Tom Waits - Blood Money (Cover Artwork)

Tom Waits

Blood Money (2002)


Perhaps an explanation is in order before any reviewing is done.

Blood Money was released simultaneously with another album, Alice. These albums are the score to a remake of "Woyzeck," a play written in 1837 which was (to quote the biography on Anti-) "inspired by the true story of a German soldier who was driven mad by bizarre army medical experiments and infidelity, which led him to murder his lover." The play premiered in November 2000 and won some awards and blah blah blah, I'm sure you all really care. Anyways, they wrote the score but there were never any recordings of it, so Waits took it upon himself to do it.

What does it sound like, you ask? Well, I'd have to say it's a combination of blues, rock, and folk, with some real circus-sounding shit thrown in for good measure. I see it described as "Tin-pan-alley" quite often, and that sounds about right. The instrumenation is pretty diverse, ranging from a Calliope (hence the circus music comparison), to piano (and lots of it), to the seed pod of a Botang Tree. Let's not forget Waits' voice, which has just gotten more gravelly over time, to the point where you can't help but wonder how he manages to do it and not completely destroy his vocal chords.

It would be difficult for me to pick a favorite song from the thirteen tracks on here. There are lots of great ones, such as the opening track "Misery Is The River Of The World," "God's Away On Business," and the instrumental "Knife Chase." Some of the slower songs aren't exactly my cup of tea ("Coney Island Baby," "Woe"), but there aren't any really bad tracks on here at all, and even after several months I still find myself listening to this fairly often.

Another Man's Vine