Pop & Rock 2011: 30 Best Albums
When Tom Waits was in his 20s, he was straining to be the artist he is now in his 60s. Although it's been seven years between albums of original material, the glorious gumbo of blues and balladry that is Bad As Me sounds as effortless as anything Waits has ever done. While some may not describe it as the most challenging work in his catalogue, Waits certainly has nothing left to prove after redefining himself so convincingly so many times over the past 40 years. Yet Bad As Me is far from derivative. It's only the legions of Waits imitators who have never been able to replicate the graveyard rockabilly of tracks like "Raised Right Men," and "Get Lost" that he's been perfecting since the early '80s. The amount of notable guests on the album is in some ways a tribute to Waits' persistence with that approach, and it's especially significant that Keith Richards contributes more than he has on any previous Waits album on which he's appeared. They sound like soul mates on both the rockers ("Chicago") and the album's designated weeper ("Last Leaf") to the point where it seems as though Keef wouldn't hesitate to become Waits' full-time henchman if only he could somehow divorce himself from Sir Mick. What he must surely recognize is that Waits at this moment is the embodiment of American music's renegade spirit, and Bad As Me puts all of those elements on full display.
FeaturesAug 21, 2015
Fred PennerAll My Children
It's been a good while since Fred Penner was on television, but these days, he's having a bit of a moment. He plays festivals regularly; he'...
FeaturesAug 20, 2015
The Exclaim! QuestionnaireCarly Rae Jepsen
Carly Rae Jepsen could have been a one-hit wonder. When the British Columbian singer/songwriter released a single titled "Call Me Maybe" ...
FeaturesAug 19, 2015
Coeur de pirateMap of the Heart
"All my fears and anxieties and all that crap that humans go through — I didn't face them because I was so busy putting my energy into...
NewsAug 19, 2015
Destroyer Explains the Diverse Sound of 'Poison Season'
Dan Bejar has been releasing music as Destroyer since the '90s, but his career hit a new high with 2011's Kaputt. That stunning album catapu...
NewsAug 18, 2015
Five Noteworthy Facts You May Not Know About the Libertines
Propelled by the electrically charged creative partnership between Peter Doherty and Carl Barât, the Libertines may have only released two s...
NewsAug 17, 2015
Beach House's Song Remains the Same, and They're Pleased
Since they formed 10 years ago, Baltimore's Beach House — Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand — have carved out a simple yet signat...
NewsAug 14, 2015
Rocketship Talk 'A Certain Smile, A Certain Sadness' Reissue, New Album
In the annals of 1990s indie pop, Sacramento, CA's Rocketship weren't the most prolific act, but what they did produce has remained timeless...
NewsAug 13, 2015
Coeur de pirate Explores the Tumult That Led to 'Roses'
"I went through things that I never talked about on my other two records." That's all about to change. Béatrice Martin, who records as C...