It's pointless to try labeling Tom Waits. One minute he is cruising down a musical dirt road, enjoying the scenery of the devil's opera and grimy blues. Then he turns right and rides along a highway of heartache, surrounded by lost loves and empty dreams. A sharp left finds him heading into uncharted territory -- a noisy, dissonant, but compelling journey that must be experienced.
On Orphans, Waits mines his musical psyche and gives the world a profound peek into the mental machinations of his life. Neatly divided into three semi-thematic discs, Orphans encapsulates and defines his incredible career, and opens the dungeon doors to expose the scattered remnants of his craft. Mostly unreleased, some picked from various compilations, some sounding like nothing he has given before, each of the 54 (plus two hidden) tracks stands on its own. With no song history, time frame or information, you are left to draw your own conclusions. None needed, it's Tom Waits.