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Music / Closing Time

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Will she remember my old voice, while I fight the tears?

Closing Time is the 1973 debut album by Tom Waits and his first release for the Asylum label, where he would bring out his first seven albums during his "drunk pianist" phase. The album is best known for such audience favorites as "Grapefruit Moon", "Ol' 55" (later covered by the Eagles), and "Martha" (later covered by Tim Buckley and performed on Saturday Night Live by Bette Midler).

Not to be confused with Semisonic's One-Hit Wonder song.


Side One

  1. "Ol' 55" (3:58)
  2. "I Hope I Don't Fall in Love with You" (3:54)
  3. "Virginia Avenue" (3:10)
  4. "Old Shoes (& Picture Postcards)" (3:40)
  5. "Midnight Lullaby" (3:26)
  6. "Martha" (4:30)

Side Two

  1. "Rosie" (4:03)
  2. "Lonely" (3:12)
  3. "Ice Cream Man" (3:05)
  4. "Little Trip to Heaven (On the Wings of Your Love)" (3:38)
  5. "Grapefruit Moon" (4:50)
  6. "Closing Time" (4:20)

Grapefruit tropes...

  • Album Title Drop: "I Hope I Don't Fall in Love with You".
    Now it's closing time/ the music's fading out
  • Always Night: All tracks have a midnight atmosphere, especially "Midnight Lullaby" and "Grapefruit Moon".
  • Anti-Love Song: "I Hope I Don't Fall in Love with You".
    Well I hope that I don't fall in love with you
    Cause falling in love just makes me blue
  • Counting to Three: The first and second track are counted off.
  • Cradle of Loneliness: Loneliness is a major theme.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: The main reason why the man in "Martha" phones Martha up again.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: "I Hope That I Don't Fall In Love With You".
    Well the music plays and you display your heart for me to see
    I had a beer and now I hear you calling out for me
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Those more familiar with Waits' later work may be a bit surprised to hear the singer with a clear, fine voice that isn't quite the raspy voice he'd become later. The music is also straightforward folk and piano music, far from the avantgarde arranged songs he'd write later.
  • Face on the Cover: Waits shown from a distance, but still in the center of the picture against a dark background.
  • Fool for Love: The man in "Martha" could be this, for actually trying to phone up a former lover from so many years ago whom he'd wished he had married back then.
  • Instrumental: "Closing Time", the final track.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: "Midnight Lullaby" riffs on "Song of Sixpence",
  • Mundane Made Awesome: "Ice Cream Man", a catchy ditty about an ice cream man.
  • Non-Appearing Title: The words "closing time" don't appear in the title track "Closing Time", which is instrumental, but they are sung during "I Hope I Don't Fall In Love With You".
  • Ode to Sobriety: The songs on this album all have a washed up drunk atmosphere.
  • One-Man Song: "Ice Cream Man".
  • One-Woman Song: "Rosie", "Martha"
  • One-Word Title: "Lonely".
  • Shout-Out: "Hush Little Baby" is quoted during "Midnight Lullaby".
  • Smoking Is Cool:
    • "Grapefruit Moon""Now I'm smoking... cigarettes" in "Grapefruit Moon".
  • Studio Chatter: Waits says: "O.K., let's do one for posterity" at the start of the instrumental version of "Closing Time".
  • Telephone Song: "Martha", mentioned below.
  • Time Marches On: Those of the cellphone generation may be confused by references to asking an operator for a phone number and a fee for a long distance call from 1973's "Martha."
  • Walking the Earth: The protagonist in "Old Shoes" decide to leave and go on the road again, for "my heart was not born to be tamed."
  • Weird Moon: "Grapefruit Moon", though it's mostly in the description.