Sunday, October 02, 2005

Vinyl Vault: Bob Dylan's "Infidels"

An album of righteous condemnation with an ironic twist.
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One of Dylan's strongest assets as a songwriter is his ability to display the numerous faces of his persona. This album showcases multiple sides of that face and this collection is about as close to perfection as he came in the 1980's. Two sides, above all, are examined in depth on the album. The first is, of course, his condemnation of man. The second is the salvation he finds in the embrace of a woman(the irony). He struggles with both thoughts throughout most of the tracks. While never offering any solutions, he sure does post a lot of warning signs for the listener to heed lest they tread on dangerous ground.
The opening track is probably one of the finest songs of his career. "Jokerman" is a autobiographical masterpiece displaying his ability to tackle the human spirit and condition all in one master stroke. There are so many brilliant lines in this song it's terribly hard to dislodge any from the piece as a whole. A poetic tour de force that soars to such magnificent heights that you are still grasping its nuances and imagery long after the first listen.
"Sweetheart" and "Don't Fall Apart On Me Tonight" are his odes of love to a woman who has offered him the strength he needs to deal with a world populated by ego, greed, and death. Both are pleas for comfort from the chilling wind that has overtaken him in the outside world. Both are wonderfully soothing and sure to warm even the coldest of hearts. The artwork that adorns the back cover is of a dark haired woman smiling as she accepts a delicate kiss from a man on her cheek. Duality, my friends!
I have forever linked both "License To Kill" and "I And I" in my mind. They appear, to me, to be cut from the same cloth. While not resembling one another in chord structure or melody, they both seem to be warnings from a paranoid mind(and rightly so) whose vision of the future is nothing but anguish and strife. And time has shown that we are indeed headed down a path that holds little promise for us unless we continue to evolve our ideas toward some kind of peace and human compassion.
Perhaps we are doomed. But if Judgment Day comes with any kind of warning, rest assured I'll wear out my vinyl copy of this album waiting for its arrival.
Beautifully produced by Mark Knopfler with contributions by both he and Mick Taylor on guitar.

"We're a virus with legs"
-Bill Hicks

iPod Song of the Day: Dylan's "New Morning" from the album of the same name.


Blogger Christa M. Forster said...

Starf**er, you are right on about this album. I love reading your analyses: they are passionate and smart.

9:51 AM  

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