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Desire

5 out of 5

$6.99

SKU: B00026WU50 Category:

Description

Dylan’s 17th studio album-a well-received follow-up to Blood on the Tracks -spent 5 weeks at the top of the Billboard Pop Albums chart and marked a return to topical songwriting and folk tales. One of his more collaborative efforts, the album hosts a caravan of musicians from the Rolling Thunder…

Reviews

  1. finulanu

    For all the hubaloo (what? It’s a fun word!) about Desire, it really is an acquired taste: it took a while for the album to sink in, I’ll admit, and a couple of the songs don’t do much for me. Plus it’s a rather weak follow-up to Blood on the Tracks: A tough act to follow, of course, and it’s mostly by no fault of its own that its almighty predecessor has it beaten.Enough comparing this to my favorite Dylan album, though: Desire can stand on its own quite fine, though I have a couple reservations about it. I understand that Mozambique is one of Dylan’s more respected songs, and that’s fine by me: however, I find it ironic (perhaps fitting, considering Dylan’s love of irony) that all it does is cast Dylan’s flaws in a negative light. The vocals are downright intolerable – this coming from a guy who normally enjoys Dylan’s infamous out-of-key voice, since it usually fits what he sings – the melody rather drab, the performance nothing special. There are some great performances on this album, in fact some of the best he ever laid down to tape, but I’ll discuss those in a minute. The other song I’m not a fan of is Joey. I have learned to appreciate Dylan’s other uberlong songs: Desolation Row, Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands, Brownsville Girl, Highlands – but this has yet to sink in. It’s interesting to see lyrics that glorify a murderer, not because I personally would do so, being a pacifist, but it’s kind of a daring move on Dylan’s part. I still find the song very dull: longwinded, whiney (I detest the “Joey… JOOOOOEEEY!” refrain), and repetitive.Now we get to the good side. There are some real gems here: everyoen knows Hurricane, and I’ll stand up and applaud it for the powerful protest lyrics (do I have to explain the story behind it?), the gripping, intense arrangement, and Dylan’s powerful vocals. I would salute any song opposed to blatant racism displayed in such situations as Ruben Carter’s, especially if they’re as evocative and well-written as this. You can bet it sustains itself for its eight-and-a-half minutes. That’s a no-brainer. Isis is interesting too, and not just because it’s a return to Dylan’s signature lengthy, surreal, intriguing narrative format: Scarlet Rivera’s violin adds all kinds of flavor to that song. Oh, Sister isn’t the best song Dylan ever committed to tape, but at least he poured his soul into his singing. The brooding, vaguely Eastern One More Cup of Coffee (Valley Below) has got to be my favorite, if just for the way Bob sings it, especially that opening line. As usual, the ethereal violin and Emmylou Harris’ exquisite backing vocals help it out. Cup of Coffee was one of the two songs written without the help of novelist Jacques Levy; Sara (an ode to his ex-wife Sara Lowndes that essentially begs her to come back to him, something I doubt she’d do if she had ever heard Idiot Wind, but I digress) that again hits hard and has a great atmosphere. Plus those lyrics… “Scorpio sphinx in a calico dress” is probably my favorite line on the entire album. Some of them are overly obvious, but hey, at least Dylan’s being sincere. Then again, Dylan’s ALWAYS sincere. Except on Knocked Out Loaded. Oops, more digression.Anyway, as I said before there are several Jacques Levy cowrites here. Black Diamond Bay is another intriguing song, and much like Isis it sounds like a short story set to music. Which makes sense, considering Jacques’ background as a novelist. And Romance in Durango should be made into a Western movie. Now, I think the faux-mariachi arrangement is off the charts on the kitschometer (Run for your life! THAT THING’S GONNA EXPLODE!!!), but again, it’s a triumph of the lyrics. And the double-time shift between verses and choruses is simply inspired.Overall, Desire has enough solid songs to make it a near-must. A couple notable lapses in quality (come on, who really needs Joey?), but the lyrics here are among the best Dylan ever wrote, and the atmosphere is hard to beat. Cut off Joey and Mozambique, and you’ve got Bob’s greatest album, period. Bonus points: one of Dylan’s best album covers. I want that hat…

