Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Album Of The Day #85: OH MERCY - Bob Dylan

Title: Oh Mercy

Artist: Bob Dylan
Label: Columbia
Released: 1989
Songs: Political World/Where Teardrops Fall/Everything Is Broken/Ring Them Bells/Man In The Long Black Coat/What Good Am I?/Disease Of Conceit/What Was It You Wanted/Shooting Star
Written by: Bob Dylan
Produced by: Daniel Lanois
Thoughts: For today and tomorrow, I'll talk about two Dylan albums that are probably getting a lot of attention lately, what with the new Bootleg release.
I would have loved to have been a Dylan fan when Oh Mercy came out. (I couldn't have been, since I was born in 1989.) It must have come as a shock and probably gave Dylan fans a sigh of relief. Oh Mercy proved that the Dylan we got on Empire Burlesque, Knocked Out Loaded and Down In The Groove was not the really all that Dylan was capable of. I only got Oh Mercy last year, years after I had first heard Time Out Of Mind when that was originally released in 1997. The first though that came to my head was that Oh Mercy made a perfect prequel to that LP, also produced by Daniel Lanois. The songs on Oh Mercy are so much better than anything that even appeared on Infidels, if you want to go back that far. To me, the thing that makes Oh Mercy stand out in the pack of Dylan's greatest albums is that he confined himself to ten tracks with short running times, proving that he could write good songs that fit into a four minute time-frame. Another great thing about the album is how varied the album is. You have the fast, rocking numbers (the opening rant, "Political World" and "Everything Is Broken") and the slow love songs ("Where Teardrops Fall" and "What good Am I?"). Many people say that "The Man In The Long Black Coat" is the highlight and I have to agree. It's just filled with great lines and is a great performance. The one song that has always annoyed me is "Disease Of Conceit". I think Dylan wrote some great lyrics, but they don't match the melody he wrote. He seems to try to squeeze his lyrics into a melody that doesn't fit. Still, if only one song annoys you, you know it's a good album.
Rating: 9/10

No comments: