Tom Waits addresses the Internet age 

  • Courtesy photo

It’s always amusing when art comments on itself, or its own surroundings.

So leave it to brainy, laconic composer Tom Waits then, to follow the online leaking of information about his then-under-wraps new album — “Bad As Me,” due Oct. 25 — with a satirically dubbed “Private Listening Party” last week. Online. Which was flooded with so many hits, it wound up crashing the server on his official website. And — oh, the irony — it was essentially a 3-minute-plus video in which Waits, seated at an office desk, periodically played snippets from new songs like “Chicago” while taking acerbic potshots at our decidedly nonprivate digital age.  

The clip — viewable at, along with a stream of the album’s title track — is absolutely hilarious.

“Chicago” is playing when an antique phone on Waits’ desk rings, and his face clouds with worry. “Well, we have a situation here,” he says to the camera, muting his own music. “Apparently there’s no such thing as ‘private’ anymore. It’s an Internet thing, where they say that it’s gonna go out everywhere, into the bloodstream.”

And so it did. And pork-pie hats off to Waits for the scathing social commentary. It’s a lesson more folks should understand as they giddily update their Facebook status every hour and overshare personal information. You are never anonymous online.

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Tom Lanham

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