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#173: Desire by Bob Dylan

1.08.2014

Desire by Bob Dylan (1976)

Favorite Tracks: "Hurricane" and "Mozambique" and "One More Cup of Coffee (Valley Below)" and "Oh, Sister" and "Joey" and "Romance in Durango" and "Black Diamond Bay" and "Sara"

Thoughts: It's 2014! Let's get back on track! This is, I believe, our 5th Dylan album, and the last one we heard was at #288 with The Band and The Basement Tapes.

The first song on Desire starts out with intense energy: "Hurricane." With "Isis" we have another Dylan song where I could not recognize his voice. I've had the same issue in the past with "Lay Lady Lay"! "Mozambique" was also a less obvious Dylan song, with smoother, pop-style vocals. I loved it immediately.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear Emmylou Harris doing backing vocals for most of the songs, particularly for the haunting "One More Cup of Coffee (Valley Below)" and the eerily-similar-in-sound-to-The-Band's-"The-Weight": "Oh, Sister." Did "Romance in Durango" remind me of ABBA's "Fernando"? Only a little bit! Strangely they were both released in 1976 and could have been recorded within days of each other.

"Black Diamond Bay" was fun and sweet--I loved the strings. The album ends with "Sara", one of Dylan's more personal songs about his then-wife. She filed for divorce a year later, and the song is just so lovely and sad. Over the course of the song he calls her (besides her name): sweet virgin angel, love of my life, radiant jewel, mystical wife, beautiful lady, Scorpio sphinx, AND glamorous nymph. Now I have no trouble believing she probably had excellent reasons for divorcing him, but oh my god can you imagine BOB DYLAN writing a song like that about you (and your children)? Loving you is the one thing I'll never regret.

Is This Better Than Fleetwood Mac?: Desire creeped right up into my heart. I was expecting to like it, but not this much. It's country-folk tunes lulled me to peaceful contentment, but it also felt like one listen was definitely not enough. So...yes, Desire deserves to be closer to #1 than Fleetwood Mac. I'm absolutely adding it to my personal music library.

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