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PostPosted: Wed July 8th, 2015, 18:21 GMT 

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Tim Finnegan started this aside on another thread. I thought I'd move it here so we can all rate the album and get into the nitty gritty of the songs. A couple of you who posted there can repost here, if you will. It seems to me that not enough attention has been given to the album or the songs. So what does everyone think of Street Legal?


Tim Finnegan wrote:
I love Street Legal too. Here's how I'd rate the songs:

Changing Of The Guards - 10/10
New Pony - 6.5/10
No Time To Think - 7/10
Baby Stop Crying - 8/10
Is Your Love In Vain? - 5/10
Senor - 10/10
True Love Tends To Forget - 8.5/10
We Better Talk This Over - 8.5/10
Where Are You Tonight? - 10/10

Not his best, but it's up there.


Changing Of The Guards - 10/10
New Pony - 10/10
No Time To Think - 5/10
Baby Stop Crying - 4/10
Is Your Love In Vain? - 5/10
Senor - 10/10
True Love Tends To Forget - 8.5/10
We Better Talk This Over - 8.5/10
Where Are You Tonight? - 8/10

My ratings are a little different. "No Time To Think," "Baby Stop Crying" and "Is Your Love In Vain" are the weakness at the center of the album. "No Time To Think" and "Baby Stop Crying" are repetitive and redundant yet the latter became a hit single in merrie olde England. I think it would be a better song if it were a verse shorter. "No Time To Think" and "Is Your Love In Vain" are self-pitying, but they are also quite interesting lyrically and a delight melodically. The album has a sinister quality to it, which really appeals to me.

There's supposed to be a ghost track of a telephone ringing on "Changing of the Guards" has anyone heard that?

At my first listen in 1978, I wondered if Dylan was assuming the voice of a woman on "New Pony." I thought the back-up singers were poorly arranged overall and that the album would be better without them, and still think so, although the admonishment of female voices must have been something awful for Dylan to be hearing in his head, or in his life at the time, to put them on the album in the first place. The key words here are female admonishment. They are certainly effective on "New Pony." I assumed Dylan was singing to a child in "Baby Stop Crying."

"Senor" and "Changing of the Guards" were crowd pleasers on the 1978 tour. The latter was transformed into a hip-shaker encore and the crowds always loved it. "We Better Talk This Over" was always enthusiastically received, as well.

In an interview somewhere -- one of you can probably pinpoint it -- Dylan said he heard Bobby Blue Band at the Apollo Theater in 1961 and that he was trying to capture that sound when he put this band together. I've listened to Bland's recordings from this period without hearing a resemblance, but it was studio recordings. So far as I know there aren't any live recordings released by Bland from the period to compare. I saw Bland in concert a few times in the 1980s and thought I recognized where Dylan was coming from when the he said Bland had been an influence.

Elvis Presley's 1968 album From Elvis In Memphis must have been an influence in terms of songwriting and sound especially "True Love Travels On a Gravel Road" and "Long Black Limousine," "Wearin' That Loved-on Look," "It Keeps Right On Hurting" and "I'm Moving On." Elvis can get away with expressing self-pity, but Dylan never should have tried it. Presley's touring band was also an influence -- where Jerry Scheff came from -- but it was as if Dylan copped something of the sound and gave the band an aesthetic direction that Elvis never provided.


Last edited by Richard--W on Wed July 8th, 2015, 18:30 GMT, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed July 8th, 2015, 18:25 GMT 
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Changing Of The Guards - 10/10
New Pony - 6/10
No Time To Think - 4/10
Baby Stop Crying - 3/10
Is Your Love In Vain? - 3/10
Senor - 10/10
True Love Tends To Forget - 7/10
We Better Talk This Over - 8/10
Where Are You Tonight? - 10/10

OVERALL - 6/10

3 great songs, the others are "meh"


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PostPosted: Wed July 8th, 2015, 18:42 GMT 
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Changing Of The Guards - 7/10
New Pony - 8/10
No Time To Think - 7/10
Baby Stop Crying - 5/10
Is Your Love In Vain? - 3/10
Senor - 7/10
True Love Tends To Forget - 7/10
We Better Talk This Over - 7/10
Where Are You Tonight? - 8/10


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PostPosted: Wed July 8th, 2015, 18:45 GMT 
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Ratings such as this do not get to the "nitty gritty" of the songs, but merely sample the biases of listeners who may be more or less informed about music, language, and history. Music is a qualitative experience. Reducing it to a quantitative scale is an evasion of a much deeper engagement.


