Monday, October 27, 2008

Album of the Day #97: STREET LEGAL - Bob Dylan

Title: Street Legal
Artist: Bob Dylan
Label: Columbia
Released: 1978
Songs: Changing Of The Guards/New Pony/No Time To Think/Baby Stop Crying/Is Your Love In Vain?/Señor (Tales Of Yankee Power)/True Love Tends To Forget/We Better Talk This Over/Where Are You Tonight? (Journey Through Dark Heat)
Written by: Bob Dylan
Produced by: Don DeVitto
Thoughts: I’ve always wondered why so many people hate this album, but love Desire. The only real difference between the two is that there is a saxophone instead of a violin and a choir instead of a single backup singer. Yes, there is a completely different band here, but still, the songs Dylan has here are dense, probably the densest songs he had ever written. What I mean by this is that they feel so thick; especially considering the shortest song is four minutes. All of these songs also have their own characters and situations, with layers upon layers, making them virtually impossible to understand, unless you are sitting with the lyrics in hand.
The album starts off with “Changing Of The Guards”, a great song that is somehow the only track that ever gets a spot on compilations. “New Pony” is notable for its incredibly strange topic and this great guitar riff. Generally, the guitar riffs on this album are incredible, making this one of Bob’s best albums, instrumental-wise. “No Time To Think”, “Baby Stop Crying” and “We Better Talk This Over” are also built around a single melodic phrase. “True Love Tends To Forget” is probably the one song I really don’t like at all. The remaining songs are really good. I love “Is Your Love In Vain?”, “Señor (Tales Of Yankee Power)” and especially the whimsical closing “Where Are You Tonight? (Journey Through Dark Heat)”. This is probably the first time where Dylan wrote a song specifically for the end of an album, and while it is rather obvious, it works so well and is a great song.
Overall, this isn’t part of Dylan’s top-tier albums, but by no means is this awful. In fact, I find myself going back to it more often than Blood On The Tracks, mostly because it is enjoyable, despite its’ flaws.

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