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Bone Machine

Posted on

Bone Machine

Current Status:
In Season
Tom Waits
Experimental, Rock

We gave it an A+

Listening to this album is like going through an amusement-park fun house. You never know when you’re going to be shocked, thrilled, or just plain unnerved by some startling image or sound. Bone Machine finds Waits veering along the midway barking his favorite themes — decadence and death, purgatory and pain — but beneath his hellacious bellows (calling his voice raw is a compliment) and grotesque arrangements (often just samples of gnashing gears or clanging irons) lurks a caring, humanist heart. Only Waits could concoct a gospel song in which the narrator looks for salvation — and a brand-new Ford (”Jesus Gonna Be Here”). ”You must risk something that matters,” he notes on the poignant ”A Little Rain.” As modern songwriters go, this Elephant Man of pop is one of the few who does matter. A+