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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deep, Dark and Dylan
Considering this album's predecessors, Oh Mercy is a near miraculous return to form for Bob Dylan. Boasting his pithiest pop single for a decade in Everything Is Broken, the album catches fire from the off and carries on burning slowly with a sinister sizzle. Great night time listening, the deep bass rumblings and evocative dobro and pedal steel create such an...
Published on 24 July 2000 by Joe

versus
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars One Of Bob's More Satisfying Eighties Albums
'Oh Mercy' came as a relief in the late eighties as Bob had gone through a very barren patch musically just prior to its release. I think because of this it was perhaps a little overrated at the time.
'Oh Mercy' in retrospect (and particuarly when compared with Bob's more recent return to form) is a good solid album but a long way off his best work. However Bob's...
Published on 2 Sep 2006 by Jervis


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deep, Dark and Dylan, 24 July 2000
By 
Joe (Portsmouth) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Oh Mercy (Audio CD)
Considering this album's predecessors, Oh Mercy is a near miraculous return to form for Bob Dylan. Boasting his pithiest pop single for a decade in Everything Is Broken, the album catches fire from the off and carries on burning slowly with a sinister sizzle. Great night time listening, the deep bass rumblings and evocative dobro and pedal steel create such an atmosphere one is drawn into the humid swampy south of these songs and left wallowing in Dylan's gravelly tones. Nowehere is this better effected than on Man In The Long Black Coat, but the five songs that follow it are all splendid examples of both writer and producer (Daniel Lanois) in perfect sync together as they tread lightly through Dylan's strongest set for 15 years. Certainly a record that stays simmering in the back of your mind long after you have heard it, while this may not be a classic Dylan album it is certainly a very good one - and that is some achievement for someone with his back catalogue.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A real treat, 29 May 2006
By 
FRS (Norfolk) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Oh Mercy (Audio CD)
An Dylan 80's album that wasn't a disaster, and better than anything we could have expected from his 80's recording morass. Hurrah !

It has brilliant production by Lanois and some truly wonderful Dylan tracks, "Shooting Star", "..Long Black Coat","Most of the Time", "..Broken..." and "..Bells.." would all make any sensible Best of Compilation of his last 25 years.

It could have been an a bona fida classic if "Dignity" and "Series of Dreams" had not inextricably been dropped.

Great singing, minimalist instrumentation, great melodies, great hook lines, moody and atmospheric. File between "Desire" and "Street Legal". A real treat.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hallelujah!!!, 18 Feb 2012
By 
street-legal (Leeds, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Oh Mercy (Audio CD)
After five years of sub-par product, Oh Mercy has Dylan throwing over a few tables, shaking off cobwebs, and giving us what for. Despite, once again, some career defining songs mysteriously not appearing (Series Of Dreams, Dignity, God Knows, Born In Time) he still put out a five star ground breaking album. It all happened (apparently) on stage at a gig in Locarno, Switzerland; an epiphany of the soul - a realisation that he had found a voice and a purpose that was the new Dylan.
In all honesty, all of this aside, the fact is that the songs were flowing once more. That's what mattered. They were brilliantly swamped up by Daniel Lanois and they fit perfectly with Dylan's new Leonard Cohenesque delivery. Gone was Dylan the ageing rock star - here was Dylan who could spin his age around to his advantage.
Moments like Ring Them Bells, Man In The Long Black Coat, Most Of The Time and Shooting Star show that he really meant business. Most of The Time in particular showcased his new style, one that more or less crops up to this day. Wistful, slightly sentimental, tinged with an aching form of regret....it is simply engaging. We find ourselves hanging on to his every word because he speaks for all of us at some point in our lives. But in truth there isn't a bad song on here and it doesn't outstay its welcome. It was a perfect way to end an imperfect decade; the fact that several masterful songs were absent only makes it all the more impressive.
(I would recommend Bootleg Series Vol 8 as an accompaniment to this. It contains quite a few out-takes and missing songs from this period).
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A strong, dark, brooding album., 7 Mar 2005
This review is from: Oh Mercy (Audio CD)
Dylan writes extensively about this album in his recent autobiography, and what he has to say about the recording of Oh Mercy makes me appreciate the album even more. The strongest songs are in the first half of the album, but unusually for Dylan there is not a poor song on the album. My favourite is Man In The Long Black Coat, with its haunting vocal sound and mysterious central figure. Overall, this is one of the best albums from the last 30 years of his career!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful, moving set of songs, 9 Aug 2006
By 
G. Don Fielder (Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Oh Mercy (Audio CD)
I probably don't qualify as a Dylan fan because I own fewer than ten of his albums, which ain't much, given the size of his catalogue. But I bought this one when it first came out, having read exceptionally good press reviews for it. And they weren't wrong. I'm not going to repeat what's already been said in the other contributions on this page, though I disagree with most of the very few negative comments to be found. This is one of the best albums you'll ever hear, by anybody. You don't have to be a Dylan fan for this one. If you don't own it and you really love music, you're missing out big-time. Beautiful, moving, evocative, there's not a bad song on here, and the synergy between artist & producer is perfect. If I had to pick a favourite, the enigmatic "Man in the Long Black Coat" is probably mine, but if you've ever looked back tenderly on a lost love in your life, then there's no doubt that after listening to the closer, "Shooting Star", the tears will be flowing.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Daniel Lanois gets a classic sound out of Dylan...., 24 Aug 2006
This review is from: Oh Mercy (Audio CD)
After a dry decade or so, Mr Zimmerman delivered this stone-cold but classy slab of genius.

Daniel Lanois' excellent production adds a swamp-like mist over 10 fine songs.

