With Dylan's apparent conversion to Christianity, he just ignored any controversy it caused and carried on. Slow Train Coming
had done very well, but unfortunately for Saved
, the recording had to be squeezed inbetween tours. Nobody was particularly happy with the finished results, and Dylan simply moved on.
Where Slow Train Coming
has tasteful guitar licks and nice melodies, Saved
has no sweetly-played melodies to hold the listener's attention. The songs themselves aren't actually bad or anything, they just lack musical invention or imagination - the album sounds sluggish, it lacks musical fire, and Dylan's vocals are anaemic - all of which kind of takes away from their lyrical message.
The songs themselves are fine, and although they're nothing terribly thrilling, it wouldn't be hard to imagine them transformed into good songs, rather than just average ones. If more care had been taken, a little sugar coating say, I'm sure Saved
would've been better received than it was. The only thing it actually achieved was that it convinced everybody that yes, Dylan was serious about his new religious beliefs.
doesn't reach the heights of Slow Train Coming
, there's no particular need for listeners to be dismayed. Nevertheless, although Dylan sounds engaged on some tracks, the songs largely border on the bland side, with too much mid-tempo plodding from the musicians. So the album lacks enough highlights, with some material sounding as if it was originally quite spirited, but everybody lost the will to live midway through recording it.
comes across as a 'this will do' release from Dylan - after all, his albums have often given the impression he was just passing through on his way to something else. And - unfortunately for fans - now he'd entered the 1980's, they'd have to wait quite a while for that 'something else' to actually arrive.Rated:
by Reviewer: Adrian Denning
(blogging at Adrian's Album Reviews