Friday, September 30, 2022

Happy 25th Anniversary to Bob Dylan's Time Out Of Mind

25 years ago today Bob Dylan released what seems like his 15th comeback album, Time Out Of Mind. The album features strong Dylan and as the rumor goes it was his 'facing death album', but aren't they all, all the time? 

The 1990's were a strange decade for Dylan, starting with the odd Under The Red Sky, then a return to folk songs and a fine, if semi dull live set for the MTV Unplugged series. Not much was expected from Dylan who continued to roll along performing solid concerts on his Never Ending Tour, and drifitng along. Then, out of the bleak Minnesota winter, came TOOM and critics/fans/newcomers to Bob were all blown away, from the opening notes of the ominous "Love Sick", Dylan is in haunting form. 

While Bob deserves full credit so does Daniel Lanois who worked winningly with him on the excellent Oh Mercy in 1989. The style, recording tone, and overall retro-ish sound found within TOOM would spark Dylan's creative drive for the next decade and beyond. Dylan has mentioned he didn't like working with Lanois, and the truth is Lanois is the last producer Dylan ever worked with, having self produced every record since under pseudonym Jack Frost. That said it is hard to fault the results on this effort.

The song-writing, to go along with the sound, is staggering. Songs like "Standing In The Doorway", "Not Dark Yet", "Tryin' To Get To Heaven" and "Cold Irons Bound" are all majestic, dark, questioning and endless. These are some of the strongest song Dylan ever wrote and the band playing them do a fantastic job setting the music to his strong words, as does Lanois, capturing of it all.

The album is a definite mood piece, one that runs a little long with a few filler tracks ("'Til I Fell in Love with You") and falters a bit at the end with the oddly Broadway-ish hokum of "Make You Feel My Love" and the rambling "Highlands", which is cool musically, but lyrically so scattered it ends the album fairly limply. 

That said, TOOM alerted the world to a resurgence from the Bard and signaled his culture imprint was far from over. A few years later he would release an even better album, but that is for a different post...

For now let's celebrate Time Out Of Mind in the best way possible, by listening to the songs. 

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