This is apparent from the opening of the very first track, a cover of A Satisfied Mind. This leads into the title track, with Dylan's most overt set of lyrics ever, up to that point. The lyrics throughout the entire album, in fact, are unabashedly Christian. Some of the songs on Slow Train were somewhat ambiguous, and could be taken in more than one way -- I Believe In You, for instance, which could just as easily be a statement of dedication to a loved one as a testament to Christ -- and Shot of Love contained much material that was undoubtedly secular. Not Saved. Every track is a full-on gospel number. The music matches the lyrics accordingly. All of the songs contain huge, striking gospel arrangements, featuring superb piano-playing from legendary keyboardist Spooner Oldham, as well as some fantastic organ playing on a few tracks.Read more ›
In a way, SAVED is Dylan's "gospel" equivalent to NASHVILLE SKYLINE, his "country" album. He immersed himself in a genre, turned out some good-to-passable songs in the new idiom, then moved on to other things. Much of the criticism of Dylan's gospel work reeks of hypocrisy. Rock music "experts" like Dave Marsh did chastise Mr. Dylan for buying into a prepackaged ideology and trying to force it onto an unwilling public, while simultaneously lavishing their worthless praise on dead, quasi-literate black men like Blind Willie Johnson and Blind Gary Davis, both of whom sang almost nothing but gospel on street corners. (See the ROLLING STONE RECORD GUIDES of the 1980s.) So what if Dylan resembles more Blind Willie Johnson than he does Blind Willie McTell? Judge the music, not the man. Furthermore, the ideology of the "protest song" movement is fixed for all time, for anyone to adopt and make his own, if only to sell records to a target audience and make a name for himself - as Dylan did when he was young.
SAVED isn't a failure because it's a Christian album from end to end, or because its maker was an icon of the "counterculture." The problem with SAVED, I think, is that it was somewhat hastily thrown together between two evangelical tours, and poorly recorded at that. Dylan's lyrics on SAVED are atypically focused and straightforward, sometimes to the point of ridiculousness. "Are You Ready?Read more ›
Seriously: SKIP THIS ALBUM. I own almost every album by Dylan, but I threw this one away. Literally. Read more