Time Out of Mind
The Music Box's #1 album for 1997
First Appeared at The Music Box, February 1998, Volume 5, #2
Written by John Metzger
After two albums covering songs from his influences, an Unplugged set, and a potentially fatal hospitalization this past summer, Bob Dylan is back — with a vengeance. Dylan and producer Daniel Lanois have selected the best moments from 1989's Oh Mercy and merged them into Blood on the Tracks and Highway 61 Revisited to form an absolute masterpiece. The disc kicks off with Love Sick, which acts as an overview for the lyrics to this collection. A wave of electric piano and organ passes over the song, gradually drawing the listener into an ocean of despair. Guitar, bass, and drums join the swirling currents, as Dylan croons, I'm sick of love. Love Sick gives way to Dirt Road Blues as Dylan mixes Mississippi mud with a sound that is reminiscent of his first electric musings in the '60s. Standing in the Doorway easily recaptures the Blood on the Tracks-era, and Trying to Get to Heaven touches on Desire.
Nevertheless, Time Out of Mind is more than just a visit to the past. The songs mix Dylan's various musical styles quite nicely with new twists and turns and a whole slew of subtle textures. Meanwhile Dylan's lyrics connote a man in the midst of reflecting upon his life and his relationships. From the opening feedback and staccato organ chords of Love Sick to the nearly 17 minute, disc-closing opus Highlands, Dylan delivers a hauntingly powerful collection of songs and words. This is his best work since Blood on the Tracks. Dylan is indeed back, and he is better than ever.
Time Out of Mind is available from Barnes & Noble.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 1998 The Music Box