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Foreign Affairs

Tom Waits Audio CD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 10.26 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Foreign Affairs + Small Change + Blue Valentine
Price For All Three: CDN$ 32.30

  • Small Change CDN$ 12.70
  • Blue Valentine CDN$ 9.34

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought


Product Details


1. Cinny's Waltz
2. Muriel
3. I Never Talk To Strangers
4. Medley: Jack & Neal/California, Here I Come
5. A Sight For Sore Eyes
6. Potter's Field
7. Burma-Shave
8. Barber Shop
9. Foreign Affair

Product Description

Amazon.ca

Welcome to the hipster blues. By the time of this 1977 recording, Tom Waits had fully transformed himself into a musical character actor from another era, caught somewhere between Raymond Chandler and the Beat Generation. His vocals here are some of the most mannered performances this side of Bukowski (and probably had something to do with the movie roles he won in the coming years). His use of strings on some of these tracks can occasionally drift dangerously close to schmaltz, but that's easily compensated by such highlights as his duet with Bette Midler on "I Never Talk to Strangers" and the breathless melodrama of "Burma-Shave." Cool. --Steve Appleford

Product Description


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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A slight hint of change June 13 2003
Format:Audio CD
Foreign Affairs seems to be a very fitting title for Waits' 4th studio album. As I noted earlier, Tom Waits perfected his shtick on Small Change. Foreign affairs is actually the start of the metamorphosis that would continue on his next two albums until a full fledged transformation with Swordfishtrombones(1983).
The first part(side 1 on the old vinyl record) finds Waits sticking to his guns. Cinny's Waltz is an is an instrumental, but this time we also see the addition of violins.
Muriel is another Waits song about a lost love. Although nothing is wrong with the song per- se it doesn't match Waits' earlier songs touching this subject.
I Never Talk To Strangers is a singles bar duet with Bette Midler and has a clever and funny text. Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassidy is remembered on the track Jack & Neal. One of the albums highlights comes next. A Sight for Sore Eyes starts with an intro that uses the notes from Auld Lang Syne and then catches on as one of Waits' most memorable bar stool ramblings of his career.
Then there is a change in direction. The almost 9 minute long Potter's Field is a quite different song a kind of jazz noir. On Burma Shave we find a traditional scenario: girl meets mysterious stranger and takes off with him in his Ford Mustang. But the roles are blurred. You're not really sure about who is leading and who is following. A great song with a tragic end. Barber Shop is a jazz beat song. Foreign Affair is a song that sounds like Bad Liver and a Broken Heart.
A lot of critics accused Waits of repeating himself on Foreign Affairs. I think they overlooked a new approach by Waits. This is especially apparent from Potter's Field and on. Waits seems to pick up on this new approach as it is followed up on his next album Blue Valentines.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A slight hint of change June 13 2003
Format:Audio CD
Foreign Affairs seems to be a very fitting title for Waits' 4th studio album. As I noted earlier, Tom Waits perfected his shtick on Small Change. Foreign affairs is actually the start of the metamorphosis that would continue on his next two albums until a full fledged transformation with Swordfishtrombones(1983).
The first part(side 1 on the old vinyl record) finds Waits sticking to his guns. Cinny's Waltz is an is an instrumental, but this time we also see the addition of violins.
Muriel is another Waits song about a lost love. Although nothing is wrong with the song per- se it doesn't match Waits' earlier songs touching this subject.
I Never Talk To Strangers is a singles bar duet with Bette Midler and has a clever and funny text. Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassidy is remembered on the track Jack & Neal. One of the albums highlights comes next. A Sight for Sore Eyes starts with an intro that uses the notes from Auld Lang Syne and then catches on as one of Waits' most memorable bar stool ramblings of his career.
Then there is a change in direction. The almost 9 minute long Potter's Field is a quite different song a kind of jazz noir. On Burma Shave we find a traditional scenario: girl meets mysterious stranger and takes off with him in his Ford Mustang. But the roles are blurred. You're not really sure about who is leading and who is following. A great song with a tragic end. Barber Shop is a jazz beat song. Foreign Affair is a song that sounds like Bad Liver and a Broken Heart.
