Breeds of Misery: Loneliness, incarceration, drug abuse, self-delusion, being broke

Best/Worst Verse: "Hey Charley, for chrissakes, if you want to know the truth of it, I don't have me a husband, he don't play the trombone. I got to borrow money to pay this lawyer, and Charley, hey - I'll be eligible for parole come Valentine's Day."

Yet another American standard from the pen of Tom Waits, as sung by one of the finest voices of the 21st Century. One of my favorite things Neko Case has ever said was in the autobio on her old website: "As I grew into a young adult I was very confused and lacked direction. My parents very much wanted me to become a crack-whore, but I gravely disappointed them by graduating from college." Neko recorded this song in 1999, on the cusp of of widespread acclaim, and I sometimes think of it in context of the narrative of her developing art. Perhaps this is the voice of the child she thought her parents always wanted.

(If this isn't enough yuletide misery for you, check out last year in my Annotated Playlists.)

AuthorJohn Proctor