  2. Mark H. Gaffney

    For all the hubaloo (what? It’s a fun word!) about Desire, it really is an acquired taste: it took a while for the album to sink in, I’ll admit, and a couple of the songs don’t do much for me. Plus it’s a rather weak follow-up to Blood on the Tracks: A tough act to follow, of course, and it’s mostly by no fault of its own that its almighty predecessor has it beaten.Enough comparing this to my favorite Dylan album, though: Desire can stand on its own quite fine, though I have a couple reservations about it. I understand that Mozambique is one of Dylan’s more respected songs, and that’s fine by me: however, I find it ironic (perhaps fitting, considering Dylan’s love of irony) that all it does is cast Dylan’s flaws in a negative light. The vocals are downright intolerable – this coming from a guy who normally enjoys Dylan’s infamous out-of-key voice, since it usually fits what he sings – the melody rather drab, the performance nothing special. There are some great performances on this album, in fact some of the best he ever laid down to tape, but I’ll discuss those in a minute. The other song I’m not a fan of is Joey. I have learned to appreciate Dylan’s other uberlong songs: Desolation Row, Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands, Brownsville Girl, Highlands – but this has yet to sink in. It’s interesting to see lyrics that glorify a murderer, not because I personally would do so, being a pacifist, but it’s kind of a daring move on Dylan’s part. I still find the song very dull: longwinded, whiney (I detest the “Joey… JOOOOOEEEY!” refrain), and repetitive.Now we get to the good side. There are some real gems here: everyoen knows Hurricane, and I’ll stand up and applaud it for the powerful protest lyrics (do I have to explain the story behind it?), the gripping, intense arrangement, and Dylan’s powerful vocals. I would salute any song opposed to blatant racism displayed in such situations as Ruben Carter’s, especially if they’re as evocative and well-written as this. You can bet it sustains itself for its eight-and-a-half minutes. That’s a no-brainer. Isis is interesting too, and not just because it’s a return to Dylan’s signature lengthy, surreal, intriguing narrative format: Scarlet Rivera’s violin adds all kinds of flavor to that song. Oh, Sister isn’t the best song Dylan ever committed to tape, but at least he poured his soul into his singing. The brooding, vaguely Eastern One More Cup of Coffee (Valley Below) has got to be my favorite, if just for the way Bob sings it, especially that opening line. As usual, the ethereal violin and Emmylou Harris’ exquisite backing vocals help it out. Cup of Coffee was one of the two songs written without the help of novelist Jacques Levy; Sara (an ode to his ex-wife Sara Lowndes that essentially begs her to come back to him, something I doubt she’d do if she had ever heard Idiot Wind, but I digress) that again hits hard and has a great atmosphere. Plus those lyrics… “Scorpio sphinx in a calico dress” is probably my favorite line on the entire album. Some of them are overly obvious, but hey, at least Dylan’s being sincere. Then again, Dylan’s ALWAYS sincere. Except on Knocked Out Loaded. Oops, more digression.Anyway, as I said before there are several Jacques Levy cowrites here. Black Diamond Bay is another intriguing song, and much like Isis it sounds like a short story set to music. Which makes sense, considering Jacques’ background as a novelist. And Romance in Durango should be made into a Western movie. Now, I think the faux-mariachi arrangement is off the charts on the kitschometer (Run for your life! THAT THING’S GONNA EXPLODE!!!), but again, it’s a triumph of the lyrics. And the double-time shift between verses and choruses is simply inspired.Overall, Desire has enough solid songs to make it a near-must. A couple notable lapses in quality (come on, who really needs Joey?), but the lyrics here are among the best Dylan ever wrote, and the atmosphere is hard to beat. Cut off Joey and Mozambique, and you’ve got Bob’s greatest album, period. Bonus points: one of Dylan’s best album covers. I want that hat…

  3. Roy Brown

    Recently, I listened to this old favorite album and was blown away, again. I had forgotten how good it was. The album stands alone, totally unique. No one has done anything like it, before or since. The combination of Dylan on the auto harp, Scarlett Rivera on the gypsy fiddle, and Emmy Lou Harris’s background and harmony vocals is unspeakably beautiful. The Desire album tends to be downplayed, but in retrospect it’s probably Dylan’s finest work. It was certainly his last great album. They just don’t make music like they used to.

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