- 15 Jul 2020
- Team supported
- Manchester City
Nice review. Just shows that we can all get something out of these random selections and it's especially nice when it's unexpected.Rolling Stone selected Love And Theft as the 11th best record of 2000-2020 in its Top 200 of the period. I am fairly confident had this record been performed by an artist named Bub Dillon it wouldn’t have been given consideration. But it’s not like the man hasn’t earned it, I guess, so let’s stipulate it’s definitionally overrated, and try to cut some critical distance and pretend this is a debut from a 22 year-old with an unusually gravelly voice.
These are strong, pleasant roots and jazz and jump blues songs professionally performed and crisply produced. There’s nothing new nor innovative in the music; it’s an oldies collection. In fact I wonder if that’s the point of the record title. Dylan robs all of history for his tunes, and unlike Joe Jackson’s attempt at Xeroxing historic styles, in this case Dylan’s obviously picked studio musicians who are nailing every note and beat.
And on top we layer the vocals, which, let’s face it, sound kinda hoarse and strained even for a man of Dylan’s advancing years and thin range. But I’ve never really minded that much — it’s a signature at worst, and evocative of something deeper maybe — a man with so much to say the words can’t help but escape regardless of the physical limitations of the throat.
Does he really have much to say this time around? This is far less social poetry and much more a man who has decided to focus his writing chops on how clever he can be. These are miniatures of American country life, each like a little painting, and I very much liked songs like “Floater” and “Mississippi” as each turn of phrase gets revealed. There’s a sad irony in all this — America would never be the same after this record, as it was released on September 11, 2001.
The triumph here I think is “Honest With Me” — a great song with its rolling slide guitar and freight train drums. That went right into my Spotify play list, and I promise no one could have been as surprised as me.
My objection to Dylan has so often been his music. Though roots rock/jazz swing isn’t necessarily top of my play list, here we have something I am confident I’ll listen to again because not only is the music crafted and executed so well, I know I’ll find a lot in the lyrics I’ll enjoy over repeated plays. Can you believe I’m going to give this an 8/10? Neither can I, so I’ll give it a 7/10 but I bet some day the future I’ll rethink this.
This is the best surprise we’ve had on the list so far.
I've seen the term "jump blues" a few times but have no idea what that means (well, not until I just looked it up).