Bob Dylan in the 80's: Volume One

In hindsight, Bob Dylan's recordings in the 1980s deserve their bad rep less for the songs – which can be tremendously potent – than for the bland production and often half-baked performances. This revisionist tribute drives that notion home. Two standouts come from 1983's Infidels: Built to Spill turn the smooth reggae rock of "Jokerman" into a prickly, guitar-centric anthem of flailing faith, and Craig Finn makes the cosmic barroom come-on of "Sweetheart Like You" seem both sleazier and more sincere than Dylan's. Comedian-singer Reggie Watts dubs out "Brownsville Girl"; Glen Hansard desanctifies "Pressing On." Sometimes you'll miss Dylan's bray. But as author Jonathan Lethem suggests in his spot-on liner notes, maybe this set will spur Dylan to reimagine some of these songs himself.

 

From The Archives Issue 1206: April 10, 2014
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