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4.4 out of 5 stars54
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 29 September 2005
Well the first thing to be said is that this is a pretty fine album. The highlights are up there with his best work. It is true that many songs from the sessions for this album (1983) were inexplicably omitted from the finished album. Notably Blind Willie McTell, Foot Of Pride, Julius And Ethel, Tell Me, Lord Protect My Child, Someone's Gotta Hold Of My Heart. Not many albums have such illustrious leftovers! But it is the album as it appeared which ultimately must be reviewed. So here goes.
The first two tracks Jokerman and Sweetheart Like You are both top drawer showing Dylan effortlessly rediscovering his lyrical ability of old with decent tunes and heartfelt delivery. If the album had continued like this we would be talking Blood On The Tracks Mark 2.
But then comes Neighbourhood Bully which is long and repetitive, bit like No Time To Think from Street Legal (1978) only with boring lyrics with none of the hidden meanings of that track. And no tune to speak of. Licence To Kill, a magestic ballad makes up for it and we end Side 1 (vinyl record) feeling pretty good about this album. Side 2 starts with Man Of Peace which is a decent piece which probably would have been more at home on Shot Of Love (1981). Then the single Union Sundown which I think all Bob fans are basically flabbergasted as to why it made the final line up. Boring jingoistic lyric reminiscent of Slow Train (1979)in a way and again with No Tune. Dismissable. I And I is interesting lyrically but again let down by lack of melody. The final track Don't Fall Apart On Me Tonight is reminiscent of Where Are You Tonight (1978) but lacks the punch or conviction. So here we have it 4 stars + for side 1, about 3 for side 2 so we will give it 4 stars overall. The cool cover tips the balance.
Bob was to do far worse than this in the remainder of the 80s until No Mercy (1989). So this is worthy of investigation. Only thing is that this could have either have been an adventurous double, where a few weaker tracks are generously excused, or else a great single album with the dodgy songs confined to bootleg curios instead of the other way round. But we don't have a Licence to Kill (or To Remix for that matter)....so Let It Be.
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on 22 February 2015
I went off Bob Dylan and Pink Floyd etc back in the Summer of 1975 because I found their music boring and were no longer living lives or having experiences I could relate to. Time elapsed and Dylan got good again ( not so Pink Floyd ) when he brought out 'Love And Theft' and everything since then. Anyway, i was just looking through his back catalogue on 'Amazon' and came across this wonderful little gem. Well, better late than never. The only track I'd heard before was 'Jokerman' but there are 7 other bits of Dylan story telling brilliance too. I was relieved to find that 'I And I' is not another of those embarrassingly awful attempts by white music stars ( with the exception of good old Keith Richards ) to do reggae. It happily isn't. The title threw me. 'Sweetheart Like you' is clever wordsmith Mr Dylan at his very best. And so it goes on with track after track of excellence. Good stuff from a period of 'we expect the fans will buy any old dross we cobble together' self indulgent shoddiness amongst the established Anglo-American Rock fraternity. The album is quite short but that is a reflection on those times that I alluded to too.

