Review - Beautiful Maladies: The Island Years

Artist: Tom Waits


Given pop music's typical career arc from visionary burst to mainstream fizzle, perhaps the rarest of creatures is an artist who over the years evolves into a place far more remote and extreme than where he started. After a decade as a lounge pianist, Tom Waits reinvented himself as an avant-garde showman rooted in Brecht/Weill opera and Captain Beefheart.

"Beautiful Maladies" documents the wondrous music Waits created after signing to Island Records in 1983. The collection draws from Waits' '80s albums -- "Swordfishtrombones," "Raindogs" and "Frank's Wild Years" -- with more recent soundtracks, theatrical scores and infrequent studio work filling in the remainder.

While it is easy to wholeheartedly recommend this music, the album's only shortcoming is that it cannot include everything Waits produced during these years. Do yourself an even greater favor by going back and collecting the individual albums.


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.