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Down in the Groove
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[Where does that intro paragraph lead us? ]
With releases like DOWN IN THE GROOVE, it is easy to understand the critical unease and flat out bewilderment that Dylan caused during the late 1980s. GROOVE bears the dubious distinction as being the worst studio album in Dylan's catalogue. While Columbia's revenge album DYLAN from 1973 was pretty bad, at least Dylan didn't sanction that release. This album, however, is truly the bottom of the barrel.
DOWN IN THE GROOVE gives you the impression Dylan was just in the studio jamming, and decided to release an odds-n-sods collection of very subpar studio sessions. DOWN clearly indicates that Dylan lost all artistic direction during this era of his career. Thankfully, he got his act together with OH MERCY
Just for a little context, by 1988 a lot of people had lost faith in Dylan. He hadn't released a decent record in years.Read more ›
These slow songs are the best by far. Most of them are melancholy and all of them are tuneful. Although it does contain some frightening, perhaps prophetic imagery, Death Is Not The End is a simple and comforting masterpiece embellished by his trademark harmonica and soulful backing vocals. Ninety Miles An Hour is powerful with haunting lyrics, the traditional Shenandoah - also with bursts of harmonica - gets a gospely treatment over a lilting beat and the album concludes on a high note with the yearning lament Rank Strangers To Me. These atmospheric songs remind me of his albums Saved, Shot of Love and Infidels.
The overall weakness of Down in the Groove can be traced to a simple source--most of these songs were not written by Bob Dylan. The backup singers on this album just don't seem to suit Dylan, either, lending a strange R&B sound to several tunes. It is interesting to note that the 80s group Full Force (which few people besides me probably remember) performed the backup vocals on "Death is Not the End." All in all, this is really an uninspired album. Although it was my first Dylan CD, I would not recommend this for Dylan newbies. It's not as bad as the critics make it out to be, but its lack of focus and short length (less than 35 minutes) make it a low priority for those trying to build a Bob Dylan CD collection.
Most recent customer reviews
There are some great lyrics on Silvio, and Ninety Miles an Hour and Rank Strangers to Me are very cool... but there is no cohesion to the album. Read morePublished on June 26 2004 by Tweeedly Eeeedly
After much media hype and excitement Bub Dylan releazez hiss debut and it doesn't dizzapoint.His girly voize and da screechy guitar(plus da rap and da bubblegum popp toons)make dis... Read morePublished on Feb. 27 2004