STYLE: Roots/Acoustic RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 7199-6972 LABEL: Columbia 4748572 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Jonathan Bellamy
In attempting to review the new Bob Dylan album I have to admit to being a little in awe of the task. I feel compelled to only heighten his 'legendary' status with a whole host of superlatives -arguing that his genius must surely be beyond our mere mortal understanding of musical enjoyment - but, if truth will out, I must confess to being less than impressed and can only suggest that cuddly Bob's latest brew of nasal monotony will not be everyone's cup of tea. Maybe he's just getting old but you get the feeling his heart really wasn't in this. The once passionate delivery has given way to a voice that seems trapped in an hourglass, holding back on any sense of emotion or feeling. Whilst even the sleeve pics portray him as some kind of pessimistic travelling undertaker. This is probably the exact mood Bob wanted to create however, for the songs themselves are all traditional blues numbers that comment on and often lament the decline in society's moral standards, each one pointing like an ace to today's gloomily corrupt world. (Bob calls it the "New Dark Ages".) Musically the album becomes interesting from track 4 - the line "I've got blood in my eyes for you babe" conjuring up all types of scenarios. "Broke Down Engine" is a grabbing track too, much speedier than most and Bob even indulges in a bit of rap - well, knocking on the side of his guitar! There's some great mouth harp on "Stack-A-Lee" and the heavier acoustic strums on "Jack-A-Roe" are very welcome whilst the song "Delia" is very sad and for perhaps the only time on the album offers us a Bob Dylan that is truly compassionate - one that does not simply proclaim moral decline but actually feels for those caught in its grip.
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