Buttkickin’ Halloween Songs: “Little Drop Of Poison” — Tom Waits (1997)

Did the devil make the world while God was sleeping
Someone said you’ll never get a wish from a bone
Another wrong goodbye and a hundred sailors
That deep blue sky is my home…

Tom Waits… man. With his inimitable vocal stylings, you could go with any one of a zillion of his songs and it would be spookified enough to be included on our Halloween playlist. Patton Oswalt once described the Devil as sounding like Tom Waits gargling hot asphalt. That sounds close enough.

But I’ve always enjoyed the uncomfortable awesomeness of Little Drop Of Poison, a 1997 song taken from the soundtrack album to The End Of Violence. Wim Wenders films are pretty nightmarish in and of themselves, but that’s a probiotic for another bacterial imbalance.

But listen to that tune! It has that offbeat, seemingly discordant tango motif going on, evocative of the agonizing madness conquering the narrator. He dances with despair Latin-style, as he watches his world decay while confined within the clutches of solitude.

The combination of dripping piano, warbling horns, distant chimes, and a haunting wail woven throughout the verses conjures so many images of the macabre, of insanity, of unsettling loneliness, it utterly belongs on any self-respecting Halloween playlist.

If you ever wonder what a lonely ghost sings to himself upon watching his still-warm corpse hanging from the rafters, it could very well be this one.

She left in the fall, that’s her picture on the wall
She always had that little drop of poison…

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