Mark Bautz
June 29, 1998 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Beautiful Maladies: The Island Years

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
performer
Tom Waits
genre
Reissues

We gave it an A

This scruffy troubadour is best known for his lyrical depictions of lowlife malaise. But the surprise on this 23-song collection from his seven Island albums (spanning ?83 to ?93) is the genius of the music. Using calliopes, Balinese metal angklungs, accordion, banjo, mellotron, and more, this Dylan of the disconsolate has created what is arguably the decade?s most compelling and original body of work.

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