Bawlers, on the surface, is every bit as soothing as Brawlers is abrasive. But for all the gentle piano and brass embellishments, the mood is far from serene, inhabiting the bittersweet, sentimental borderline between a bender and hangover. Given that this sound goes back to Waits' earliest days, the timeframe is wider here than elsewhere in the set, yet it holds together with a late-night woozy consistency while veering from AM-radio jazz ("You Can Never Hold Back Spring") to folk ("Widow's Grove"), and intimate ("World Keeps Turning") to show-stoppingly anthemic ("Never Let Go", "Down There By the Train"). More than any other disc, Bawlers is proof that Waits can pull these kind of nightclub-act songs out of his derby hat at will, able to channel the archetypal piano-man character with minimal effort.
- Released: 06/15/2018
- Format: Vinyl