Closing Time, Tom Waits’ first album, was released in 1973, while other artists like Tony Orlando and Dawn were writing tunes like “Tie a Yellow Ribbon,” which resurged in popularity after the 1981 release of hostages in Iran. Meanwhile, there was Tom Waits, putting out his first album which far surpassed the musical mediocrity of the time. I’m not trying to say that the “Tie a Yellow Ribbon” song is terrible, but it pales in comparison to the depth, and richness of all of the songs on Closing Time.
Closing Time, in my opinion, is one of the best albums Waits ever recorded. Playing like an old-timey, slow blues or jazz album, Closing Time contains lots of horns, piano accompaniments and Waits’ trademark gritty/sexy vocals, which made their mark on this first effort. His later albums (such as the Island released favorites), however, seem to have a more rugged, mature voice to them.
This album is evidence of just how talented Waits was from the get-go. Closing Time was full of great detailed songs about loneliness, being cautious about love, reflections on past choices made, and love (both falling in and out of love). Many musical genre influences were pulled for this debut album, such as country (“I Hope That I Don’t Fall in Love With You”), rock `n roll (“Ice Cream Man”), blues (“Midnight Lullaby”), and jazz (“Virginia Avenue”), which all add to the glow, and amazement of this album.
Tom Waits is a musical genius in my eyes. He is always trying to evolve, pushing his strengths into different areas of his music over the last 30 years. Before his acting career, and soundtrack making days, he made a little album called Closing Time the firs entry of the impressive resume that is his life.
Similar Albums/Albums Influenced:
Randy Newman – Good Old Boys
Rickie Lee Jones – Rickie Lee Jones
Joni Mitchell – Court and Spark