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PostPosted: Wed July 8th, 2015, 18:47 GMT 
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harmonica albert wrote:
Ratings such as this do not get to the "nitty gritty" of the songs, but merely sample the biases of listeners who may be more or less informed about music, language, and history. Music is a qualitative experience. Reducing it to a quantitative scale is an evasion of a much deeper engagement.


Good point Al!
10/10!


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PostPosted: Wed July 8th, 2015, 18:49 GMT 

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This is an interesting question. Obviously any attempt to assign a quantitative value to a subjective opinion is flawed. But it is also fun.

I guess we have to benchmark against other Dylan songs and albums for it to make sense. So a 10/10 for a song would be a "Tangled Up in Blue" or a "Visions of Johanna". There isn't a song in that league on Street-Legal. There isn't a song that approaches that league on Street-Legal.

And what's the score for a song you can't listen to from end to end? I always have to hit skip-forward during No Time To Think as the dreadful rhyming and the annoying waltz tune drive me nuts. I really cannot see how No Time To Think is a delight melodically.

So scores for individual songs

Changing Of The Guards - 8/10
New Pony - 7/10
No Time To Think - 1/10
Baby Stop Crying - 3/10
Is Your Love In Vain? - 2/10
Senor - 8/10
True Love Tends To Forget - 4/10
We Better Talk This Over - 4/10
Where Are You Tonight? - 6/10

Two good songs. I really wish "Where Are You Tonight" was great - it almost makes it but something just doesn't click. It took me a long while, and the determined advocacy of my beautiful wife, to persuade me on New Pony, but I'm persuaded now.

And then there's the other stuff.

I always think Springsteen inspired the sound on this album. There's an interview where Dylan goes out of his way to say how much better his saxophone player is than Springsteen's. Clearly the success of the latest new Dylan was somewhere on his mind.


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PostPosted: Wed July 8th, 2015, 18:55 GMT 
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Ah, it's a way of rating an album using a numerical scale instead of/alongside a written description. It can stimulate discussion, or just be what it is. I find it to be a bit of fun. Not every engagement has to be deep. And when it comes to Is Your Love In Vain? that's a rather good thing.


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PostPosted: Wed July 8th, 2015, 19:00 GMT 
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Changing Of The Guards - 10/10
New Pony - 7/10 fun
No Time To Think - 9/10
Baby Stop Crying - 3/10 Bob stop crying
Is Your Love In Vain? - 6/10 perfectly decent
Senor - 7/10 used to think it was great; still think its good but a bit overrated and overplayed; to paraphrase a critic, a poor man's version of 'Hotel California'
True Love Tends To Forget - 3/10 I'd like to truly forget this song
We Better Talk This Over - 7/10 great last verse
Where Are You Tonight? - 8/10


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PostPosted: Wed July 8th, 2015, 19:03 GMT 
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Changing of the Guards: 10/10
New Pony: 7/10
No Time to Think: 9/10
Baby Stop Crying: 8/10
Is Your Love in Vain?: 10/10
Senor: 10/10
True Love Tends to Forget: 10/10
We Better Talk This Over: 10/10
Where Are You Tonight: 10/10


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PostPosted: Wed July 8th, 2015, 20:37 GMT 

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harmonica albert wrote:
Ratings such as this do not get to the "nitty gritty" of the songs, but merely sample the biases of listeners who may be more or less informed about music, language, and history. Music is a qualitative experience. Reducing it to a quantitative scale is an evasion of a much deeper engagement.



This thread invites you to get into the nitty gritty. So go ahead. Why don't you start.

The rating scale is just a start because I don't have the time to write a long detailed post.


RichardW wrote:
This is an interesting question. Obviously any attempt to assign a quantitative value to a subjective opinion is flawed. But it is also fun.

I guess we have to benchmark against other Dylan songs and albums for it to make sense. So a 10/10 for a song would be a "Tangled Up in Blue" or a "Visions of Johanna". There isn't a song in that league on Street-Legal. There isn't a song that approaches that league on Street-Legal. ...



