Infidels (1983)


 
1. Jokerman 2. Sweetheart Like You 3. Neighborhood Bully 4. Licese to Kill 5. Man of Peace 6. Union Sundown 7. I and I 8. Don't Fall Apart on Me Tonight

 

One of his most consistent albums in a very long time, and arguably his best work from the 1980s. Generally considered his first "return to secular" album, people started to embrace him again since he became a bit too preachy for many a few years back. Throughout the decade, however, Dylan would never become the icon he was twenty years ago. Younger people growing up probably would wonder exactly what all the fuss was about when listening to his music, and even the hardcore fans of the sixties weren't exactly queuing up to buy his new records.

This album sounds very focused. Amongst his backup musicians are ex-Rolling Stone Mick Taylor and Dire Straits guitarist Mark Knopfler. It seems that everything that Knopfler would touch while recording with Dylan would turn to gold, and this record is no exception. Although defined as "secular", this album has religious imagery scattered throughout. It's fair to say that many of the topics are more aligned to historical Judaism (his birth religion) as opposed to the born again fervor of recent releases. Neighborhood Bully is a scathing attack of the Arab hostilities toward Israel, and Man of Peace is a warning about that old adversary known as Satan. Even the title of the album seems to bear some concealed hostilities that Dylan, himself, might have felt the best few years ("Infidels" is a term that sometimes means "unbeliever").

He even made a music video to the leadoff single Jokerman that, although basically strong, isn't exactly Dylan's cup of tea. Videos, that is. The song itself is very strong. He shows his brilliant, tender side on the closer Don't Fall Apart on Me Tonight and Sweetheart Like You is a big strength as well. The only song that suffers a bid from mediocrity is the tepid I and I.

This record does have a bit of an eighties feel to it. No jarring synthesizers, and nothing you can dance to, but the music sounds a bit "crisp" and the guitars are a bit jingly, but the record is strong and the songs are great. It's too bad it would be awhile before he would put out something again of this calibre.

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