Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Tom Waits: Bad as Me [Anti-, 2011]
The three strongest tracks on Waits's most rocking album ever all feature not just Keith Richards but Tom's drummer son Casey--Richards alone doesn't rock as hard. Not to equate Casey Waits with Charlie Watts. But since "Chicago" invokes the Great Migration and "Satisfied" namechecks Mick Jagger himself, I believe the grooves on this album are thematic. Of course, the themes are thematic too. The carpet-bombing "Hell Broke Luce" and the one about bailing out millionaires while the rest of us murk around in the mud are low-life chronicles for a time when it would be stupid to ignore the historical connection between low-life and poverty per se. A-