It’s only installment two of Album per diem and I have already screwed up. Bob Dylan’s Shadows In The Night came out in 2015 on February 3 not February 2. We have arrived to the second without me even noticing my error, so we’ll keep it this way and get you prepared for the one-year anniversary of the Dylan’s 36th studio album. Yes, that’s a lot of albums.
Not usually do Bob Dylan and Frank Sinatra go hand-in-hand. Both are musical giants, of course, but Sinatra is known for his knockout singing and Dylan for his poetic and beautiful songwriting. In this album, Dylan knocked down the walls and did an album full of pop standards that were made popular by Ol’ Blue Eyes.
- I’m A Fool To Want You – Even if you are just a casual fan of the steel guitar, you need to listen to this track just for that alone. And all the initial reviews are correct, the vocal is surprisingly great. That’s just not Dylan’s forte and it was really nice on this track. Some horns get added to the steel guitar by the end of the song which is just an awesome sound.
- The Night We Called It A Day – The song sends you to a lounge somewhere and you get lost in the lyrics. Every once and a while you go, ‘hey, this guy sounds like Bob Dylan’, but then you forget about it and go back to sipping your whiskey in very dim lighting. It’s nice soft and another great vocal from Dylan.
- Stay With Me – Another solid track, but a little high for Dylan’s register. The high notes have never been the Minnesota native’s forte, but it didn’t take away from another solid track on the album.
- Autumn Leaves – More epic steel guitar to open the track. It’s become more than evident that the instrumentation just takes this album to a high level. Dylan brought his a-game to the vocals and the players have done an amazing job. This album would be a joy to listen to without Dylan’s vocals, that’s not saying anything about his vocals just how grand the players are.
- Why Try To Change Me Now – “Don’t you remember I was always your clown, but why try to change me now?” That’s a great line. I loved this tune. I didn’t really know what to expect with Dylan’s take on pop standards, but I really like what has gone down so far. The album lacks a little bit of energy at this point, but it might just work in this instance.
- Some Enchanted Evening – Another solid track, but it is getting to the point that you have to be in the right mood for the album. The songs are very similar which makes a great intensive listening to the album a little dull.
- Full Moon And Empty Arms – It’s weird to me to be hearing Dylan signing songs so blatantly about love. I don’t why, but that just isn’t the picture of Dylan I have in my mind. Another nice track, but the same issues as before of sounding similar.
- Where Are You? – Bob Dylan is not supposed to be able to sign this well. This song might be the strongest vocal on the whole album which is saying something. In an album that keeps a little dull, this is a good reason to keep going.
- What’ll I Do – Bob Dylan was made to sing sad songs. This song is a sad song. Bob Dylan was made to sing this song. The raspy quality that Dylan has matches what we imagine a sad song should sound like.
- That Lucky Old Sun – I’m a sucker for albums that end in some positivity and this song is about ending up in heaven. You can’t get much more positive than that. The horns on this song make it seem heavenly supporting another great vocal from Dylan.
In the grand scheme of things, maybe I’m not cool enough to totally love Dylan. I liked this album, but in the middle of the album I was finding it hard to fully give attention to it. A lot of the songs sound similar, but they still sound great. There is great instrumentation throughout, the steel guitar is heavenly, plus Dylan does give a wonderful vocal especially for a Bob Dylan album.
It’s worth a listen and if you’re into lounge-like music, you should definitely enjoy it. If you are one that is just a casual music listener, the album would make great background music, I say that in the best way possible. It sounds beautiful, but it’s one you can’t concentrate too hard on.
If you can only listen to one song, go with What I’ll Do with Why Try To Change Me Now? a close second place.
Next up: Roseanne Cash – Seven Year Ache