While I might agree there isn't a song in the league of "Tangled Up in Blue" and "Visions of Johanna" on Street Legal there is a different kind of song, or perhaps I mean a different kind of songwriting, that is just is as interesting and just as viable. All song writers evolve if they have any talent and there is considerable personal growth in this music three years after Desire. "Changing of the Guards" might be a tarot card reading to some or nonsense verse to others, but the energy and emotional life he breathes into the song gives it a cohesive vision. And if nonsense verse is all it is, then it's in good company with any number of songs on Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde On Blonde.

I also like the ominous, disorienting sinister sound of the music in general and certain dynamics in the way some instruments are used to represent certain feelings.


Last edited by Richard--W on Wed July 8th, 2015, 20:52 GMT, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed July 8th, 2015, 20:45 GMT 
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I'd give it one.


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PostPosted: Wed July 8th, 2015, 20:59 GMT 
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Richard--W wrote:
harmonica albert wrote:
Ratings such as this do not get to the "nitty gritty" of the songs, but merely sample the biases of listeners who may be more or less informed about music, language, and history. Music is a qualitative experience. Reducing it to a quantitative scale is an evasion of a much deeper engagement.



This thread invites you to get into the nitty gritty. So go ahead. Why don't you start.



Long Johnny wrote:
Harmonica Albert's Greatest Hits....

"Street Legal is a wretched exercise in artistic self-humiliation and failure without a note of redeeming music, but it's a useful litmus test for Dylan listeners." (2/21/09)

"In Dylan's body of work, the most "Dylanesque" material after Blonde on Blonde is often weak and self-parodic--Street Legal is the signal example of this tendency." (12/0/08)

"New Pony is a good example of why I think the music on Street Legal is particularly poor, whether or not anyone enjoys it. The lyrics are self-centered (like everything else on the album) and sung with an arrogant leering tone that is completely opposite of both Charlie Patton's and Son House's takes of Pony Blues/Saddle My Pony, two men who actually lived and worked around draught animals and used the trope with easy authority and understated power completely absent in Dylan's travesty of the blues. He sounds coked up, crams too many words into lines, uses some verses to deliver the sort of self-righteous judgements that so diminished his next 3 albums after Street Legal, can't sing two consecutive verses with any poetic logic to them, and uses a sort of base vernacular diction I find affected, completely inauthentic, and condescending not just to the audience but to the blues tradition itself. The arrangement is overstuffed with pointless chorus singers, a tasteless guitar solo, leaden drums, and an anonymous bleating studio saxophone player, the hallmarks of white imitators of black music that Dylan had avoided up to Street Legal. Bob's strengths as a blues player have always been country blues and a tough, lean Chicago based sound. This isn't either. Echoing the music of Ray Charles or other R&B singers with fuller sounds just emphasizes the weak areas of Dylan's own singing. I'm always amazed when anyone defends this song as worthy of the tradition it tries to summon. It sounds like a bunch of rock poseurs longing for authenticity but mistaking volume and number of instruments for blues power. It's just vulgar." (1/30/08)


"My assessment of the musical character of Street Legal is based on 45 years of intense study of Bob Dylan's music, at least 35 years of serious listening to blues music of all eras, 30 years of playing guitar, piano and other instruments, mostly but not entirely self-taught, academic study and research in jazz and blues music, including teaching Southern Black Literature in college courses, producing concerts (mostly jazz) and radio shows (jazz and folk), as well as a reflection of my vocation as poet and all the attendant literary study, teaching, performing, and publication. I've listened very closely to the album, given the issues raised very serious thought, and like most other instances I try to form my aesthetic experience based on observations of the artifact, which sometimes I do not describe in all their detail because that would require more space than I think is fair in this setting. I really don't care what anyone thinks about me, and you are all free to make what you will of what I try to share.

Music is an objective phenomenon, but how people feel about music is not. Rather than just introduce some commonplace theoretical notion that culture has no objective value and use it to insult me, a more forceful counter-argument would be based in the artifact itself and capable of demonstrating the verbal invention and originality, the poetic coherence and emotional insight, the relationship between the artifact and the tradition in a positive light.

So far, I have never ever read such a defense of the work. It mostly gets enthusiastic gush from sub-Paul Williams types who rarely if ever even mention Son House or Charley Patton, let alone show any indication they've listened to them. For what it is worth, I've learned Houses' arrangement of Saddle My Pony, I'm working on Patton's, and I've performed the song numerous times in front of paying audiences who didn't boo me offstage or ask for their money back.

I don't care if anyone likes the music or not. Personal taste is not the issue.

