Heartattack and Vine
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Tom Waits's hipster persona began to evaporate at the beginning of the 1980s, but not before he released the transitional-- but eminently worthwhile--Heartattack and Vine, which contained "On the Nickel", a Dickensian tale of street life, and "Jersey Girl," a song Bruce Springsteen gave a far wider airing to on his Live 1975-1985 box set. You can hear hints of Waits's style growing more trenchant on songs like "Downtown" and the stark, bluesy title track, which contains the immortal line "Don't you know there ain't no devil / That's just God when he's drunk." Indeed. --Daniel Durchholz
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Top Customer Reviews
Where "Closing Time" had a unique mix of jazz, country, and a smattering of blues, "Heartattack & Vine" plays a harder blues style throughout most of the CD. The songs that steal the show, however, steer away from that raw-blues style.
"Jersey Girl" is an acoustic piece that is an atypical Tom Waits love song. The surprise is that it is a love song by Tom Waits without sarcasm, pining or regret, yet it sounds very much like Tom Waits. And while not a sad song, it is still quite the tearjerker. Perhaps this is because of Waits' gutteral character singing all-out vulnerable worship for the blue-collar Jersey Girl he has fallen in love with. One of the greatest love songs ever written.
"On The Nickel" contains probably the most devastating and beautiful lyrics I have ever heard. "The Nickel" refers to a section of Fifth Street in Downtown Los Angeles that was gathering place for the homeless and down-&-out folks during the depression era. The song is the title score for the 1980 film by Ralph Waite. The music rings like a childrens' lullaby, with the words harking to the days when these now hapless "Nickel" characters were just little boys running amok and making mischief.Read more ›
trust me, you'll feel like Tom is right there with you. I used to play this album daily at a bar I worked at in Edinburgh Scotland. Those crazy drunkards really loved it to death, which says alot more than any review here can.
Waits sequenced this album like a gourmet chef who knows the delicacy of the musical pallate. The songs will fluctuate effortlessly from swamps of electric guitar and funky drum beats, as on the unforgettable title track, to some of his most memorable piano ballads ever. If you like his more agressive music, get this album, if you like the softer side of Tom Waits, get this album too. Something for everyone.
The album's clear dividing line between rock and jazz foreshadows the more theatrical output to come, such as the baffling Swordfishtrombones of 1983 or the downright cryptic Bone Machine of 1992. Heartattack and Vine is the gem in between periods of Wait's career, and it is an absolute obligation for anyone who wants to know why this musical madman has one of the most loyal cult followings in the world.
Most recent customer reviews
I had just about given up on trying to find any new music worth listening to. I had heard some of Tom Wait's stuff before but I hadn't really gotten into it for reasons I won't go... Read morePublished on Dec 3 2009 by Gerald B. Johnson
If you don't have ``Small Change'' and for some unknown reason refuse to get it, then HeartAttack & Vine is the quintessential Tom Waits. Read morePublished on Aug. 17 2008 by John R. Vokey
There is no other album, except perhaps Thunder Road which moves me as much. Tom Waits has a talent for making even the most mundane, simple, cliched words become poetic. Read morePublished on July 15 2004
For those of you who haven't experienced Mr. Waits before, please allow yourself to get past the wickedly raspy vocals before judging this genius (much as you would Bob Dylan). Read morePublished on Dec 23 2003 by Rollie Anderson
If push had to come to shove and I was forced to choose just one definitive album above all others to keep forever - this would be it. Read morePublished on Dec 29 2002 by Russell Harris
This was the place I discovered the magic of Tom Waits. I appreciate his flowing ballads more than his talking blues style, and this album has plenty of both. Read morePublished on Dec 3 2002 by Peter Uys
Funny, I've got tons of CD's and tapes, but this is the one
I listen to every day. Just gotta have my "Jersey Girl," "On The Nickel," "Saving All My... Read more
Heartattack and Wine foresees the radical changes that Waits were gonna make in his music in the 80's. You can feel traces of more experimenting lineup and vocal. Read morePublished on Nov. 25 2001 by Christian Jorgensen
I read about this album 15 years ago and bought it without ever hearing a song. It was one of the best investments I ever made. Read morePublished on Aug. 20 2001 by eric blair