[Editor's Note: I've enjoyed writing entries in my classic albums series, but as much as I want to revive the album as a musical delivery system, by doing so I have been neglecting the glory of singular songs. Ergo, I have a new series: Track of the Week.]
Tom Waits has spent the last thirty years distancing himself from his original personae and style, preferring sound experiments, jumpy rhythms, and distortion to his days as a drunken, piano-playing jazzbo raconteur. And truth be told, I think the album that marked this transition to something more challenging (Swordfishtrombones) is my favorite in his catalog.
That said, there are some nights when I'm too fatigued to be avant-garde. After a long day of educating teenagers and navigating the usual bullshit and politics, I need comfort in the form of a glass of bourbon and some soothing music. There is no better aural balm for times like this than Waits' early work, and no song more fitting than "Warm Beer And Cold Women." The title itself perfectly evokes the essence of everyday frustration, the feeling that it's just one damn hassle after another. 'Cuz once the bourbon glow leads you to bed, you still have to wake up the next day and face the same old shit all over again. It's the little moments like this song that keep it from getting unbearable.