1977’s Foreign Affairs is Tom Waits at his most big budget and nostalgically cinematic. The filmic feel is exemplified by the forties style epic Potter’s Field and Bette Midler duet I Never Talk to Strangers. It's heavily string and brass laden when the singer’s not mostly alone at the piano, as on standout Burma Shave. The furthest Waits would go in this direction, though Barber Shop hints at his ramshackle, bellowing future.
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7/10 Jack Customer review, 26th January 2018
A lot of critics accused Waits of repeating himself on Foreign Affairs. I think they overlooked a new approach by Waits. This is especially apparent from Potter's Field and on. Waits seems to pick up on this new approach as it is followed up on his next album Blue Valentines. Foreign Affairs isn't as strong as his previous albums. It might be that Waits, too, was a little tired of sticking to his old act. That is why the album seems a little confused. Any transitionally period is hard and despite the flaws Foreign Affairs is still a great album.
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