“Rain Dogs” is considered one of the finest efforts in Tom Waits’ long and varied career, and from the first seconds of “Singapore,” it’s easy to see why.
It’s so much fun and so good that I was asking myself why I had taken so long to hear it about 15 minutes into the running time.
Waits is in experimental mode here, with a concept loosely focusing on “the urban dispossessed,” a phrase that conjures to mind aimless spirits adrift in a city. They’re all strangers at the same party here, as Waits invites polka, blues, country and piano ballads all in the same room and tells them to mingle.
There’s a coherence in the chaos, keeping the listener perpetually on his or her toes like a prizefighter. The brevity of the songs – only two exceed the four-minute mark – lends to the disjointed madness of “Rain Dogs” as much as the mood and cohesion.
Swirling, experimental, messy and loud, “Rain Dogs” is an album I wish I didn’t wait to hear. You shouldn’t, either.
Our Music Year is Daily Republic popular culture writer Nick DeCicco’s yearlong online review in 2012 of albums he had previously not listened to. The reviews will appear in print on their corresponding days during 2013. Reach him at 427-6966 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ndeciccodr.