Nov 08, 2022
By Matthew Berlyant
It’s almost impossible to think about this album without also thinking about Blood Money, also released by ANTI- on the same day in 2002. Following the 2017 reissue, which marked this album’s 15th anniversary, this 20th anniversary edition (which is paired with a reissue of Blood Money as well in various colors) on “metallic gold” vinyl is the first release of this classic Tom Waits opus in double LP form, though it should be noted that its contents take up only three sides, with the fourth and final side being an etching.
One could argue that at only 48 minutes in length, a three-sided, double LP edition wasn’t necessary, but that would be missing the point. It sounds and looks great. Alice, also based on a much earlier play written by Waits and adapted by Robert Wilson (the same pair responsible for Blood Money) dating back to the early ’90s, can be thought of as a moodier, at times more romantic, and perhaps even sadder cousin of Blood Money’s relentless misery and pessimism.
Among the many highlights are side two opener “Poor Edward,” a tribute to the titular Edward Mandake. Featuring several dozens musicians (including, notably, Stewart Copeland on “Table Top Joe”) and engineers with a different lineup on every track, it sounds remarkably cohesive and stands as one of Waits’ greatest works. (www.tomwaits.com)
Author rating: 8.5/10
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