Bone Machine (studio album) by Tom Waits

Bone Machine by Tom Waits
Year: 1992
Overall rank: 826th   Overall chart historyOverall chart history
Average Rating: 
79/100 (from 429 votes)
  Ratings distributionRatings distribution   Average rating historyAverage rating history
Award Top 20 albums of 1992 (12th)
Award Top albums of the 1990s (150th)
Award Top 1,000 albums of all time (826th)
Product Details

Tom Waits “Bone Machine” LP/Island Records ILPS 9993 (EX) Blue Vinyl 1992 UK
Condition: Used


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Tom Waits bestography

Bone Machine is ranked 4th best out of 26 albums by Tom Waits on

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 13,023.

Tom Waits album bestography « Higher ranked (520th) This album (826th) Lower ranked (864th) »
Closing TimeBone MachineMule Variations

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Bone Machine 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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Bone Machine ratings

Average Rating: 
79/100 (from 429 votes)
  Ratings distributionRatings distribution Average Rating = (n ÷ (n + m)) × av + (m ÷ (n + m)) × AV
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).
AV = the site mean average rating.

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05/05/2024 16:50 javicho07  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 2,97682/100
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04/30/2024 18:53 LosWochos  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 42,92275/100
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04/22/2024 19:32 robtinkham  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 54886/100
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04/19/2024 02:23 ScrumpyArbuckle  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 1,13278/100
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03/26/2024 16:33 teague  Ratings distributionRatings distribution 3,44579/100

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 2% of all albums on This album has a Bayesian average rating of 79.0/100, a mean average of 78.0/100, and a trimmed mean (excluding outliers) of 79.2/100. The standard deviation for this album is 15.2.

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Bone Machine comments

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From 07/23/2023 23:24
Another wild Tom Waits album, not as great as Rain Dogs or even Swordfishtrombones, but songwriting, singing and atmosphere is very clearly still there.
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From 11/15/2022 12:32
A very dark and atmospheric album that could be the most haunting experience Waits has ever created. It is so full of suspense and tension that it is near impossible to not be put on edge by the music on here. Right from the start we are warned about the tone of this record with the phenomenal The Earth Died Screaming which might possibly be the greatest opener ever on a Waits record. It perfectly encapsulates what this record is and if you don't enjoy that song then this record probably isn't for you. Waits then continues the quality throughout the rest of the record and while it can be a little scattered and lost at some points it is still a fairly consistent listen. Lyrically, it is just as brilliant as ever with so many songs that are just a joy to explore and his vocal delivery feels more emotional and easier to connect to than on previous works. The instrumentation is experimental, diverse and full of life which is what we come to expect on his albums and this is amongst his best. Overall, another genius and fantastic release from Tom Waits and while this might not be his best album the fact that it is this amazing is a testament to how brilliant of an artist he is and is a testament to his consistency and his staying power.
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From 07/21/2022 21:01
This is the album to listen to while waiting for the gates of hell to open.

I just played the game Disco Elysium. This album has the same dark and desolate vibe.
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From 03/08/2022 19:53
Tom is tom.
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From 12/31/2019 16:48
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From 07/19/2019 04:04
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From 02/18/2018 19:19
Il mio primo album di Tom Waits è rimasto anche uno dei miei preferiti, anche se nel corso degli anni ha avuto, nei miei favori, alcuni alti e bassi. Oggi lo ritengo, tra i suoi dischi migliori, quello dove, forse per l'ultima volta, l'autore sposta ulteriormente i confini della propria musica: nei bassifondi ci si era già arrivati e con esiti da urlo. Qui si arriva, in alcuni brani, dritti all'inferno senza che questo suo interpretare una sorta di diavolo buono diventi una posa, come a mio avviso avverrà in seguito. Non c'è "Mule variations" che tenga: per me l'ultimo capolavoro di Tom Waits è questo.
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From 10/19/2017 22:37
Tom Waits' second best album, and it isn't much below Rain Dogs.

Very dark sounding album with an almost industrial sound in places. Like almost every Waits album it is a bit inconsistent but the highs are incredibly high.

Even though the album is quite diverse, the ballads are easily the best tracks for me here, with some of Tom's most passionate and emotional vocal performances.
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From 06/17/2016 10:25
Bone Machine has to be considered somewhat of a masterpiece, it is probably on a par with Rain Dogs as Tom Wait’s best album. But whereas Rain Dogs is often quirky, Bone Machine has a much darker feel to it with songs such as Dirt In The Ground, Earth Died Screaming, Murder In The Red Barn and Black Wings. But Black Wings and Dirt In The Ground in particular are both brilliant tracks, the lyrics of Black Wings contain some wonderful imagery but don’t listen to it alone at night!
Helpful?  (Log in to vote) | +1 votes (1 helpful | 0 unhelpful)
From 04/20/2016 15:22
Bone machine, is Tom Waits' industrial album. It's dark, unsettling, and has a kind of mechanical sound to it, like it was recorded in some nightmarish factory. First track, earth died screaming, is actually one of the more challenging songs, as if he wanted to scare the daylights out of any casual passers by. Such a scream, in the colosseum, and, murder in the red barn, all have this similar eeriness about them. Although, somewhere underneath all this doom and gloom are some of Waits' loveliest songs, a little rain, and, whistle down the wind, are both great, and, who are you, is superb too, although a little darker. My favourite tracks are the alt.rock of, goin' out west, and the utterly fantastic, I don't wanna grow up. That feel, featuring Keith Richards, is a brilliantly sloppy closer to a strange and unique album. The ultimate Tom Waits in hell record.
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Best Albums of 1992
1. Automatic For The People by R.E.M.
2. Rage Against The Machine by Rage Against The Machine
3. Slanted And Enchanted by Pavement
4. Dirt by Alice In Chains
5. Selected Ambient Works 85-92 by Aphex Twin
6. The Chronic by Dr. Dre
7. Angel Dust by Faith No More
8. Little Earthquakes by Tori Amos
9. Down Colorful Hill by Red House Painters
10. Wish by The Cure
11. Images And Words by Dream Theater
12. Bone Machine by Tom Waits
13. Core by Stone Temple Pilots
14. Dirty by Sonic Youth
15. Check Your Head by Beastie Boys
16. Harvest Moon by Neil Young
17. Vulgar Display Of Power by Pantera
18. Copper Blue by Sugar
19. Dry by PJ Harvey
20. The Southern Harmony And Musical Companion by The Black Crowes
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