The Heart of Saturday Night
Closing Time was a very accomplished debut from Waits, and The Heart of Saturday Night continues in the same vein. Like the first album, it’s Waits with his least hoarse vocals and his most conventional songs, like a singer-songwriter with a background in jazz and blues, and an interest in seedy night-life. The Heart of Saturday Night less diverse that the debut, dwelling almost exclusively in jazzy piano ballads, but the songs aren’t as memorable.
Opener ‘New Coat of Paint’ is certainly a strong entry point to the album, upbeat with Waits’ pretty piano and optimistic lyrics. Waits goes into full singer-songwriter mode with the acoustic guitar on the title track, while on ‘Diamonds on the Windshield’ he’s reading his beat poetry over a walking bass line. ‘Please Call Me Baby’ treads well worn territory, but it’s pretty enough to work, and ‘Drunk On The Moon’ is another beautiful song.
In some aspects, The Heart of Saturday Night is effectively a lesser sequel to Waits’ debut, but there are enough strong songs to make it a worthwhile effort in its own right. Both of his first two albums capture a pretty, conventional aspect of Waits that he’d never show on record again.