Tom Waits: Blue Valentine



Two welcome changes in style made Blue Valentine a fresh listening experience for Tom Waits fans. First, Waits alters the instrumentation, bringing in electric guitar and keyboards and largely dispensing with the strings for a more blues-oriented, hard-edged sound. Second, though his world view remains fixed on the lowlifes of the late night, he expands beyond the musings of the barstool philosopher who previously had acted as the first-person character of most of his songs. When Waits does use the first-person, it’s to write a „Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis,“ not the figure most listeners had associated with the singer himself. The result is a broadening of subject matter, a narrative discipline that makes most of the tunes story songs, and a coherent framing for Waits‘ typically colorful and intriguing imagery. These are not radical reinventions, but Waits had followed such a rigidly stylized approach on his previous albums that for anyone who had followed him so far, the course correction was big news. — by William Ruhlmann

1.Somewhere [From West Side Story] (3:53)
2.Red Shoes by the Drugstore (3:15)
3.Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis (4:33)
4.Romeo Is Bleeding (4:52)
5.$29.00 (8:15)
6.Wrong Side of the Road (5:14)
7.Whistlin‘ Past the Graveyard (3:17)
8.Kentucky Avenue (4:49)
9.A Little Bullet from a Pretty Blue Gun (5:36)
10.Blue Valentines (5:50)


She sends me blue valentines
All the way from philadelphia
To mark the anniversary
Of someone that I used to be
And it feels just like there’s
A warrant out for my arrest
Got me checkin in my rearview mirror
And Im always on the run
That’s why I changed my name
And I didn’t think you’d ever find me here

To send me blue valentines
Like half forgotten dreams
Like a pebble in my shoe
As I walk these streets
And the ghost of your memory
Is the thistle in the kiss
And the burgler that can break a roses neck
Its the tatooed broken promise
That I hide beneath my sleeve
And I see you every time I turn my back

She sends me blue valentines
Though I try to remain at large
They’re insisting that our love
Must have a eulogy
Why do I save all of this madness
In the nightstand drawer
There to haunt upon my shoulders
Baby I know
Id be luckier to walk around everywhere I go
With a blind and broken heart
That sleeps beneath my lapel

She sends me my blue valentines
To remind me of my cardinal sin
I can never wash the guilt
Or get these bloodstains off my handa
And it takes a lot of whiskey
To take this nightmares go away
And I cut my bleedin heart out every nite
And I die a little more on each st. valentines day
Remember that I promised I would
Write you…
These blue valentines
Blue valentines
Blue valentines

put a dead cat on the railraod tracks
when the wolf bains blooming by the tressel
and get the eyeball of a rooster
and the stones from a ditch
and wash em down with bilge water
and say you’ll never snitch
take the buttons from a yellow jacket
the feather from a buzzard
and the blood from the bounty hunters cold black heart
catch the tears of a window
in a thimble made ofglass
tell your mamaand your papa
theycan kiss your ass
poison all the water in the wishin‘ well
and hang all them scarecrows from a sycamore tree
burn down all those honeymoons
put em in a pillow case
and wait next to the switch blades at the amusements park for me
strangle all the cristmas carols
scratch out all you prayers
tie em up with barbed wire
and push them down the stairs
and i’ll whittle you a pistol
for reepin‘ nightmares off the blinds
those sunsabitches always seem to sneak up from behind
syphom all the gas from your daddys pickup truck
fill up jonnys t bird
i got a couple bucks
put on little perfume and ribbon in your hair
careful that you don’t wake up the hounds
tear a bolt of lightning
off the side of the sky
and throw in the cedar chest
if you want me to tell you why
bring the gear shift knob from a 49 mere
and lay down here beside me
let me hold you in the dirt
and you’ll tremble as the flames
tear the throat out of the night
sink your teeth into my shoulder
dig your nails into my back
tell that lettle girl to let go of my sleeve
you’ll be awoman when i catch you
as you faqll in love with me

then with my double barrel shotgun
and a whole box of shells
we’ll celebrate the 4 of july
we’ll do 100 mph
spendin‘ someone elses dough
and we’ll drive all the way to reno
on the wrong side of the road

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