Saturday, February 7, 2015

Bob Dylan - Shadows In The Night - Review

Bob Dylan ventures back in time with an unexpected covers album, and I don't think it's a stretch of the imagination to suspect the title itself is a clever play on words that recalls the golden voice of Frank Sinatra and his album titled Strangers In The Night.

The songs included here, were first made famous by Frank Sinatra, and many others long ago. These treasures from the golden age of song, are re-interpreted by Bob and his band and it's just a trimmed down nostalgia trip, not to remember.

Having always been a Dylan fan, it is difficult to dislike anything he's ever made with the exception of two or three albums over his entire career.

His previous album, 2012’s Tempest was one of those, while his 2009’s Together Through Life, I thought, despite generic session-man musicianship, was fantastic. But some things can not be improved upon and there are just some songs that should not be covered. Among those would be songs immediately identifiable with the late Ol' Blue Eyes himself.

In these modern times of ours and in an interview from a year a go Dylan said of himself and the sixties that although he was seen as the voice of a generation, he really never wanted that association.

Possibly, this covers albums is another reminder of that.

The ten songs featured on this album are generic in production, back to basics, versions of what are better remembered for their emotionally tugging orchestration and vocals. Ah...recalling the lush life, and then coming back to this latest Dylan effort, I too am fond of the classics, but this downsized effort only disappoints. His previous covers albums “Good As I Been To You” and “World Gone Wrong” were great, but the fault here is in trying to re-interpret a selection of songs known better by Frank Sinatra! It would be like Black Sabbath covering the Beach Boys or maybe AC/DC doing a covers album of Willie Nelson's Big Hits...just totally wrong, no matter how much he may love and respect the material, his style and voice don't fit. Pedal-steel guitar is no substitute for orchestral arrangements, The barely audible low key ensemble that would usually flesh out some second rate jazzy piece that include brushed drums, some double bass and the occasional brass are not very complimentary because these songs are all smothered with an awful country flavored pedal-steel and a voice that is better in the blues/rock genre than this. What a mess!!!

Many are rating this 4 stars, and there are many positive favorable reviews of this album, but not here!

Anyone writing positive reviews of this wreck, is either being paid to do so, delusional, sick in need of therapy or blindly stupid. This effort is, in every way, worse than bad. Maybe what burns me up most is that this is presented as a standalone new studio album. I would probably dismiss it more lightly if it were a part of his bootleg series, you know-the extras that fill in the gaps between his more profound original genius output. But this album gets no stars and may end up on a list of one of this year's worst.

There are many great Bob Dylan Albums and several that I will happily play over and again, but not this one. This album sucks! Heed my advice! Steer clear of this mess. If after reading this, you are still compelled to purchase, what will be 35 minutes of misery, then you deserve to get ripped off.

Quoting Mr. T - “ I Pity The Fool!”

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