The only coherent defense of New Pony I've read is posted somewhere above, when someone suggested it was really a Rolling Stones song. I thought that was quite a good insight into why it sounds so awful in Bob's hands. Someone else said it was some kind of epitome of blues and rock and roll, which I agree with but in a negative way--it reaches tasteless sonic excess while negating any lyric grace Dylan might have found and does find so much more successfully on work like the blues-based material on Time Out of Mind or Highway 61 for instance. There was a lot of such crap in the late 60s to late 70s, much of it mercifully forgotten. Only the name Dylan keeps Street Legal in circulation." (1/31/08)


"In terms of official album releases, I'd say Street Legal contains his very worst vocal performances, supported (if that's the word) by his very worst collection of original songs. Street Legal shows a man in desperate need of reinvention and renewal with nothing to say." (11/12/07)


"The allmusic review is typical of apologists for this album. His description dances around the obvious--that the music is bloated with extraneous and badly used musicians playing leaden arrangements--and makes a general claim about the lyrics--"as dense as anything Dylan has written"--without actually demonstrating the density, and dense in what particular qualities of rhetoric, how that relates to any prior densities, and why that density is a positive trait. The lyrics are densely neurotic and contradictory in artless and portentous ways, narcissistic, and filled with cliches and mannerisms. They are whined more often than sung, even by Dylan's own standards of singing. All of this is easily demonstrated by carefully reading the lyrics and closely listening, and I have done so too many times, so I'll resist the temptation to analyze Is Your Love In Vain again. The fact that the album is a viscerally unpleasant experience is documented even by its defenders who resort to psychological rationalizations for the inept lyrics and to nostalgic references to "classic Dylan" as a way of glossing over self-parody and self-aggrandizement.

It's not surprising that this phenomenon occurs, and it probably does in most internet fora devoted to the fans of any pop star or any matter whatsoever or even nothing at all. One of the impacts of the internet on rhetoric and language has been to impart a false egalitarianism by implying that universal access to interactive consumer media somehow makes all points of view equally valid (correspondingly all consumer commodities are equally saleable), and every consumer an equally fit judge of values, even an equally fit determinant of which values are to be judged and how. In an economic sense, they are, but economics is not a field of aesthetic inquiry, nor is psychology for that matter. The fact that Street Legal is commonly interpreted (diagnosed, really) as a psychological crisis of romantic and career dimensions is a mark of its tasteless lack of imagination, not its aesthetic integrity. This common view also reveals the pseudopsychological bias in public and private discourse which actually serves to disempower individuals from developing their analytical skills in any other detailed and authoritative way, so that they more easily accept received biases and rhetorics from mass media.

The two shibboleths really being defended are these: Bob Dylan can't make awful music because he's a genius; and the listener can't possibly like or even love bad music because the listener is certain of his or her own biases past the point of needing or wanting to examine them. Why not just say, it's crap but I love it? Who could argue with that?

A clever person would ask me just to say it's great but I hate it, but not a really clever person who has been paying attention. I happily admit not liking some truly great music. Bach bores me mostly. Same with Art Tatum. Also Joe Pass. Ella Fitzgerald. These are all musical geniuses, and I can hear the genius and understand their importance and why people like them, but I just don't enjoy the music on a personal level. My experience with Street Legal is that, like it or not, it doesn't stand up to any rigorous critical examination. It is demonstrably weak music. So weak, I don't even hate it. I feel embarrassed for its maker when I hear it, and bored, and annoyed.

It's not surprising that this Emporer's New Clothes phenomenon occurs, and it probably does in most internet fora devoted to the fans of any pop star. One of the more chaotic impacts of the internet on rhetoric and language has been to impart a false egalitarianism by implying that universal access to interactive consumer media somehow makes all points of view equally valid (correspondingly all consumer commodities are equally saleable), and every consumer an equally fit judge of values, even an equally fit determinant of which values are to be judged and how. In an economic sense, they are, but economics is not a field of aesthetic inquiry, nor is psychology for that matter. The fact that Street Legal is commonly interpreted (diagnosed, really) as a psychological crisis of romantic and career dimensions is a mark of its tasteless lack of imagination, not its aesthetic integrity.

