15 Days of Halloween: What’s He Building In There?

Tom Waits should need no introduction, but for those of you whose musical taste hovers between J-Pop and Raffi, allow me this quick field guide.

  • First Ballot Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee
  • Known for a mix of tongue-in-cheek, emotional, and dark lyrics; also, his tailpipe sounding voice
  • Writer of songs made famous by other performers:
    • “Jersey Girl” – Bruce Springsteen
    • “Ol’ 55″ – The Eagles
    • “Downtown Train” – Rod Stewart
    • “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up” – The Ramones
    • “The Long Way Home” – Norah Jones
  • Actor in a number of films:
    • Mystery Men
    • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
    • Dracula
    • Seven Psychopaths

Now that I’ve cleared up any confusion, this brings us to one of his eeriest songs: “What’s He Building In There?”

A spoken word song accompanied by a haunting orchestra of horror movie sounds. Waits builds anticipation throughout its entirety, pulling in the listener as he discusses the strange neighbor who must be up to something, yet Waits cannot tell what.

It is the ideal background music for those late nights where you can’t sleep, the midnight spooks are whispering between the grass blades, and a single light illuminates a shadowed figure in a distant window.

The perfect kind of night for the 15 Days of Halloween.


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