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* JobSong: "I Can't Wait to Get Off Work (and See My Baby on Montgomery Avenue)" is sung from the perspective of a man who does odd jobs about how he wishes he was at home with the woman he misses.

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** "Step Right Up" is a cross between this and PatterSong. The words and even most of the sentences are not exactly nonsense ''per se'', but it's very clear that the narrator of the song is just stringing words together as rapidly as possible to keep your attention. For example, "We need your business, we're going out of business, we'll give you the business, get on the business end of our going-out-of-business sale"

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** Know Music/TheEagles' song "Ol' 55"? ... not so fast. Waits is not exactly a fan of the Eagles' take on it, which he regards as "fairly antiseptic".

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* TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt: "The Earth Died Screaming".

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* ImproperlyParanoid: The narrator of the poem "What's He Building In There?" is paranoid of his neighbor, with increasingly weird ([[ThroughTheEyesOfMadness maybe imagined,]] maybe not) factoids that present the neighbor as evil such as never waving as he passes, never watering his lawn, sending a lot of packages, supposedly working before in Indonesia, [[BreadEggsMilkSquick and the narrator swearing he heard someone moaning inside the house]]. The poem ends with the narrator saying "we have a right to know", meaning he's about to barge into the neighbor's house and get answers (whichever they are, of course, remains a RiddleForTheAges).


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* ''Film/QueensLogic'' as Monty.


His work can be divided into two periods, his jazzy, lounge singer period, lasting from the '70s to the early '80s, and the reinvented, experimental sound of 1983's "Music/{{Swordfishtrombones}}" album on, and his shift to a mysterious, Carnival-and-Sinister-Junkman persona. This shift was caused by his abandonment by Asylum Records, his breakup with Rickie Lee Jones and his marriage to his co-songwriter and muse Kathleen Brennan. Brennan introduced him to the music of Music/CaptainBeefheart, whose influence can be seen in "Swordfishtrombone" and later albums.

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His work can be divided into two periods, distinct eras: his jazzy, lounge singer period, lasting from the '70s to the early '80s, and the reinvented, experimental sound of 1983's "Music/{{Swordfishtrombones}}" ''Music/{{Swordfishtrombones}}'' album on, and his shift to a mysterious, Carnival-and-Sinister-Junkman persona. This shift was caused by his abandonment by Asylum Records, his breakup with Rickie Lee Jones and his marriage to his co-songwriter and muse Kathleen Brennan. Brennan introduced him to the music of Music/CaptainBeefheart, whose influence can be seen in "Swordfishtrombone" and later albums.


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Well, everyone seems to use the [[ReviewerStockPhrases cliched phrases like "whiskey soaked," "gravelly-voiced," "barfly," "hobo," "raconteur troubadour."]]

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Well, everyone seems to use the [[ReviewerStockPhrases cliched phrases like "whiskey soaked," "gravelly-voiced," "barfly," "hobo," "raconteur troubadour."]]
"whiskey-soaked", "gravelly-voiced", "barfly", "hobo", "raconteur", and "troubadour".]]

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* WeirdMoon: Mention of the moon, usually in a peculiar epithet like [[Music/ClosingTime "grapefruit"]] or [[Music/TheHeartOfSaturdayNight "blood-soaked"]], is something of a {{motif}} throughout his work.

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* ''Film/TheBalladOfBusterScruggs'' as Prospector


** A very strange example. ''Army Ants'' is taken from a book about insects, but the way he reads it, sounds like the ramblings of a ConspiracyTheorist.

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** A very strange example. ''Army Ants'' is taken from a book about insects, but the way he reads it, sounds like the ramblings of a ConspiracyTheorist. You know how some people can make reading the phone book sexy? Tom Waits can make reading the biology textbook sound like the diary of a deranged serial killer.

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* ''The Old Man and the Gun'' as Waller

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