Bob Dylan’s always been one of my favorite artists. But, while I liked his albums that covered folk songs the past few years, and I thought 1989′s No Mercy was a decent album, I thought he was well past his prime as a singer/songwriter of powerful, moving songs. Well, this album – easily one of his best – proves me wrong.
The lyrics are as sharp as anything he’s written. There’s plenty of lost love in these words, and a writer trying to find a place in a world where he doesn’t fit. It’s an artist, defending his record and trying to find contentment. The songs supply lines like “I hear the clock tick,” “it’s not dark yet, but it’s gettin’ there,” “…when I’m gone you will remember my name,” “I wish someone would come and push back the clock for me,” and more with similar sentiments.
Through it all, Dylan sings with a clarity we haven’t heard from him in years. And the production and guitar work of Daniel Lanois, along with Duke Robillard and Robert Britt, support Dylan’s fine writing.
It all adds up to a spooky, brilliant album that easily fits into my top 10 of the decade. I never really thought I’d be saying that about another Dylan album.
There was a lot of hype about this album. And, guess what? For once, it was true. Nothing against Jakob, but if you think he can write, check out dad.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s Jan. ’98 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.