Tom Waits

Beautiful Maladies: The Island Years

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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Tom Waits' brilliance is messy -- he has so many ideas that sometimes unrealized songs are juxtaposed with moments of greatness on his albums. That may make for the occasional uneven record, but each album has its own distinct tone that makes it a unique listening experience, whether it's a masterpiece or a missed opportunity. And that's the reason why his work, especially his sprawling Island albums, doesn't lend itself to retrospectives like Beautiful Maladies: The Island Years. On the surface, the collection looks promising. The single disc features 22 tracks from Swordfishtrombones, Rain Dogs, Franks Wild Years, Big Time, Bone Machine, and The Black Rider, including such familiar and celebrated items as "Hang on St. Christopher," "Innocent When You Dream," "I Don't Wanna Grow Up," "16 Shells from a Thirty-Ought Six," and "Downtown Train." Some fans might spot missing favorites, but it's hard to fault the selections themselves -- if it weren't for the fact that they all sound somewhat disjointed when separated from the original albums. Because of this, Beautiful Maladies is a little odd -- it's not a bad sampler, but it isn't necessarily a good introduction since the songs don't sound like they belong together. The curious may want this as a sampler, but if you wind up liking Waits, you won't be satisfied with anything other than the original albums.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Tom Waits 02:42 SpotifyAmazon
2 Tom Waits 03:51 SpotifyAmazon
3 Tom Waits 03:45 SpotifyAmazon
4 Tom Waits 03:21 SpotifyAmazon
5 Tom Waits 01:51 SpotifyAmazon
6 Tom Waits 02:45 SpotifyAmazon
7 Tom Waits 03:36 SpotifyAmazon
8 Tom Waits 03:08 SpotifyAmazon
9 Tom Waits 02:27 SpotifyAmazon
10 Tom Waits 01:51 Amazon
11 Tom Waits 02:43 SpotifyAmazon
12 Tom Waits 04:16 SpotifyAmazon
13 Tom Waits 01:33 SpotifyAmazon
14 Tom Waits 03:29 SpotifyAmazon
15 Tom Waits 03:35 SpotifyAmazon
16 Tom Waits 03:25 SpotifyAmazon
17 Tom Waits 02:53 SpotifyAmazon
18 Tom Waits 03:49 SpotifyAmazon
19 Tom Waits 04:32 Amazon
20 Tom Waits 03:18 SpotifyAmazon
21 Tom Waits 04:00 SpotifyAmazon
22 Tom Waits 02:30 SpotifyAmazon
23 Tom Waits 03:53 SpotifyAmazon
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