Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Best of 2016: Familiar standards by a different artist

Reviewed by Wynne L.,
Reference Librarian

Shadows in the Night, by Bob Dylan

I was intrigued when I heard that Dylan did a cover album of standards first sung by Frank Sinatra. And the first time I listened to Dylan's Shadows in the Night, I thought what the ???​ This is just awful. But it got stuck on repeat, and the more I listened, the more nuanced the songs became. You can hear the emotion emanating from his voice, the sorrow and anguish—the truth of the songs.

Dylan says of this material: "I’ve wanted to do something like this for a long time, but was never brave enough to approach 30–piece complicated arrangements and refine them down for a five–piece band." These recordings were made/engineered similar to how they were recorded originally. As Dylan points out, "That’s the key to all these performances. We knew these songs extremely well. It was all done live. Maybe one or two takes. No overdubbing. No vocal booths. No headphones. No separate tracking and, for the most part, mixed as it was recorded."

I ended up loving this album. But it did take some time to grow on me.

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