Oh man, I can imagine what Bob Dylan fans must've been thinking in the early-70's. Up until he released Planet Waves
in 1974, there had only been one 'normal' Dylan album that entire decade. That was 1970's New Morning
... the other three albums were two weird covers albums, and a soundtrack album.
But those fans needn't have lost faith, a comeback was inevitable! And here it was in 1974, when Bob Dylan started being normal again. Moreover, he recruited The Band to play with him and - as I'm sure we all realize by now - The Band positively ruled. Granted, they were well past their peak by 1974, but as far as instrumental ability goes there were few better than these guys.
So why aren't these songs thrilling the pants off of me? As a Bob Dylan fanboy, shouldn't I be gushing over these things?
Yes, this album has a handful of gush-worthy bona fide classics on it, but unfortunately it's not loaded with them. The best song on the album is surely “Forever Young”, which is still widely-loved to this day, to the point that it's the theme song of a TV show that's currently in production called Parenthood
. The lyrics are simplistic but they sort of hit me squarely in the chest. The melody is soaring and memorable, while Dylan's tattered vocals seem precisely suited for it. I'm not sure why he did this, but he recorded the song twice on this album and put them back-to-back. The first one is the best one - the atmospheric and contemplative ballad. However, the second one (still good!) is upbeat and dancey.
I also love the song that opens the album, “On a Night Like This”. Again, Dylan seemed to have long passed his days of putting complex poetry in his lyrics, but these are quite elegant (On a night like this, so glad you came around. Hold on to me so tight and heat up some coffee grounds. We got so much to talk about, and so much to reminisce. It sure is right, on a night like this.
) But you don't have to pay attention to the lyrics if you don't want, because the instrumentation is snappy and the melody is catchy.
by Reviewer: Don Ignacio
(blogging at Don Ignacio's Album Reviews