Blood On The Tracks
Columbia Records, 1975
REVIEW BY: Jeff Clutterbuck
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 01/17/2008
Bob Dylan is one of those artists whom people either seem to adore or despise. Even amongst the Vault staff there are, how do you say, differing opinions with regards to his skills. I tend to fall into the former grouping; his lyrical talent is beyond reproach and his voice works well for his material.
That being said, Dylan’s track record is just as full of misses as there are hits, despite what the 5,000 blowjobs Rolling Stone has given him would have you believe. The 70s were a particularly rough period in his career, though understandably -- what ground was there left for him to conquer, seeing as he had basically changed the course of popular music during the 60s?
Blood On The Tracks does not present anything “new” from Dylan. What the album represents is a hearkening back to his most cutting, incisive, and emotional songwriting in a very long time. Many fans view this as one of his more autobiographical albums, revolving around his personal issues that were going on at the time (his separation from his wife being the foremost.)
Not having listened to the album before our retrospective was announced, for me the most interesting aspect of Blood On The Tracks proves to be the production. This is most certainly an “electric Dylan,” and on the whole, the album is much smoother and well-defined than albums like Blonde On Blonde or Highway 61 Revisited; smooth is not an adjective I commonly use with Dylan, but it works here.
“Tangled Up In Blue” was the first single to come off the record, and finds Dylan crafting a pop hit; again the production is light and acoustic-driven, and the chorus actually contains a hook or two. For fans of classic Zimmerman, “Shelter In The Storm” will not disappoint, nor will “Simple Twist Of Fate.”
The praise heaped on Blood On The Tracks has been quite effusive, but with good cause. This record finds Dylan at his sharpest and most interested; it was a kind of therapy for him and a much needed one. Unlike his recent comeback albums, this one is both interesting and relevant to his career.
|Two reviews of this record and no shout-out to If You See Her, Say Hello or You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go. Just brilliantly beautiful songs. And Idiot Wind is a classic, heart-wrenching, anger-filled diatribe that is the emotional centerpiece to this classic album. A+|