C Λ V I Λ / turntablism

Archive for June 21st, 2010

Tom Waits – Heartattack And Vine

by on Jun.21, 2010, under Cavia666

Heartattack and Vine” is a song from the Tom Waits album by the same name. The song describes the difficulties of life in the crime-ridden parts of Los Angeles, California (Cahuenga is a street in Los Angeles and the local bus system was formerly known as the RTD).

The song makes use of many double meanings and local references (street names, bus system, and colloquial drug slang), often alluding to the fact that nothing is sacred in that part of the city (“there ain’t no devil, there’s just God when he’s drunk”) and how people who moved there from other places looking for a better life end up prostitutes (“Well I bet she’s still a virgin but it’s only twenty-five ’til nine, you can see a million of ’em on Heartattack and Vine.”) and drug addicts (“Boney’s high on china white”) and would have been better off staying in their hometowns (“better off in Iowa against your scrambled eggs, than crawling down Cahuenga on a broken pair of legs”).

The song makes numerous references to the insufflation of cocaine and heroin (“…china white”, “taste of madness” and “let’s do another line”) and prostitution (Cahuenga is a double entendre meaning both the street in Los Angeles and an unusually large male sex organ).

Original album version:

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