What a build-up: Tom Waits has spent the past week dropping hints about an announcement he had planned for today, and the Web was thick with speculation: Could it be a tour? New music? A concert cruise? Nope. Turns out it was the release of a new video for “Hell Broke Luce,” a scabrous, blackly comic anti-war song from last year’s Bad As Me. The clip was the source of various surreal images posted on Waits’ website last week, depicting the singer sporting an eyepatch and a scimitar, underwater flanked by boxy sharks (that turn out to be submarines) and poking an oversized spoon at a roaring fire.
Directed by Matt Mahurin, the video is as gritty as the song, as Waits pulls a small house through an arid, blasted landscape; over the ocean while surrounded by warring flotillas; and under water, trailed by boxy shark submarines.
Waits addressed the speculation over his clues in a statement: “As most of you guessed, it’s a tour . . . a tour de force!” The singer said he and Kathleen Brennan, his wife and songwriting partner, envisioned the song as “an enlightened drill sergeant yelling the hard truths of war to a brand new batch of recruits. The video grew from the gnawing image of a soldier pulling his home, through a battlefield, at the end of a rope. I think you will agree, it’s uplifting and fun.”