Saved (1980)


 
1. A Satisfied Mind 2. Saved 3. Covenant Woman 4. What Can I Do For You? 5. Solid Rock 6. Pressing On 7. In the Garden 8. Saving Grace 9. Are You Ready?

 

Non Christians beware. Whereas Dylan's first Christian album, Slow Train Coming was a melodic, introspective, somewhat quiet journey into the spiritual, Saved is an all out Gospel infused rock out. This is the type of music that one expects to hear in an upbeat Sunday morning church service, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but the problem here is that most of the songs come off as a bit tepid. Slow Train Coming may have been his first Christian album, but this record is his first Gospel album.

Listening to these songs, you can't help but feel that these songs don't belong to Dylan. I don't think it would be a surprise to anyone if it was revealed that these weren't original songs, yet covers of long forgotten gospel tunes. He sounds like he's trying too hard to be an African-American Worship Preacher, and when he croons with his famous whiny singing voice, it just sounds terribly out of place. These songs may have come across better had they been performed by other artists (a tribute by various gospel artists to his Christian material would appear about a quarter of a century later). The first half of the album doesn't sound too bad, even though the songs are covered in the above mentioned styles, but the album sounds old and tired quickly after that.

Another disappointment to the whole Dylan-Christian phase is that he never seemed to ever become the poet that he was during his hey-day in the sixties. A big reason Contemporary Christian music was never widely successful to the mainstream rock audience was the lack of poetry in the music (an exception to this rule would be a group like U2). There's only so many times you can use words and phrases such as "Jesus", "The Cross", "wash away my sin" and "He died for me" without sounding a bit redundant. One would think that a genius such as Dylan would have so much to give the genre, but he never really did on his Christian albums. Had he been more of a poet, his long time followers may have accepted his conversion a bit more graciously.

It didn't help matters when he went on tour to support this album and only played songs from this record and his last one. Then again, nothing this man ever did should really surprise much of anybody.

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