343 of 1001 Albums: Tom Waits’ Nighthawks at the Diner

The audience was tiny who set in to hear the live recording of this album, and the front cover probably reflects much of the atmosphere of the recording session for it. Waits third album is this live one, Nighthawks at the Diner. What makes the album special to most is how Tom Waits captured the jazz club atmosphere in this small setting, and you feel like you’re almost traveling back to the 50s.

“Emotional Weather Report” is the first song after the intro to kick off the album, and you will instantly find out if Tom Waits style is to your liking or not. He is probably one of the most unique artist you will hear with his bluesy voice, and jazz style that sounds more like storytelling than singing. The music is more so to match his style of making his voice sound like a rhythm than anything. To be honest it’s reminiscent of poetry.


Waits voice does capture you thought, and there is something relaxing about it. The music doesn’t change tempo too much, so you sort of have the same general sound throughout though, which may cause it to become a little old. It’s also live so there are random moments of things being said that don’t seem to make sense, and seem more enjoyable if there within the moment of what is happening instead of being a listener outside of it.

Waits has a lot of personality though, and you can hear it strongly through his album. He includes a lot of his own choice words, and you can hear a lot of his own opinions strongly voiced in is music. “Nobody” will be another song you walk away remembering though from the album as it is one of the stronger ones included during the live session.

Tom Waits might be acquired taste though as his music is very narrowly targeted. He sort of does his own thing though, and that is quite admirable. Mostly, it just seems enjoyable to him, and in return that reflects to the audience listening to it. The album was one of his more successful ones at the time, but still didn’t give him the breakthrough as an artist just yet on the Billboards.

Rating 5 of 10
Recommended Listen: Nobody

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