Meaning of After You Die by Tom Waits

In October 2011, American rock musician Tom Waits released Bad as Me, the seventeenth album in his extensive discography. The album was a success, received critical acclaim, sold well, and was even nominated for a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album.

The deluxe edition of the album contained three bonus tracks. One of them was the composition After You Die.

After You Die – Tom Waits Song story

In an interview with The Observer, Tom briefly spoke about how the song was written, but did not explain what the song After You Die is about. The reporter asked if the author listed in the text of the work what prevents him from falling asleep at night.

The musician replied:

Well, I think so, although this song came about just as a riff. I used rhyming verses, swapped them: “Like a jail door closing, like a male girl dozing…” And so on.

Release and achievements

The single After You Die was not released. Only the songs Bad as Me and Back in the Crowd were released in this format from the album.

There is also no official video for After You Die, so you can just listen to the famous song by Tom Waits.

Lyrics of After You Die by Tom Waits

Like a tin can feeding
Like a skinned hand bleeding
Like a tramp choir crying
Like a campfire dying
Like a big dog breeding
Like a pig hog feeding
Like a top hat tipping
Like a dropped rat skipping
Like a tin horn glowing
Like a gin storm blowing
Like a neck tie flapping
Like a rich guy clapping
Like a big fool crawling
Like a rig tool falling
Like a back door squeaking
Like a crack girl tweaking
What is it like?
What is it like after we die?

Like a string that’s broken
Like a thing that’s smoking
Like a blue flame burning
Like a new brain learning
Like more cold coffee
Like a poor old softie
Like a declining graveyard
Like a shining brave star
Like a child that’s fainting
Like a wild ass painting
What is it like?
What is it like after we die?

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