I’m participating in an album draft with nine other bloggers, organized by Hanspostcard. There will be ten rounds, with draft order determined randomly by round. My 9th round pick is one of my favorites from the last 25 years.
Most of Dylan’s usual suspects have been selected at this point, but that really doesn’t matter. Time Out of Mind, released in September of 1997, is in my top six or seven Dylan albums, and with Bob the order depends on my mood anyway. It’s certainly my favorite from the latter portion of his long career, which I subjectively define as beginning with this release. It’s also the most “current” album of my desert island picks. I guess I’m just a middle aged dude on the cutting edge…
This album makes the cut for a couple of reasons. While the Beatles, Stones, etc. have always been in my rotation at home, the 1990’s was a decade of Neil Young and Bob Dylan obsession for me. At the time, my exploration into Bob’s music kind of stopped at Desire with the exception of 1989’s Oh Mercy (this no longer is the case). In other words, Dylan was seemingly, maybe, perhaps, done – but wow, what a catalog he’d created! Then came Time Out of Mind, and along with it a new era of excellence from Zimmy. I had become a fan of his current work, not just a second generation fan chasing ghosts down Highway 61.
The other reason, and as always the most important one, is that the music itself is so good from start to finish. Bob made the smart decision at just the right time to step out of his comfort zone and have Daniel Lanois produce it as he had done on Oh Mercy. If Phil Spector is known for the Wall of Sound, Lanois’ trademark is his…his…ethereal…hmm…ambient…uhh…big sound. Did I get that right? I tried. Another important factor is the fantastic group of sessions players on this recording, the core of which became the band he has consistently worked with since – significant considering there was a time when he discarded session musicians like yesterday’s socks.
The first song that pops into my mind is Not Dark Yet, which became more poignant as a result of his hospitalization with pericarditis prior to the album’s release. It was serious. But the entire album is drenched with this vibe, and it worked wonders. Cold Irons Bound is the heaviest track, and the video below was taken from the bizarro 2003 dystopian film, Masked and Anonymous. Following that is a live cut of the album opener, Love Sick. For those who have forgotten or aren’t aware of what happened, I highly recommend watching this performance at the 1998 Grammy Awards all the way through for the surprise about half way through the song. Time Out of Mind won three Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, in 1998.
- Love Sick
- Dirt Road Blues
- Standing in the Doorway
- Million Miles
- Tryin’ to Get to Heaven
- Til I Fell in Love with You
- Not Dark Yet
- Cold Irons Bound
- Make You Feel My Love
- Can’t Wait