Deakin University
Browse

File(s) under permanent embargo

‘We’re Just the Gravel on the Road.’ The Dissenting Music of Tom Waits

journal contribution
posted on 2023-04-26, 00:56 authored by A Tedde
This article proposes a historicisation of the songs of Tom Waits in the context of the social transformation of the United States in the era of neoliberalism. Through an analysis of music and lyrics–form and content, the article explores questions of poverty, materialism, social injustice, and other issues referable to the impact of neoliberal politics on everyday America. Those issues are particularly evident in the songs composed by the singer-songwriter with his wife and artistic partner, Kathleen Brennan, since the mid-1980s. Using a Rortyan framework, this study finds a place for the music of Tom Waits in the American protest song, arguing that it mirrors the fall of American society into extreme individualism and materialism, while celebrating the solidarity and human warmth of a utopian social hope.

History

Journal

Comparative American Studies

Volume

18

Pagination

322-336

ISSN

1477-5700

eISSN

1741-2676

Language

en

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Issue

3

Publisher

Informa UK Limited