Real Gone

  • Record Label: Epitaph
  • Release Date: Oct 5, 2004

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. Real Gone is another provocative moment for Waits, one that has problems, but then, all his records do.
  2. Overall, the album doesn't show quite the range that some of his previous works have done, but if you enjoy Waits, you're definitely not going to go wrong here.
  3. Blender
    Waits returns to spare storytelling. [Oct 2004, p.130]
  4. Real Gone... is Waits’ grittiest work to date and is an excellent introduction, for those unacquainted, to his hard-boiled thirty-year run.
  5. Real Gone is incredible because of its songs, some of which stand among Waits' finest work.
  6. Reliably odd, then, but unexpectedly moving, too: the best Tom Waits album, all told, since 1992’s “Bone Machine”.
  7. Tough going and very samey, both in sonics and lyricism. Even if you enjoy the basic template, you may well run out of steam before the end.
  8. Much of Real Gone has been stripped so bare instrumentally that its heavy accumulation of rhythmic noise -- manipulated groans and grunts (“Metropolitan Glide”) what sounds like a cracking horsewhip (“Don’t Go Into The Barn”) -- establishes a sustained, bristling mood that electrifies particular songs but bogs down the album as a whole.
  9. 100
    Slapping his knees, spitting and grunting, Waits makes the already raw blues sound of songs like "Metropolitan Glide" and "Trampled Rose" sound even more grizzled.
  10. Entertainment Weekly
    Often riveting--and even a little gangsta. [8 Oct 2004, p.114]
  11. Filter
    Another smartly executed step into the strange grandeur of Mr. Waits. [#12, p.94]
  12. When you boil Real Gone down to its tracks, you’ll keep finding more reasons to love this man – more than anything, you can sense his easy grin.
  13. Mojo
    His first, full-tilt protest record... he comes out swinging, in every respect. [Oct 2004, p.110]
  14. New Musical Express (NME)
    'Real Gone' is not by any means easy listening. It is, though, possibly a new type of music. [2 Oct 2004, p.64]
  15. It lurches along like a junk-heap jalopy, unsteady and unsafe, bits flying off in every direction, stopping, starting, and bouncing in pain.
  16. Planet
    A spastically raw and cacophonous basement record. [#8, p.79]
  17. In ‘Real Gone’s fearsome complexity of rhythm, lyric and device, Tom Waits appropriates like a shoplifter without much time, and creates something entirely his own. A new music.
  18. Real Gone leans on nail-bending percussion and swagger in a manner that recalls Bone Machine's metallic binge more than the recent theatrics of Alice or Blood Money.
  19. Q Magazine
    Some of the most awkward, unapproachable music he's made. [Nov 2004, p.128]
  20. Rolling Stone
    Waits retains his knack for recruiting world-class musicians... who can play like they're falling down the stairs of hell. [28 Oct 2004, p.98]
  21. A noisy, stamping, querulous assault on the senses that could have certainly benefited from more than a little editing.
  22. Spin
    Totally grimy. [Nov 2004, p.118]
  23. Real Gone may not rock your world in the way that 2002's musical one-two punch of Blood Money and Alice did, but you'll still be glad to hear it.
  24. A semi-bizarre and semi-wonderful example of twisted, melted country-blues-psyche-pop oddballness.
  25. Real Gone is haunted-house music that invites listeners in for some shared uneasiness, but never lets them settle for long.
  26. There is plenty that is remarkable about Real Gone.
  27. Like an altar built of barbed wire, scrap metal and broken glass, "Real Gone" hammers ungraceful materials into something like beauty.
  28. The Wire
    A set of powerfully written and unfussily executed songs. [#248, p.50]
  29. All the idiosyncrasies which either drew you to Waits or repelled you from him are present, and many songs hold a resemblance to past gems.
  30. Uncut
    Waits is still taking more risks than most US 'singer-songwriters' of his generation, and parts of this album rock righteously. It's just that some of Waits' musical modes... have been done before, and much better. By him. [Nov 2004, p.110]
  31. Under The Radar
    The album feels only like an extension of the Alice / Blood Money plateau, rather than a new height for the artist. [#7]
  32. The result is a kind of compactness: a guttural groove so tight it helps Waits come off as a giant.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 31 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. Hein
    May 4, 2006
    Forget all your fucked up 80s revival bands. This is the real sugar!!!
  2. PaulS
    Oct 9, 2004
    I'm always saddened by the fact that so many people feel a need to define and/or review an album based on previous releases. Comments I'm always saddened by the fact that so many people feel a need to define and/or review an album based on previous releases. Comments like; "well, it's similar to Bone Machine, but..." or "Different from Alice and Blood Money, but..." I think this is because professional reviewers are somewhat unimaginative and it's easier to define by comparison than actually review the album on its own merit. Real Gone is a great album, truly one of the most unique listening experiences in years. Tom Waits maintains his title as "king-of-the-risk takers" by throwing everything up against the side of the barn and seeing what sticks. In this case, most of it does, in a beautiful, tragic and more than a little funny, way. This is a "screaming in the car" album if ever there was one. Enjoy it. Full Review »
  3. sophiastar(israel)
    Oct 11, 2004
    one more original, chaleging, smart, and highly beautifull albume for mr.waits to put in my collection! highly recomended to those who have one more original, chaleging, smart, and highly beautifull albume for mr.waits to put in my collection! highly recomended to those who have their ears tuned up the right way!! Full Review »