Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Album Of The Day #86: UNDER THE RED SKY - Bob Dylan

Title: Under The Red Sky

Artist: Bob Dylan
Label: Columbia
Released: 1990
Songs: Wiggle Wiggle/Under The Red Sky/Unbelievable/Born In Time/T.V. Talkin' Song/10,000 Men/2 X 2/God Knows/Handy Dandy/Cat's In The Well
Written by: Bob Dylan
Produced by: Don Was and David Was and Jack Frost
Thoughts: Bob followed Oh Mercy with probably, to me anyway, one of his most puzzling releases. There are some good songs, but the odd thing is that the best songs here are the most childish. "Wiggle Wiggle", Bob's personal "Wilbury Twist", "Under The Red Sky" (with the typical, passionate George Harrison slide guitar solo) and "Handy Dandy" are my favorites, but if you look at the lyrics, they're just based on childish rhyme schemes. The remaining songs follow a similar pattern, like "10,000 Men", "2 X 2" and "Cat's In The Well". I think "T.V. Talkin' Song" is an attempt by Dylan to be old Dylan, rampling on about wierd scenes and such, but I think Dylan fails at being himself here by trying too much. "Unbelievable" is pretty good, but what's more unbelievable is that that was the single. The last two songs, "Born In Time" and "God Knows" were written and originally recorded during Oh Mercy and you can find those versions on the new Bootleg set. Personally, I like this version of "Born In Time" better, although the Bootleg version of "God Knows" is pretty good. Nonetheless, I still haven't warmed up to "God Knows". It's another simple track that definitely feels more at home here than it would be on Oh Mercy. Surprisingly, the songs sound consistent, despite Dylan beign backed by a different all-star band on virtually every song. Some of them work well (George's guitar solo on "Under The Red Sky") but others ruin a song (David Crosby's vocals on "Born In Time" and "2 X 2" hardly help). Although his contribution isn't much, it does feel a little bizarre to see Elton John's name on a Bob Dylan record, though. Anyway, the album isn't a complete disaster, so even if you are curious, don't get turned off by the critics.
Rating: 6.5/10

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