At the age of 20, I was introduced to the world of Tom Waits with this album. It remains one of my favourites of his.
FWY did get some lukewarm critical response at the time of it's release, and there are things to be aware of before you buy it. First, if you don't like Waits, you will most likely deteste this one. And if you like, or even love Tom Waits, this still could be more Waits than even you can handle.
You see, this is an album where Tom Waits sounds like himself, and no one else. It's predecessor, "Rain Dogs", did have some radio friendly material. On FWY however, there is nothing that Rod Stewart could have turned into a hit.
The album was recorded and released in the mid 1980's. Tom Waits' calendar however, must have frozen around the year of 1955. Elvis, Beatles, psychedelia, folk rock, punk/New Wave, name any category of pop and rock music, no matter how obscure. When listening to this album, it is like none of that had ever happened.
Of all the people working in the field of popular music, Waits most definetely has the strangest, most peculiar musical taste. His favourite band is Salvation Army. Even how much he detests (and I think he does!) the development of rock music from 1956 and on, he seems to have the deepest respect for it's roots, like blues, bluegrass and jazz. Mix this up with some warped, twisted version of a Weimar Republic cabaret, and Waits' musical landscape is set.
Waits was accused for sounding like a parody of himself on this album, and really, he is a bit over the top on some of the tracks. The fact that it's a concept album, telling the story of Frank, is the only way he can possibly get away with a song like "I'll take New York".
Sure, this music isn't for everyone. But if you're tired of mainstream music, and want to hear something completely different, very talented music, FWY is warmly recommended. If you can't appreciate it, then make like a hockeyplayer and get the PUCK outta here!