The blood and glory of 1997's Time Out of Mind had raised the bar: This was the first Dylan album in years that had to live up to the fans' expectations. He didn't just exceed them — he blew them up. Dylan sang in the voice of a grizzled drifter who'd visited every nook and cranny of America and gotten chased out of them all. Love and Theft was full of corny vaudeville jokes and apocalyptic floods, from the guitar rave "Summer Days" to the country lilt of "Po' Boy." Dylan kept rambling through the album as if this time there really was no direction home, with his weathered voice hitting ragged triumphs in song after song.
• Rolling Stone's Original 2001 Review