Alice - Tom Waits

Universal acclaim - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 20
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 20
  3. Negative: 0 out of 20
  1. The album's songs do not attack you with bombast but rather smother you in a slow burn, like gathering frost suffocating a mournful shut-in.
  2. While the rest of pop culture infantilizes itself with cussing puppets and manufactured bands who willfully dangle like marionettes, Waits is serving up vintage brittle fusion and somehow breaking the law of diminishing returns. [Review of both Alice and Blood Money]
  3. 'Alice' finds the twisted surrealisms of Lewis Carroll's relationship with Alice Liddell offering both refuge and escape for the usual Waits suspects: vagabonds, low-lifes and beautiful lunatics.
  4. While there is nothing new on Alice, the songs he develops are well-structured, elegant and as bawl-worthy as ever.
  5. The melodies on Alice are easily the most direct Waits has written since Blue Valentine, but are more elegant than even those found on Foreign Affairs or Black Rider.
  6. Waits' ravaged voice surrendered all pretensions to melody ages ago; his throat is now pure theater, a weapon of pictorial emphasis and raw honesty.
  7. Some tracks are as disconnected as a David Lynch film, but no one does misery like this neo-blues hollerer.
  8. The sheer melodic gorgeousness of the finest songs here make Alice the pick of Waits's new matched set.
  9. 100
    I defy you to find a more elegantly shambolic, soulfully homespun and, indeed, heartfelt album than this.
  10. Tom Waits has never made an album quite like Alice before.
  11. Heartbreakingly delicate even on the up-tempo numbers, Alice contains some of Waits' career's most tender moments.
  12. 80
    Waits' voice has always been an acquired taste, but those on the bus will appreciate the way he throws himself into every track as if haunting the characters like some sort of lunatic guardian narrator.
  13. Alice is unique within Waits' unique discography, and it may be his most fully realized work. [Jul 2002, p.96]
  14. 100
    Waits does nothing predictable here, and the structure of even the most forlorn tear-jerker is ambitious and avant-something-or-other. [Co-Album Of The Month, June 2002, p.106]
  15. 80
    After decades, Waits's theater of musical cruelty is familiar stuff. But the old dog's tricks still have bite. [Applies to both Alice and Blood Money, Jun/Jul 2002, p.111]
  16. Its woozy title track, oddly sideways lyrics and often meditative vibe make it a strangely gorgeous and graceful work. [May 2002, p.114]
  17. You'd be hard-pressed to find sounds this spookily evocative anywhere outside the grooves of scratchy old 78s. [Applies to both 'Alice' and 'Blood Money,' 10 May 2002, p.80]
  18. 90
    Vaporous, layered, beautifully evocative, with moments of discordant madness. [Co-Album Of The Month [with 'Blood Money'], May 2002, p.94]
  19. The sense of loss and longing becomes so physical at points that rather than respond, it's simpler to go with it until the ride ends in a drained silence. [#219, p.72]
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 42 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 23
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 23
  3. Negative: 1 out of 23
  1. RichardP
    Dec 2, 2006
    Simply the greatest and most moving album i have ever had the pleasure to listen to.
  2. mark
    Nov 30, 2006
    there is no finer album in its genre, whatever that genre might be. waits is a little like psychoanalysis or lsd - until you have "experienced" it, there is no understanding it. Full Review »
  3. DanielT
    May 22, 2006
    This is indeed an unusual output from Toom Wiats, somehow underrated after its release and definately requires some patience whilst digesting. Still many of the songs are remarkeably well-written, and the overall result is excellent. One of the best albums from the "third period" of Tom Waits' music output. Notice 'Kommienezuspadt' and 'Poor Edward' in particular. The two songs sum up much of either side of his remarkeable musicianship. Full Review »