Sound — 9
Of all of Tom Waits several albums, this one would be in the top three of the most diverse sound. The title track is slow moving balladry, with haunting jazz music in the background accompanying Wait's gruff voice and grungy poetry, Whereas "Kommienezuspadt" is indescribable musical madness. The sound is always beautiful, and rarely beautiful in the same way as the song before it. And I suppose it's technically a concept album, as it has songs that stray, but quite a bit of this is the tale of Alice in Wonderland. Except Poor Edward has a macabre background story that I feel should be mentioned. It's about a man who lived in 19th century England, and had a deformity on the back of his head which looked like a face, which he claimed laughed and cried and whispered horrible things to him at night, but doctors refused to operate, so he killed himself at age 23.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics in this are as amazing as ever. The lyrics are beautiful, grungy poetry, which fits very well with Wait's growl. Wait's has a very gruff voice which works amazingly well with the lyrics. Line's from the song Alice show how great his lyrics are "And so a secret kiss, brings madness with the bliss, And I will think of this, when I'm dead in my grave, Set me adrift and I'm lost over there, and I must be insane, to go skating on your name, and by tracing it twice, I fell through the ice, of Alice."
Overall Impression — 9
This is probably my second favorite Wait's album, after Rain Dogs. It's him at his most consistent, and his vocal and lyrical best. For lovers of Jazz, rock, or blues, or just good music in general I guess, this is a must own album, or at least an album that deserves to be checked out. And don't expect to like Wait's on the first listen. You probably won't. Give him time to grow on you, and it's well worth it indeed. Do yourself a favor and buy this, or at least borrow it from the library. But I'll say this: I've never met a person who really gave Waits a chance who did not eventually love him.