Eamonn
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on 8 May 2009
Great albums don't require lengthy reviews, just a thankyou to the artist for the many years of pleasure derived from it.
Thanks Bob.
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on 6 August 2013
I bought this as a repalcement for one that was stolen from my car. Always loved it and some of my favourite tracks are on it (Jokerman, I & I, Sweetheart Like You). If you don't have it in your collection you should have. One of Dylan's "rockier" albums but it was the 80's after all. A backing band of Sly and Robbie, Mick Taylor, Alan Clark and Mark Knopfler could hardly go wrong.
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on 17 February 2012
A sequel in a sense to my review of its predecessor (Shot Of Love), this has the same review title because so much was left off in favour of weaker material; namely, Blind Willie McTell, Tell Me, Foot Of Pride, Lord Protect My Child, Someone's Got A Hold Of My Heart...
The album as released is actually wonderfully produced (in part, by Mark Knopfler) and sounds very contemporary. Dylanographer Clinton Heylin seems to hold this collection in contempt and, whilst I don't agree, I can understand the sentiment; it sounds like a very important album, but isn't if you dig down deep enough. The four songs listed above would have given it the necessary weight to make it important, in a way that Sweetheart Like You, Neighbourhood Bully and Don't Fall Apart On Me Tonight (basically a rewrite of Street Legal's Baby, Stop Crying) definitely do not.
But it does contain Jokerman, a typically tour de force Dylan opener. With its ominous sense of armageddon, mixed with what I imagine to be sly moments of self mythology (born with a snake in both of your fists while a hurricane was blowing) and tremendously outrageous statements (take the motherless children off the street and place them at the feet of a harlot), it is absolutely top drawer stuff and the first time he had used surreal poetic imagery since the aforementioned Street Legal.
The other stand outs are License to Kill, Man Of Peace and I and I, but they certainly don't reach the heights of Jokerman. One of the songs, Neighbourhood Bully, is actually quite uncomfortable listening as it is essentially a thinly veiled support of Israeli attacks on Palestine. Not quite Blowin' In The Wind or Masters Of War, in other words......I have a sneaking admiration for one song, Union Sundown, though. It isn't a pretty song, but I like the lyrical theme concerning the stupidity of shifting one's manufacturing base out of the country for short term gain.
The album as a whole does gel. It was popular for a very good reason. It sounds great, even after nearly 30 years. Its just a shame it couldn't have had the gravitas of some great absentee songs to go with it.
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on 6 February 2014
I have owned this album in various forms since it's release but having just bought it again I would urge any Bob Dylan fan who hasn't got it to rectify that error immediately. I do agree that if Blind Willie McTell had made it on to this album it would have been better and in fact I think it would then be indisputably great.
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This 1983 release is the twenty second studio album from sixties icon Bob Dylan. It was his first album of not overtly religious music since 1979's Street Legal, though there are still religious overtones to the music as Dylan explores faith in general, and what it means to have faith in a secular world.

The album opens with the impressive `Jokerman', easily the best and the best known track on the album. It is an untypically subtle track in which Dylan speaks to people too concerned with the superficial. With a slick and powerful backing and some of Dylan's best and most committed vocals for several years, it is a classic track. Following this powerful opener, the rest of the album doesn't quite live up. It's well produced and sounds good, and Dylan's voice is on form, but the songwriting isn't up to par and nothing really memorable results. It's OK, and nothing more than that.

The presence of Mark Knopfler in the producer's chair and on guitars lends a polished, professional air to the record. And sitting in between `Shot of Love' and the execrable `Empire Burlesque' helps this album shine a little more. But compared to greats such as `Highway 61' or `Oh Mercy', this is a 3 star effort at best.
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VINE VOICEon 2 September 2006
'Infidels' was recorded in the period when Bob could still write fabulous songs but he seemed to lack a little self assurance to go with it.

On the surface 'Infidels' seems a perfectly decent album (although hardly great) that although unlikely to win him any new followers would certainly satisfy many of his longstanding fans (at least for the short term).

He had a great line up of musicians playing on this album including Mark Knopfler, ex -Rolling Stone Mick Taylor and Sly and Robbie. Although they all has their own distinct backgrounds musically they blended together to create a classic yet contemporary sound that was very compatable with Bob's songs.

Unfortunately it was Bob's indecisiveness that prevented 'Infidels' from being the truly great album it could have been. He unwisely dropped some of its stongest songs (including 'Blind Willie Mctell and 'Foot Of Pride') and rerecorded many of his vocals and made lyric changes to a number of the songs he'd already completed. Rather than bring out the best in these songs these changes generally blunted the songs effectiveness. This is especially true of 'Jokerman'.

The released album is a mixture of a number of strong songs and songs that were a little less inspiring. There's nothing truly bad and the album is very listenable but it's not the album it could have been. Instead of reflecting a Bob with all guns blazing it represents Bob in good form but not quite firing on all cylinders which is a pity.

It's still one of Bob's best from the eighties, mind.
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on 19 January 2014
As usual, Dylan comes up with different sounds from those on previous albums, although the structure is similar on many songs.
Dylan fans will always appreciate this album.
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on 1 June 2009
Having a few quid to spare after selling a duplicate copy of "Biograph", it was a natural choice to buy the new Dylan album "Together Through Life", which I will review elsewhere. I still had a bit of cash left so decided to buy "Infedels" too. I already have a vynil copy, and am gradually catching up with CD copies of all my old Dylan vynils. This is one of the best, which I somehow missed when it first came out, as I had become bored to death by '80s music and given up listening to anything new at that time, only becoming aware of "Infedels" some years later. The production from Mark Knoppfler and the extraordinarily sympathetic contributions from the other musicians, notably Knoppler and Mick Taylor, plus some of Dylan's best songs for years, made this a highlight of my collection.
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