Tom Waits

A week of songs: day four

OK, so thanks to the Facebook chain post doing the rounds, I’m doing that song-a-day-for-a-week thing where I post a song I like and write a bit about it. You should do it too, eh? (Seriously, if you like the post, go write your own, and tell me in the comments, as I’d like to read your picks.)

This is day four. My pick for day four is a song that I have for years kind of thought was a personal anthem: Tom Waits’ “Goin’ Out West”.

This is, as with many others, a song I’d heard on Rage one late evening. This wasn’t the first Tom Waits song I’d heard. I had some of his earlier stuff, I think perhaps the two Early Years albums which were very acoustic, and much more singer-songwriter. But this. This. Look at the filmclip – a guy who looks kind of like a monkey plays a midget guitar with a brakeman’s glove, in a world where everything is on fire. He high-kicks, singing about some kind of pornographic Big Rock Candy Mountain life that’s better out west, in the land of suntans. He’s not a bit player, baby – he’s a leading man, a lover man, a ruler and a fighter. Power chords fade in and out beneath tremolo guitar, while the percussion sounds like (and probably was) someone beating the shit out of furniture.

Later on, he gets devil horns. What the fuck was this? (more…)