I see Tom Waits as having 3 "periods". His mellow bluesy, folky period, which this and Closing time are from. Then he went to his beatnik, Kerouac thing with some added blues and jazz which was Foreign Affair, Blue Valentine, Small Change, and Heart Attack and Vine. Then he went to his insane, original, way off the beaten path, anti-commercial period starting with SwordfishTrombones, Frank's Wild Years, and the rest of the later stuff, which got way too bizarre for me. If you like his later stuff you won't like this album if you are expecting the same thing. He hadn't even tried his Louie Armstrong 9 pack a day gravel voice yet on this album. I really like the songs on this album, which I think are his best, but many would probably disagree. I think he started out writing music that he thought people would like and gradually started caring less and less as his career spanned the decades. He really is one of the most talented artists ever to make a record and you have to admit he's a genius even if he might be "too far out there" to connect with, at least his later 90's stuff. This album is very tame compared to all the others, even his beatnik stuff. I don't think Tom ever had a Billboard top 100 song as far as I know, but a few songs on this album probably had the best chance of any of them. Well, as a conclusion, if you don't have a Tom Waits cd you really are missing one of the best writers out there!