Something of a prelude to 1997's excellent "Time Out Of Mind", Dylan here is cynical and sound ("Political World"), curiously vulnerable ("Most Of The Time") and evocative "Man In The Long Black Coat."

A Dylan album that deserves to be owned and listened to repeatedly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dylan's 1989 return to greatness, 28 Nov 2002
By 
Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" (Shelby, North Carolina USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Oh Mercy (Audio CD)
The 1980s was far from Dylan's greatest decade musically, but he made a strong statement of his continued genius and longevity with Oh Mercy. Forget cover songs, forget famous guest musicians, forget everything but Dylan's unmatched songwriting ability, perceptive commentary on life, and unique voice. A confidently mellow Dylan infuses the album as a whole, but, lest anyone think his rocking days are over, he cranks out two stomping tracks in Political World and Everything is Broken. The social commentary of the artist shines through in the opening track as he laments the dehumanizing effects of materialism, politics, and life in general; these same feelings emerge in Everything is Broken, but they are presented there in the form of a list of problems characterizing and defining the broken state of the world. I remember hearing this song used as the backdrop of some TV features (probably sports events, if I remember correctly); it was also the last new Dylan single I have heard played on the radio, which is a sad statement to make considering the wealth of great new material he has given us since this album's release. Inevitably, one's attention is drawn most forcibly to the song Man in the Long Black Coat because it showcases the vintage musical storytelling persona of Bob Dylan.
The slower songs also feature some incredible new Dylan music. Shooting Star is probably the best known of these, since it was included on Dylan's monumental MTV Unplugged album a few years later. Ring Them Bells is a dirgelike, mournful classic, Most of the Time is a great song about continuing to live one's life after losing someone special, and Where Teardrops Fall is, in my opinion, a beautiful song that shines among the great tracks included here. I do believe the album weakens as it nears the end, though. What Good Am I? and What Was It You Wanted? are good but unexceptional songs, and the important theme of Disease of Conceit is easily lost amid the sounds of the album's least enjoyable music track. However, the greatness that is Shooting Star ensures a satisfying conclusion to one of Dylan's best albums of the last two decades.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fair., 28 Nov 2005
By 
This review is from: Oh Mercy (Audio CD)
You can't avoid it - even Bob Dylan must admit, that after the heady second peak of Blood On The Tracks and the stellar follow-up Desire, things went downhill. Slow Train Coming deserves better than it gets, but the ensuing decade, the eighties was utterly wretched for Dylan - and his nineties weren't much better until 1997.
However, amidst all the Christian hoo-ha and bleating about writers' block, is Oh Mercy, a curiosity of an album, a diamond in the rough that was the eighties.
Regarded at the time as a return to form, Oh Mercy isn't quite on a par with, say, Highway 61 Revisited or the other Dylan classic albums, but it is certainly a fair work.
Fairly short for Dylan and with not nearly as much verbal complication as he was known for - one song is even called 'Political World,' which tells you plenty - the album, musically is very relaxing. Put together entirely at night, this is a record made in the twilight of the day, in the twilight of a man's life, to be listened to as such. The sparse arrangements feature delay-ridden harmonicas and twittering lead guitars, but nothing can smother Dylan's voice and above all his songs.
'Political World' is an opener, with a funny oompah-oompah rhythm and a fairly blatant lyric; it's enjoyable. 'What Was It You Wanted' sounds like a musical interpretation of a swamp, and when he utters the words 'what was it you wanted?/I'm not keeping score,' I almost guarantee a chill will go through you. Furthermore, 'Everything Is Broken' shows Dylan making the kind of knockabout blues that would lend his last studio album to date a great deal of charm.
Oh Mercy is too often overlooked. Not quite a classic, it is well worth several listens, and is a delightful record.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dylan the Poet, 31 July 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Oh Mercy (Audio CD)
This album has some of the finest and most accessible lyrics Bob Dylan has ever produced. For me the two masterpieces are "Most of the Time" and "Shooting Star", which both deal with broken relationships. If you've ever been there, you'll be amazed at how well he hits the mark (Seen a Shooting Star tonight..Slip away). The imagery in many of the other songs is equally powerful - look at the opening verse to Man in the Long Black Coat for example. The music matches the lyrics perfectly and makes this one of my favourite Dylan albums - I don't know what the meaning of life is, but there are some basic truths in this album!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh Mercy: Bob Dylan - Ring Them Bells and celebrate a return to form for Dylan, 25 July 2012
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Oh Mercy (Audio CD)
Dylan's 26th studio album, 1989's Oh Mercy, is nothing short of a triumph. To my ears he hadn't released a good album since 1978's Street Legal, and wouldn't release another good one until 1997's Time Out Of Mind. It's the standout in the middle of nearly 20 years worth of uninspiring releases, and the contrast between this album and Dylan's contemporary releases helps it shine all the more.

Teaming up with producer Danny Lanois, several things make this a stand out album. Firstly is the production and style. Lanois uses a rich backing to give these songs a textured feel that gives Dylan's lyrics and voice the underpinning they need. Lyrically Dylan is on top form, here he has written one of the best and most memorable collections of songs to be found on any of his alums, as he finally manages to successfully blend all of his traditional themes of love, social conscience and religious imagery. More importantly, Dylan actually sounds interested in the songs, and gives a committed performance as though this music actually means something to him. Something too often lacking during the eighties and nineties in hi albums.

When going through Dylan's back catalogue I was starting to get a bit dispirited by the time I got here, after a slew of anonymous and bland efforts that were a struggle to listen to. But this completely reverses the trend, it is an ear catching album of great music that I often listen to again and again. 5 stars, and I would go so far as to rank it up there with Highway 61 or Blood on the Tracks.
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Oh Mercy by Bob Dylan (Audio CD - 2004)
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