Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Blood Money

In 2002 Tom Waits released the album Blood Money as a musical interpretation of Woyzeck by Georg Buchner. The album includes the songs that Waits wrote for Robert Wilson's stage production of the play nearly a decade earlier. For the most part the album stands alone and makes very few direct references to the Woyzeck story or characters. Marie is the only one who is referred to by name and it could be any nameless lover that Waits is referencing.

All the songs fall into Wait's characteristic experimentalism and cannot be pigeonholed into any single genre. The album does a very nice job of expressing the sentiments and themes of Woyzeck in a modern voice. The lyrics deal with extreme bitterness and anger towards oppression. The commentary of the album is very powerful when it is played side-by-side with an understanding of the story.

The challenge: re-read Woyzeck, listen to Blood Money, and think about how the two relate to the state of the poor and voiceless in our world today.

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