Now, there’s lot to take in when it comes to the music of Tom Waits. His deep and somewhat uncompromising voice which traverses across multiple different genres from jazz to experimental blues.
An avid reader and a student of cinema, Waits not only explores different genres in his music but travels the world in his expansive lyrics. While the words in which Tom Waits writes are often both profoundly cynical and melancholic, the musician has always focused on the underside of society while never shying away from paying homage to some of his biggest influences.
One of Waits’ lyrical influences, Bob Dylan, became the subject of an interactive map to track some his most iconic songs over the years and, when Swedish website builder and all-round Tom Waits fan Jonas Nordström noticed the map, he decided to do the same. “I’m a member of a Tom Waits mailing list where someone suggested ‘we should do one with Tom.’ And I did,” he noted on Twitter. While Nordström claims to just build “fluffy stuff with WordPress,” his skills have been transferred into global encyclopaedic knowledge of Waits’ lyrics.
From referencing his then surroundings in an unfavourable part of downtown Los Angeles in the 1980s, to “Hong Kong drizzle on Cuban heels,” the map of Waits’ work is both a fascinating and insightful trip around the globe with Waits’ words ringing in your ears.