A lot of critics accused Waits of repeating himself on Foreign Affairs. I think they overlooked a new approach by Waits. This is especially apparent from Potter's Field and on. Waits seems to pick up on this new approach as it is followed up on his next album Blue Valentines.
Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Waits unleashed March 26 2002
Format:Audio CD
Small Change was the culmination of Tom Waits's piano/strings/barstool philosopher hijinxs, and Foreign Affairs, his next album, is more of a transitional album than it is given credit for. Waits clearly felt the need to branch out somewhat, as he did less subtly on his next two albums leading up to the full-on re-invention of Swordfishtrombones. He had been delivering Beat-worthy jazz raps for several albums by this point, but Foreign Affairs was the first album where the music seemed to matter quite as much as the lyrics. It opens with the beautiful instrumental, Cinny's Waltz, and the music is strong throughout - from the tinkling piano of A Sight For Sore Eyes to the lush orchestrations of Potter's Field. As I mentioned, Tom was branching out a bit at this point, and, thus, the album is a bit schizophrenic by nature. The first half of the album mostly consists of fairly concise (for Tom, anyway) ballads - such as the quaint Muriel; the duet with Bette Midler on I Never Talk To Strangers (on which her vocal is horrendus in my opinion, but doesn't ruin the clever lyric); and the nice song A Sight For Sore Eyes. The second half of the album, on the other hand, consists mostly of long, drawn out acid jazz raps - such as the 8 and 1/2 minute schizo freak-out masterpiece Potter's Field, and the witty, Burma Shave. Jack & Neal (the title characters being two of Tom's more obvious Beat predecessors) is another one of these songs. It is true that, if you like any of Tom Wait's 70's album, then you will enjoy all of his records at least through Heart Attack & Vine (my advice if you like them is to just grab 'em all up: you'll be addicted), but this is a particularly nice, and somewhat distinctive one, for several reasons. It's perhaps the best of his early albums musically, and it features perhaps his best free-form jazz raps - including some of his most hilarous lyrics (Jack & Neal being an absolute "laugh out loud.") Reccommended for any Waits fan.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Reasonalbly underatted, but still essential.
I can see why this is the least "known" of Wait's many recordings. It come's after his masterpiece "Small Change" and what I feel his next masterpiece... Read more
Published on March 4 2004 by Anapanasati
4.0 out of 5 stars Certainly not his best work, but ...
Even though I wouldn't rate this as Waits' best work, it's still a must-have. Of course, I think that all of his work is worth owning; he is the greatest songwriter living today. Read more
Published on Nov. 16 2002 by Jay DeKing
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant . . . Until It Runs Out of Gas . . .
I'd rate this right up there with Blue Valentine as the best of the pre-Swordfish records. The first side, especially, can be listened to over and over again (the first side ends... Read more
Published on May 21 2002 by W. J. Heaphy, Jr.
4.0 out of 5 stars A Must buy
This album is one of the best in a large collection of work from Waits. The album is worth the money for one song "California, here I come" a 5 min. Read more
Published on Nov. 16 2000 by Chris Slavensky
4.0 out of 5 stars Burma Shave
It looks like Tom Waits just took a small break between creating two genuine masterpieces "SMALL CHANGE" and "BLUE VALENTINES". Read more
Published on Sept. 19 2000 by M. Grigoryan
4.0 out of 5 stars great cd, but not his best
I love every album Tom has made, but in my opinion this should be one of the last you buy. It's got some great songs (especially Burma Shave)but the album as a whole seems... Read more
Published on Dec 26 1999 by Big Jilm
5.0 out of 5 stars A seemingly forgotten masterpiece
I like 'Foreign Affairs' more every time I listen to it, and I get cravings for it when I haven't heard it for a while. Read more
Published on Oct. 2 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars A musical tour de force, the pinnacle of Waits!
Foreign Affairs wanders across nine tracks, exploring lonely souls, capricious youth, bar pick-ups, haircuts, and billboard advertisements for shaving. Read more
Published on Oct. 2 1997
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