“If you break open a song, you’ll find the eggs of other songs,” he told me. “Misunderstandings are really kind of an epidemic and acceptable. I think it’s about one thing, but someone else will say, ‘That song is kind of a rhino in hot pants on a burnt rocking horse with a lariat shouting, “Repent, repent!” ’ I think that’s great.”
…In the past thirty years, Waits, as a songwriter, has tried to retain a sense of craft while finding musical settings that take his compositions out of some nostalgic tar pit. On “Bad as Me,” he sounds like someone who knows the history of pop and uses only the bits he needs to make the hybrid creature that will carry him to safety. “I’m always looking for sounds that are pleasing at the time,” he told me. “The sound of a helicopter is really annoying until you’re drowning, and it’s there to rescue you. Then it sounds like music.”
I love the part about sounds changing their meaning. Wonderful.