T for Tom

Day 24 – Infidels – 1983

Posted in A Dylan A Day by johnsontoms on July 16, 2016



This now is the beginning of where my opinions will separate from those written at the time. Because Infidels, his 22nd studio album, is a damn fine album, and one I’ve very thoroughly enjoyed listening to all day.

Immediately when I turned it on I thought of Slow Train Coming, as the sound was reminiscent again of Dire Straits. As it turns out, Knopfler not only played on this record but full-on produced the thing, and after giving Dylan a bit more brisk and burn – this record is really full speed – it still carries that early-80s heartland tune.

From the start of “Jokerman” you can immediately rejoice that this isn’t music about rejoicing, in the biblical sense. It’s the bouncing, rhythmic blues and rock’n’roll that you want, and it sounds great even today. Apparently the one thing the critics agreed with was the overall sound of the album. It says that Dylan himself chose not to produce it because “technology had passed [him] by,” but the result is astounding. It’s a great selection of heavy rockers followed by deep, deep blues, and the playing again is spectacular. The result is like taking the bombast of Saved and applying it to secular version of Slow Train Coming. There was seriously a point in the car today where I had to remark on “Man of Peace,” saying “this is a truly fantastic song.”

I’m not sure if the title means anything, or if lyrics like “You know capitalism is above the law / It don’t count unless it sells” is actually in protest of anything, but I don’t care. It might be that Dylan thought he was an infidel himself, straying from the gospel he so righteously and public acquired just years before.

Whatever the case, Infidels is a winner, and its reasons like this that I’m doing this retrospective. I’m thankful to come along these kinds of albums, this kind of soul.

Song: “Man of Peace”

For the reasons above.



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