Bad as Me - Tom Waits

Universal acclaim - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 40
  2. Negative: 0 out of 40
  1. 90
    Even as he enters his 60s, Waits still sounds as lively and as cagey as ever, indulging both his most brazen and his most sentimental urges to upend all of our expectations.
  2. Jan 3, 2012
    Though Waits holds a reserved seat in the small club of artists who don't put out bad albums, the whiff of wild youth hangs around Bad as Me as if it was recorded in back alleys, behind churches, and in bars after hours.
  3. Bad As Me is yet another sensational landmark on the long, well-traveled path of a man who simply refuses to age.
  4. Oct 31, 2011
    Co-written and produced by his missus Kathleen Brennan, Waits' songs--Bad as Me included--find their center immediately and stick like a record's skip.
  5. Oct 19, 2011
    A work of pure, true genius.
  6. 90
    Going back to the well is generally frowned upon, but given the depth of Waits' well and the crispness and vitality drawn from it on Bad As Me, it hardly seems to warrant criticism that he has chosen to rummage through his past and revisit what he never had the heart, or mind, to throw away.
  7. Oct 25, 2011
    Bad As Me sees the performer reaching back into his bag of tricks to pull out a few favourites in a characteristically exhilarating, terrifying, heartbreaking, tear jerking, bone-rattling style.
  8. 91
    Without abandoning his classic formula--junkyard percussion, loose-limbed blues licks, and that unmistakable mouth-of-hell baritone--Waits keeps pulling switcheroos out of his porkpie hat on his 20th album.
  9. The three strongest tracks on Waits's most rocking album ever all feature not just Keith Richards but Tom's drummer son Casey.
  10. Oct 25, 2011
    The fact that he can produce an album like Bad As Me, with more energy, invention and sheer excitement that artists half his age stands as testimony that Tom Waits remains one of the true giants of music.
  11. Oct 25, 2011
    It's Waits' best album since Rain Dogs, and may possibly be even better than that--only time will tell, but it will be time well spent.
  12. Oct 24, 2011
    The whole thing is a bit ramshackle, but when he listens to his wife, Bad as Me is as good as anything Waits has ever done.
  13. Oct 24, 2011
    For all his indulgences, Waits never lingers too long; these tracks are concise and expertly edited, and Bad as Me feels as new as it does ancient.
  14. Nov 16, 2011
    Throughout it all, it still feels like essential, singular Waits, like moody and manic are two sides of one very marked coin.
  15. Oct 25, 2011
    Bad As Me is entry-level Waits for newcomers, and for longtime fans it's a fun reminder of Waits' ability to be a badass when necessary.
  16. Oct 25, 2011
    Bad as Me, his first album of new material in seven years, is a tour de force of wise ol' swagger and new-century blues.
  17. 100
    An album which contains no filler at all, each track blooming in its own way like a collection of strange desert succulents, with a whole lot of hollerin' and a touch of Lieber-Stollerin'.
  18. Bad As Me is as good as it gets.
  19. Oct 20, 2011
    The wild, rattling bawlers are each distinctively turbocharged with reckless and richly textured energy, while the ballads run poignantly on their rims, leaking emotion.
  20. Dec 6, 2011
    At this moment, Bad As Me might be his best ever. [Nov 2011, p.68]
  21. Nov 3, 2011
    It's an album from a songwriter at the peak of his powers, having tempered his imaginatively destructive impulses with his affection for all things old, rough, and beautiful.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 66 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 15
  2. Negative: 2 out of 15
  1. Oct 25, 2011
    The 61 year old Waits releases his 17th studio album and it is perfect. Since 1973 the singer songwriter has reinvented himself numerous times, and continues to create the Tom Waits persona. The three additional songs are essential and fit into the rest of the album quite nicely. Full Review »
  2. Nov 5, 2011
    A great album, and an accessible Tom Waits album for fans and newcomers. Not quite as noisy and eccentric as his last album, but still pretty cool nonetheless. I'd rank this as one of his most listenable without losing his edge. Great stuff. Full Review »
  3. Oct 30, 2011
    Tom is Tom. On first listen of this album i thought it would be a lesser Tom, so many styles. Mule variations is prolly my least favourite of his. This, though, is great... its like Orphans condensed to one disc sized collection. We've got rockabilly Tom, piano drunken Tom, whispered ballad Tom, wild cacophonous Tom...all in one pocket sized bag of magical **** the man!!! Full Review »