Down in the Groove (1988)


 
1. Let's Stick Together 2. When Did You Leave Heaven? 3. Sally Sue Brown 4. Death is Not the End 5. Had a Dream About You Baby 6. Ugliest Girl in the World 7. Silvio 8. Ninety Miles an Hour (Down a Dead End Street) 9. Shenandoah 10.Rank Strangers To Me

 

The best thing you can say about this album is that it doesn't sound anything like his last few releases that were littered with too much eighties influence. This record has a much more straight-forward, generic feel that is quite refreshing and compliments Dylan's style very well. The downside to this record is that it sounds a bit haphazard - that he's trying to do too many things, too many styles and using too many different sets of musicians.

There's only about half original material here. You can't really tell, though, what's his and what's not, so that really isn't an issue. The record feels a bit of a giant pendulum - swinging all over the place so that you never feel like you're getting into.....well, I hate to use this word.....but a groove. Much of the material is very simple, and unassuming with riffs and melodies that are so-so. Nothing stands out as great, but as mentioned, a deep breath of fresh air to what he had recently released.

Other times it's a bit too over the top gospel-ish. Not necessary in the words, although one could argue that this is the most spiritual album he's done since his Born Again Christian phase (witness song titles like Death is Not the End and When Did You Leave Heaven?), but more in the lines of the music style, complete with female backing singers, and that large overbearing feel.

Had Dylan stuck to one particular style on the record, the results might have been a bit more satisfying and the results may have been measurably more appealing. As it is, the mediocre songs and the short length of the record makes you feel as if you've just eaten a pre-packaged diet dinner - it doesn't taste too bad going down, but it leaves you still feeling hungry and not completely satisfied when you're done.

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