Real Gone - Tom Waits
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Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 25 Ratings

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  • Summary: Fans of his acclaimed 2002 pair of discs will have to settle for just one album this time out, co-produced by Waits with Kathleen Brennan. Marc Ribot and Les Claypool guest.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. 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.
  2. 90
    Another smartly executed step into the strange grandeur of Mr. Waits. [#12, p.94]
  3. A set of powerfully written and unfussily executed songs. [#248, p.50]
  4. Reliably odd, then, but unexpectedly moving, too: the best Tom Waits album, all told, since 1992’s “Bone Machine”.
  5. 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.
  6. The album feels only like an extension of the Alice / Blood Money plateau, rather than a new height for the artist. [#7]
  7. Some of the most awkward, unapproachable music he's made. [Nov 2004, p.128]

See all 32 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 15
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 15
  3. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. GernB
    Oct 4, 2004
    Waited so long for a new Tom Waits cd - and it's better than I imagined. Sounds like an old, drunk angel screwing me in the earhole. Perfect.
  2. JonH
    Oct 4, 2004
    Another wonderful album from a artist whose had so many already, for those that love bone machine this is a sequeal in a way.
  3. Hein
    May 4, 2006
    Forget all your fucked up 80s revival bands. This is the real sugar!!!
  4. JarnoL
    Oct 5, 2004
    Having read the reviews all over the internet, while listening to the CD (four times through now), I think that while most reviews have been (rightly) positive, some have obviously written their reviews after only one (if even that) listen. This is not a one-listen album. After one listen, it looks like a solid excentric effort, though ultimately not the best Waits can do - it may also sound sloppily produced at points. After the second listen, you start to "get" pieces, melodies vailed in the rythm of he more abbrasive songs, and a feeling creeps up that there are some masterpieces here.... After the third listen, the songs you may not have liked on the first listen, you look forward to. Also, the shock having waned, you start really listening to the ballads, and notice that there's great variety of moods on the album By the fourth listen you're Real Gone; the music's got you in it's claws, the cd's grown roots to the cd-player, and ain't gonna let go any time soon! A superlative addition to the Tom Waits catalogue. The impatient know not what they are missing. Expand
  5. 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 their ears tuned up the right way!! Expand
  6. 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 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. Collapse
  7. BenjaminS
    Oct 17, 2004
    Tom's strengths are in lyrics, songwriting, characterful singing and other forms of vocalizing, and aural atmospheres created in his music. On this album the lyrics are strong, the songwriting is more blues lines and gospel lines than melodic songs with a few exceptions, the characterful singing isn't close to the range of characters explored in previous recordings, and the aural atmospheres lack the surprises and depth of other releases. For the most part, this feels like Tom jamming rather than carefully crafting his music. Not his best effort, nowhere close to Alice, his most musically complex CD, or even in his Gospel/Folk/Coutry Blues does it range as far as Bone Machine or Mule Variations. Also, Circus doesn't belong on this recording. Just OK. Expand

See all 15 User Reviews