In an attempt to examine my own biases, I bought the cd of Street Legal some months ago. It was even worse than I recalled. I liked the album when it was released. I saw the tour in Providence, was both impressed and disappointed. Bob looked silly on stage. The music was bombastic and over-earnest and shallow. The album quickly lost whatever charm it initially had. The blessing was I no longer had to worship Dylan as some kind of infallible hero. His strengths, being perishable, became more inspiring to me. His weaknesses made him more human, but they didn't become interesting aesthetic features of his work, at least in this case." (8/29/07)


"Street Legal is nothing like a sketch book. The songs are overloaded with everything but common sense and linguistic grace. Too many singers, too many instruments, too many neuroses on display. Too many recycled Bob Dylanisms. It is the Emperor's New Clothes of his catalogue, a hideous mess with only two songs of any integrity, Senor and We'd Better Talk This Over. It is an important proof that there is no sin against music Dylan can commit that someone won't describe as a moment of genius if not his finest hour."

"I tried to resist further comment on this album and failed. Have your lawyers talk to my lawyer." (8/28/07)


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PostPosted: Wed July 8th, 2015, 21:14 GMT 

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Changing of The Guards 10
New Pony 8
No Time 9
Stop Crying 7
Love in Vain 8
Senor 10
True Love 7
Talk this Over 8
Journey 8

Perfectly balanced, cohesive album.


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PostPosted: Wed July 8th, 2015, 23:16 GMT 
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Just one for now - Changing of the Guards 10/10 - for me, one of Dylan's greatest songs, period. Possibly I have listened to this more than any other Dylan song.


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PostPosted: Thu July 9th, 2015, 00:05 GMT 
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Thank you, harmonica via smoke. That was a great read, and I can't say I really disagree.


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PostPosted: Thu July 9th, 2015, 00:58 GMT 

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I'm one of those people who loves Street-Legal. I regularly listen to it, and have ever since it came out. My intro to Dylan was at the time of BoTT/Desire/Hard Rain, and Street-Legal was the first album I awaited release, I ran to the store to buy when it came out. Saw the 78 tour when it came through new york. It was a very different album and very different tour/sound, many found the backing singers and big-band sound off-putting. I heard many of the same gypsy/mystical themes from Desire, and tortured love laments from BoTT, attempted with a bigger fuller sound, kind of like an updated blonde on blonde sound.

Hard to assign a numeric relative ranking to these songs. The album works as a whole for me, none of the tracks are "famous" "greatest hits". I wouldnt necessarily take Baby Stop Crying or Love In Vain and put them in a favorite song mix on their own, but they are part of the album and I'm good with that.

Relative to other songs on the album - the best tracks on the album for me: Changing of the Guards, New Pony, Senor, We Better Talk This Over, True Love, Where Are You/Journey. Always enjoy listening to these six. If that means they are a 10/10 on the album, then sure. The middle 3 songs I listen to and can appreciate, but they mostly pass the time until I get to the last 3 tracks on the album, so I will give them a 5/10. No Time To Think I used to consider very lyrically clever when I was younger, not so much anymore, it seems like an academic exercise in rhyming and word-play that never really gels. The two penultimate tracks are great, leading up to the climactic Journey. The way he sings "But this weekend in hell is making me sweat"...."Eventually we’ll hang ourselves on all this tangled rope".

Relative to the entire Dylan canon: Where Are You/Journey (for me) is among his top songs overall. Yes that means it ranks among the "legends", it is that meaningful to me. Great lyrics, evokes some kind of personal ordeal (kind of like Shelter in that way), very very clever rhymes, and so very _visual_ - I can see almost see the characters and scenes in the song like its a movie playing in my head - "cinematic" I guess is one way to describe it. So this particular song is still a 10/10 when put next to the best Dylan career songs.


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PostPosted: Thu July 9th, 2015, 01:20 GMT 

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smoke wrote:
Richard--W wrote:
This thread invites you to get into the nitty gritty. So go ahead. Why don't you start.



Harmonica Albert's Greatest Hits....

"Street Legal is a wretched exercise in artistic self-humiliation and failure without a note of redeeming music, but it's a useful litmus test for Dylan listeners." ..... Street Legal shows a man in desperate need of reinvention and renewal with nothing to say." (11/12/07)


"The allmusic review is typical of apologists for this album. His ....

