Tom Waits' "Step Right Up" and "Clap Hands"
"Step Right Up" was my introduction to Tom Waits. There was a wonderfully lazy period in my life before I moved to LA where every Saturday was spent with my friends Jeff, Dave, Tim, and Joe playing video games, eating Thunderbird Burgers, and listening to music. Many of the artists I listen to now were discovered in the living room of the 650 house, and it was there that I first heard Wait's iconic growl and bark. I was immediately enthralled by "Step Right Up". The lyrical flow, the perfect rasp of Tom's voice, the vaudeville feel of the whole thing. Every sales pitch you have every heard rolled up into a string the best carnival barker would envy. There was just something about the way Waits presented himself on the album that I had never heard before. There is no doubt that his music could be considered a kind of an acquired taste, often riding the line between brilliance and bizarre, but I was immediately fascinated and couldn't stop listening.
"Clap Hands" was the track that vaulted Waits from a fascination to one of my favorite musicians of all time. The instruments, the vocals, the rhythms. There is something so pure about Wait's music. Songs that come from some dark, drunken alley that you can't help but wander down. Each of his songs creates an atmosphere you can visualize. I have always wanted to write a scene for "Clap Hands", to take its hollow rhythms and choreograph an entire story motivated my it's movements. It is a truly original, haunting, and amazing track.
I remember talking to one of my uncles about John Lennon. He was telling me how fascinated he had become with Lennon's music, and how, even though Lennon wasn't his favorite musician, his music had changed his whole outlook on art. I think that Tom Waits is my John Lennon. He has had a profound effect on me and the way I listen to music.
Be sure to check out what Glenn, Rachael, Niveous, Andy, and Heuristics Inc chose for today.