For those of you not privileged enough to be familar with Tom Waits, get to YouTube. His voice sounds like a chain-smoking viola being played with an unwashed cheese grater by an angel. His music, lyrics, and his unparalleled ability to tell a story rank him up there with the better known musical geniuses like Bob Dylan or Joni Mitchell. (Not to say, of course, that Waits hasn't achieved well-deserved renown or commercial success.) As you can tell, I'm a bit of a fangirl, so I was very pleased to discover this complete map of places in Tom Waits songs. From 17th and Wazee in Denver to Yonkers, from Singapore to Bangor, it's all there, complete with lyrics to better orient you, physically and musically.
I am really, really embarrassed to say that my first encounter with this living legend was via the Shrek 2 soundtrack. Yeah. This fact sort of takes away any of the hipster cred I may receive in being a Tom Waits fan in the first place. But while my initial foray into the rich and wondrous world of Mr. Waits was hugely uncool (especially since Shrek 2 came out when I was in college), doubt not, gentle readers, the sincerity or depths of my love. The day after I heard "Little Drop of Poison", I ran out to Borders and bought Rain Dogs. (This is, of course, back when both Borders and buying CDs were still things.) I've been obsessed ever since.
And you can waste endless, glorious hours of your life perusing all the spots near you...
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to spend the rest of my night watching fan-made music videos of some of my favorite Waits songs. I suggest you do the same.
Images: Getty Images; Tomwaitsmap.com