A Shot of Love (1981)


 
1. Shot of Love 2. Heart of Mine 3. Property of Jesus 4. Lenny Bruce 5. Watered-Down Love 6. The Groom's Still Waiting at the Alter 7. Dead Man, Dead Man 8. In the Summertime 9. Trouble 10.Every Grain of Sand

 

For the most part, the 1980s weren't particularly kind to Bob Dylan. Occasionally he would put out a strong album, but a lot of his work was mired in muck. It shouldn't be surprising when you consider that Dylan was "really" a sixties artist, and the sixties and the eighties would prove to be as different as night and day. Yes, the album cover is quite ugly, but the overall album is one that sort of sits on the fence in terms of listenability. There are some great things, some awful things, and a lot of so-so things.

First, he's still in his Born Again phase. This album is generally considered the last of his Christian "trilogy". Fortunately, the lyrics overall are the best where areas of religion are concerned. The songs are mostly upbeat with a strong message that's obvious he's singing about his savior, but the preaching is toned down significantly from the overt messages of his last two albums. Sadly, it's the music that suffers somewhat this time. The band is pretty loose, yet many of the songs come across as a bit heavy and cacophonous. Adding Dylan's signature voice to the mess really only makes things a bit more muddled. Stylewise, it's miles apart from Slow Train Coming in other words. And that's too bad.

There's one true gem on the album, the closer Every Grain of Sand is such a refreshing change from the rest of the album. It doesn't really sound that different from everything else here, it's just....well...a very good song. And those are rare here. Other highlights are the catchy The Groom's Still Waiting at the Alter, Property of Jesus and Heart of Mine. He's starting to pull away from his strict dogmatic approach, which was probably pleasing to most of his fans. Sadly, the worse song on here seems completely out of place, the tribute to the recently deceased controversial comedian, Lenny Bruce. it's a slow, almost dirge like tune that is pretty awful.

The rest of the album is so-so. It stays mostly upbeat both musically and lyrically. It's just a shame that more of the songs here don't resonate quite as well as some of the others.

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