Blood on the Tracks (1975)


 
1. Tangled Up in Blue 2. Simple Twist of Fate 3. You're a Big Girl Now 4. Idiot Wind 5. You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go 6. Meet Me in the Morning 7. Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts 8. If You See Her, Say Hello 9. Shelter From the Storm 10.Buckets of Rain

 

After the decade of the 1960's came to a close, Dylan's releases were always somewhat of a mixed bag. You never really knew what style he would pursue, what genre he would emulate, and you never really knew whether or not his upcoming record would even be any good. With this album, whether or not he intended to or not, he managed to surprise everyone by putting out arguably his best album ever. And that claim still stands true over 40 years later. True, the radical 1960s were gone, so Dylan's music and lyrics didn't seem to be "as heavy", or be of much importance to any generation whatsoever. Depending on who you believe, he never really felt comfortable with that monicker anyway - so it's no surprise that in the "me" generation, he was singing about...well, himself.

Not to say this is a greedy or egotistical album, he was just making music that sounded good to him and if some people didn't care for it, well, that was too bad. On this album, it just so happens that these tunes are arguably the most accessible set of songs he would ever release. The production is clean, the singing sounds strong (as strong as it could, that is. Singing was never Dylan's strong point), and he just sounds as though he's making a conscious effort to be sentimental and tug on our heart strings without being schmaltzy.

The whole album is filled with beautiful, well known songs. What Dylan fan doesn't know and love Tangled in Blue, Idiot Wind and Shelter From the Storm? Sadly, he was going through a divorce at the time, so many of those feelings are laid bare here, but the record never seems bitter. Remorseful, maybe - but there have been tons of great pop songs that originated in similar circumstances, so maybe it shouldn't be a surprise that this album is as beautiful as it is.

The album does have a bit of a "country" feel, but you could use that same label to somewhat describe everything he's done since 1968, yet this album doesn't sound like anything he's done during that time frame. Perhaps "country" is too broad of a term. I'm not sure how else you could describe the rollicking, country fair-ish Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts which is probably the most underrated song that he's ever recorded (With all of the alternate studio and live versions of his many songs, I'm surprised I've never heard another version of this masterpiece.)

The overall feel of this album is so pleasant, that it serves as one of those rare releases by Bob that non fans should be encouraged to listen to, since the melodies are so heartwarming and listener friendly. Maybe it's better to say that this album just sounds like Dylan. At his best, that is. Yes, he still was a genius. We just didn't see it quite as frequently as we once did. It does show here, however, in a very mighty way.

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