Rain Dogs

Frank's Wild Years Trilogy: Part II

album cover

Year: 1985
Producer: Tom Waits
Label: Island

Rain Dogs offers a dangerous world, nasty for the tough sailors in "Singapore" ("Don't fall asleep while you're ashore"), infinitely sad for the hustlers of New York's "Union Square" and no fun at all in jail. The music is bony and menacingly beautiful, the desultory electric-guitar solo as cold as the rattle of marimbas in "Clap Hands." The evocative, elliptical rhymes describe scenes and characters with poetic precision but use atmosphere, not narrative, to connect them. Waits' expanded palette culls spy-movie jazz in the instrumental "Midtown," with the saxophone screaming, possibly, for its life to be spared. It's hard to hear "Downtown Train" without accepting the inevitability of Rod Stewart's Top Ten cover -- Waits must be used to strange bedfellows -- but it's quirky near-pop, the all-pro instrumentation pushing Waits' not-so-melodic but surprisingly flexible vocals out front, where his own peculiar freak flag, his big heart and his romantic optimism gloriously fly.

ARION BERGER- Rolling Stone Magazine (RS 907 - October 17, 2002)
Read the full review at Rolling Stone

*direct references to Frank's Wild Years

Links lead to lyrics and commentary

    Track Listing:
  1. Singapore
  2. Clap Hands
  3. Cemetary Polka
  4. Jockey Full of Bourbon
  5. Tango 'Till They're Sore
  6. Big Black Mariah
  7. Diamonds and Gold
  8. Hang Down Your Head
  9. Time
  10. Rain Dogs
  11. Midtown [instrumental]
  12. 9th & Hennepin
  13. Gun Street Girl
  14. Union Square
  15. Blind Love
  16. Walking Spanish
  17. Downtown Train
  18. Bride of Rain Dog (instrumental)
  19. Anywhere I Lay My Head