Monday, April 19, 2010
Closing Time. Tom Waits. Elektra Entertainment. (1973)
Careworn, and still hopeful romance rarely sounds better than in this superb collection of songs. Tom Waits' confiding voice and beautiful arrangements merge and play with each other across a range of songs about loss and the eternal possibilities of love.
Opening with a song that uses "likedsplit" naturally and effectively it is clear that Tom Waits is a very confident songwriter. The second song "I Hope That I Don't Fall In Love With You", is a minor masterpiece of melancholy romance, the struggle between the possibility of romance and the unwillingness to act on that possibility.
"Martha" is the standout song of the collection, a stunning song about memory, regret and the joy of being young.
The songs have a welcome variation without straying too far. They are carefully constructed to make the most of Tom Waits vocal delivery, it has a relatively narrow range with great depth. The songs are much more celebratory than otherwise and this gives the whole collection a subtle power and grace. The weight of experience and expectation is clearly visible yet the optimism of the hopeless romantic seeps through to invite the listener in. Effortlessly atmospheric and glowingly truthful about love this collection is unfailing pleasure.