"I tried to resist further comment on this album and failed. Have your lawyers talk to my lawyer." (8/28/07)



That's just sick. If I didn't know better, I'd call those quotes a parody of music reviews, or a head full of bad wiring. Obviously, harmonica albert doesn't "get" Street Legal. Nothing Dylan does is going to be right or good enough for harmonica albert. His misanthropic pontifications prove he should be listening to somebody else, because his own noise prevents him from hearing the music.

Members of the forum are advised to pay no attention to harmonica albert's misanthropic pontifications.


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PostPosted: Thu July 9th, 2015, 02:48 GMT 
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It's a perfectly fine album but every song kind of sounds very samey. You get spoiled by the perfection of changing of the guard and then everything that follows pales in comparison.


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PostPosted: Thu July 9th, 2015, 03:57 GMT 

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It really is a spectacular performance, "Changing of the Guards," but what do you think it means?


rolling_thunder wrote:
Changing of the Guards: 10/10
New Pony: 7/10
No Time to Think: 9/10
Baby Stop Crying: 8/10
Is Your Love in Vain?: 10/10
Senor: 10/10
True Love Tends to Forget: 10/10
We Better Talk This Over: 10/10
Where Are You Tonight: 10/10


That's the spirit!


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PostPosted: Thu July 9th, 2015, 04:16 GMT 
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Every time I play the album, i grow a porn moustache, a sack of coke and a revolver appear on the table and my wife calls to say she's run off with my best mate.


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PostPosted: Thu July 9th, 2015, 06:13 GMT 
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Street-Legal is so polarising that I constantly disagree with myself about it.


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PostPosted: Thu July 9th, 2015, 07:25 GMT 
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One thing that is often missed when discussing Street-Legal is that after the 'year zero' that occurred in popular music with punk rock, and the hype surrounding Bruce 'The Future of Rock'n'Roll' Springsteen, not to mention the two and a half years since the last Desire session, this was one of the few times Dylan actually HAD to re-invent himself. All versions of the old Dylan were utterly redundant and the Rolling Thunder Revue had ended in a shambles of unsold tickets and dissolving relationships. Dylan had been away from the music scene, doing nothing but edit his poorly-received movie, and in truth almost anything he did next was bound to invite derision.

There was no way he could win, whatever he came up with. I think that's why he headed out of America. And his instincts were right - Street-Legal was poorly received, predictably. And the Budokan album was a Japanese-only release, at least at first.

This was the first time Dylan didn't view America as his primary target audience.


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PostPosted: Thu July 9th, 2015, 07:33 GMT 
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littlemaggie wrote:
One thing that is often missed when discussing Street-Legal is that after the 'year zero' that occurred in popular music with punk rock...

"Year zero" my ass.


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PostPosted: Thu July 9th, 2015, 07:48 GMT 
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Changing Of The Guards - 10/10
New Pony - 6/10
No Time To Think - 4/10
Baby Stop Crying - 5/10
Is Your Love In Vain? - 8/10
Senor - 10/10
True Love Tends To Forget - 7/10
We Better Talk This Over - 6/10
Where Are You Tonight? - 10/10

TOT 7,3


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PostPosted: Thu July 9th, 2015, 08:46 GMT 
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panther wrote:
littlemaggie wrote:
One thing that is often missed when discussing Street-Legal is that after the 'year zero' that occurred in popular music with punk rock...

"Year zero" my ass.


Offensive little person, aren't you? One wonders why some folks around here get away with it. But hey ho.


Anyway, moving on. Once we have established that the '78 band was put together with his first world tour for twelve years in mind, as opposed to yet another American tour which would in all likelihood be poorly received in a nation that had - on top of Springsteen-mania and 'new wave' as the aftermath of punk rock was referred to in the US, embraced disco to its heart - we accept that Dylan didn't put this big band together by accident - it was done deliberately to create a vehicle for a lengthy 'greatest hits' show for audiences outside America. This was a deliberately hybrid sound, combining elements of American popular music but not with American audiences in mind: so to judge the sound in terms of its 'authenticity' and to name-check Son House as proof of the music's shortcomings is to miss the point entirely. The point being that Japanese and European audiences loved it, and Dylan's aim was spot on, moreso than when he toured the US in '76 . The music is successful on its own terms, achieving what it set out to do.

The consequence of this is that when this touring band provided the musical backing for Street-Legal, the result was bound to displease American ears, and it was no coincidence that the record was more popular outside the United States.

By contrast, Dylan's next album Slow Train Coming was produced with an American audience in mind. And Americans are welcome to it, as far as I am concerned.


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