Saved by Bob Dylan

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Saved by Bob Dylan
Saved by Bob Dylan

Album Released: 1980

Saved ::: Artwork

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1.A Satisfied Mind1:57
3.Covenant Woman6:02
4.What Can I Do For You?5:54
5.Solid Rock3:55
6.Pressing On5:11
7.In The Garden5:58
8.Saving Grace5:01
9.Are You Ready4:41


I remember reviewing this album a long time ago and panning the ever-loving mercy out of it (after all, pretty much anyone 'respectable' pans this record).

This is the second of Dylan's infamous born-again trilogy, except this time he didn't have chug-happy Mark Knopfer along to keep things interesting. Thus there's not much else for this album to do except suck. Also not helping matters is that Dylan had started writing lyrics that were so preachy they were more reminiscent of the songs you'd expect to hear from sideshow preachers than the usual brilliant thoughtful things Dylan had written in his prime.

I was hoping to listen to this album today and have a wildly divergent viewpoint, but alas my tastes just aren't that weird. I find this album's legendary suckiness to be outright deserved. Though with that said, I like the title track, which is frantic Gospel. Maybe I like it for the wrong reasons - I mean, it's hilarious - this wheezy-voiced cultural icon I imagine as clad in a white suit, singing with a full Gospel choir behind him. If I didn't know his conversion to Christianity was serious, I would've thought he was joking (By his grace I have been touched, by his word I have been healed. By his hand I have been delivered, by his spirit I have been sealed).

Where Dylan really disappoints is on ballads like “Covenant Woman”. The instrumentation is loose and sloppy, like Dylan ballads ought to be, but there's little I can take from it. I mean, it's listenable enough as background music, but if I wanted to listen to background music, I'd rather listen to every song recorded by America that didn't appear on their Greatest Hits album. At least they were prettier. The exception is the penultimate track “Saving Grace”, which manages to capture my attention quite well, and is essentially the only song I like for what I think are the right reasons. That is, Dylan creates a rather warm and cozy vibe, and the melody is almost memorable. The lyrics continue to be quite bland unfortunately, but I imagine I'd find them acceptable from anyone other than Dylan.

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by Reviewer: Don Ignacio (blogging at Don Ignacio's Album Reviews)

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.

Whilst Saved 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.

Saved 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.

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by Reviewer: Adrian Denning (blogging at Adrian's Album Reviews)