyd
11. Script Of The Bridge by The Chameleons
12. Clics Modernos by Charly García
13. Pyromania by Def Leppard
14. Script For A Jester's Tear by Marillion
15. Soul Mining by The The
16. Holy Diver by Dio
17. Piece Of Mind by Iron Maiden
18. Texas Flood by Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble
19. Eliminator by ZZ Top
20. The Hurting by Tears For Fears
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