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Album Review: Bob Dylan – Shadows In The Night

2 min read

You could say that Bobbie D has that old man mentality of just doing what the hell he wants. In fact, he’s always had this mentality of going against the grain, even in his younger days. His 36th studio album therefore sees the legend taking on another of his pet projects, and stripping back some old classics that the late and great Sinatra previously performed, whilst treating them to a five-piece band re-recording. This sounds strange at first thought, but what Dylan has done with Shadows In The Night, is show off just why he’s up their with the best, and a master of transformation.

bob dylanBeing able to skim down arrangements and build them up again using different instruments and accompaniments is no easy task and, as usual, Dylan says it best himself when he speaks of not covering the songs, but ‘uncovering them’. Romance is mostly on the cards throughout, set against a sense of sentimental calmness. I’m Afraid of You with its Nashville dream opening reveals the rawness but sincerity in the vocals and really sets the pace for the record. Dylan sings with a knowing swagger – a bleak southern gent to Sinatra’s powerful Vegas showbiz. The Night We Called It a Day has whispers of affection brought out its shell by gentle horns, whereas the smooth waltz of Some Enchanted Evening feels completely new to the untrained ear and leaves you feeling like an old character in a classic film noir movie.

What really sets this album apart from the rest of his work is its style and pace. The band have really hit on something here, and because it’s all recorded live, there was no time to think about it, and instead the songs come straight from the heart. Autumn Leaves is proof of this, being so slight that it creeps up with a sense of injustice, and then saunters around your brain like a cat that’s got the cream. Sleek in performance and perfect in delivery, you can feel the mastery that’s gone into the reconstruction.

The record ends on a high with the classic That Lucky Old Sun, taking an almost retro cinematic feel and building it into the blues sound of the original. Dylan’s able to get right into the veins of the song and manipulate its DNA to sound exactly how he wants it to; set this against the classic line ‘nothing to do just roll around heaven all day’ and you’re on to a winner.

Shadows In The Night shows off one more of the many faces of Bob Dylan. This is his emotional mask; his stripped down emperors clothes costume where he leaves everything bare to create a work of power and grace. If you want to be swept off to a land of calm and serenity, let ol’ Bobbie show you how it’s done best.