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Knocked Out Loaded
on 11 March 2010
No masterpiece, clearly, Knocked Out Loaded is better than some say. Listen to the joyful exuberance in 'Precious Memories'. Enjoy the engaging surrealism when the child choir kicks in on 'They Killed Him'. The wonky gospel trimmings have the power to surprise and delight this listener (when in the right mood). Lyrically, 'Brownsville Girl' is different to pretty much everything else in Dylan's catalogue (or anyone else's, come to think of it): much to enjoy there. 'Under Your Spell' is a pretty good ballad and works well as a closer. If this was on another Dylan album (perhaps at the end of Infidels), people might rate the song more highly.
Okay, the '1980s rock' stylings and the booming drums don't work, but at least Bob was trying something different with a 'modern' sound. It would presumably have been easy enough for him to knock out ten acoustic songs and get rave reviews, but he bravely chose another path.
Knocked Out Loaded is an interesting experiment, despite (because of?) the parts where it doesn't quite work. Even Dylan's lesser works are worth hearing. This isn't the case with most artists.