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4.5 out of 5 stars44
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 2 March 2012
This album has more or less been written out of critical history '1984' style, because the one that followed cast such a long shadow over it. When Blood On The Tracks came out, it more or less cancelled out anything Dylan had released in the previous five years. Planet Waves, its immediate predecessor, was not so much left in the shade as kicked into a dark corner.
It is time for it to come crawling back out again, for not only is it the one single time Dylan recorded a studio album with The Band, it is also clear that he had at last found the 70's voice which would lead him to his next renaissance. The soft edges of his country croon have all but disappeared, replaced by his trademark acidic punch.
There are a handful of songs that have Dylan soul-searching, asking questions of himself, reaching into the past. Among these are Going Going Gone, Something There Is About You (which mentions 'the phantoms of my youth' and 'the old hills of Duluth'), Dirge (with its amazing 'I hate myself for loving you' opening line) and to some extent Forever Young. They are undoubtedly the most compelling selections. About half of the songs are slightly more basic paeans to lurve (On A Night Like This, Tough Mama, Hazel, You Angel You, Never Say Goodbye) but the whole is carried along with an infectiously buoyant, almost bouncy, musical style, which is where The Band deserves considerable credit.
Most Dylan albums either start or close with a particularly strong statement. Sometimes both, if we're lucky. In this tradition, on Planet Waves it is perhaps the final song whose chord strikes deepest: The Wedding Song. It is the only all-acoustic track, and it is a very dark love song to his wife. It is so rough and raw, it almost sounds like a rehearsal...his cuff button repeatedly catches the guitar...but some of its power comes with retrospect ('now that the past is gone'), for within the year they would be separated. It portrays 'woman' as almost a Christ-like saviour, a theme he would continue with on Blood On The Tracks and eventually chew up and spit out on Street Legal.
As on New Morning, Dylan occasionally seems to strain for something he wants to write about, but Planet Waves has a strident power about it, a musical confidence; it emboldened Bob to tour for the first time in 8 years, again with The Band. Definitely worthy of multiple hearings.
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Eclipsed by the seminal follow-up release `Blood on the Tracks' and late-career Grammy winner `Time out of Mind', Dylan's 1974-released `Planet Waves' is nevertheless a very good album with some sublime moments. PW marked the beginning of a new creative period in the mid-1970s, and is one of Dylan's more notable though less appreciated creations in a long and variable career with too many high points to list.

This is the first (and only?) studio album Dylan recorded with The Band, his on-stage backing-group led by guitarist Robbie Robertson. The music has a lot of energy, plenty of light and shade and some sublime lyrical moments. The confident and heartfelt voice of an artist in his creative prime is evident here. Highlights are `Something there is about You', `You Angel You' and two very different versions of `Forever Young' - especially the first, slower and more personal variant (Dylan admitted during the recording sessions "I been carrying this song around in my head for five years and I never wrote it down, and now I come to record it I just can't decide how to do it" so he did several different versions, two of which ended up on the album).

The closer `Wedding Song' is a Dylan-poetic classic with warm, poignant and heartfelt lyrics shot through with a hint of humour, reminiscent in lyrical content to `Sara' on the 1976 `Desire' album and in simple-acoustic musical form to `Shelter from the Storm' from BoTT.

All in all, PW is an interesting and just-short-of-great album from one of Dylan's two or three most creative periods, the immediate precursor to BoTT and in a similar musical, lyrical and thematic groove. If you like BoTT and you have never heard PW, give it a listen.
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This 1974 album is the fourteenth studio release from icon Bob Dylan, and marked a welcome return to form after a run of lacklustre albums through the first half of the seventies.

Always at his best when he had something to prove or something to react against, years of success and matrimonial harmony and happiness had led to some uninspired music from Dylan. But for this release he teamed up with his old backing group, the Band, and had to raise his game to match their talent. And, as the many of lyrics show, married life was starting to lose its appeal for him and he had some juicy personal torment to sublimate into song. Though having said that, the finest song on here, `Forever Young', is a touching ode to his children and the happiness they brought him.

Dylan delivers his most impassioned singing for many a long year, with a host of songs that have a bitter edge and a cynical look at life. The Band are on form, providing a superb musical backing that matches Dylan's vocals perfectly. The feel is a sort of country rock, with strong rhythms and backing that compliments Dylan's passionate vocal and results in a record that is accessible and great to listen to on a warm summer night. After the slew of mediocre albums from Dylan from Self Portrait onwards, it was a very welcome return to form for the troubled troubadour, and marked the start of a strong run of albums that would last for most of the remainder of the seventies. 5 stars and an essential purchase for Dylan or Band lovers.
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on 13 April 2005
Many people would say that the best albumn you get with Bob Dylan and the Band together is the "Basement Tapes" but I disagree. This albumn has real feeling and a gutsey groove to it and really grows on you with time as the greatness of this albumn gradually unfurls itself before your ears.
The only poor track is the opener: "On a night like this". It really doesn't seem to fit in with the rest, but after that it just gets better and better. "Hazel", "Something there is about you", "You angel you" and "Never say goodbye" are all beautiful love songs. The two versions of "Forever Young" are vastly different approaches and are great in different ways.
"The Wedding Song" is a passionate profession of his love (for Sara perhaps?) but is touched by bitter sweet overtones as he moves to and throw between major and minor chords. "Dirge", accompanying himself on the piano, is a bitter, regretful reflection on his love (again perhaps for Sara?) that appears to be over.
Don't lightly disregard this albumn; it has real depth of character.
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on 13 December 2006
Many of Bob's albums are best valued in retrospect. Planet Waves is an amazing album. The Band plays well. One should not always compare with other performances, better then to focus on the music itself. I will ask you to take special notice of the song "Never Say Goodbye" on this album. It takes a few times of listening to get it under your skin - and then: It just grabs you. Everything is right in this, albeit short, wonderful song. Bob starts singing as if he is about to fall asleep, or is hypnotised - dark, soft, and then he sings up, delievering some beautiful lines (you're beautiful beyond words. you're beautiful to me - you could make me cry, never say goodbye) I recognize magic when I see and hear it - and this song floods over.....
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on 10 July 2009
I've been a massive Dylan fan for many years now and have had obsessions with various albums along the way; namely Blood on the Tracks (my first love), Blonde on Blonde and Highway 61.

I first heard planet waves a few months ago when a friend played me "Never Say Goodbye". The song absolutely blew me away and i bought the album the next day.

As a Dylan album it pretty strange, and some songs are defintiely weaker than others. It does, however, have themes that run through the album and thus a overall direction. It chronicles love, obsession and grief as well as any other dylan album, and the love songs on Planet Waves are definitely some of the best of his career (which is certainly saying something).

Stand out tracks are "Going Going Gone", with screaming guitar by Robbie, "Hazel", "Forever Young" (the first version - the second version if the only song i'd ever dream of skipping), "Something there is about you" and what is in my opinion the most underrated song of his career "Never Say Goodbye".

I can never understand why that song isn't talked about more often, because to me it is simply the most honest, powerful and achingly beautiful love song in the world, and since i was first introduced to it several months ago, i have listened to it at least once every single day.

Now that something...

Buy it. Hear it. Love it.
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on 9 July 2012
I have to admit, although I like Bob Dylan, I don't worship the ground he walks on. My first Dylan album, 'Highway 61 Revisited' was always one to play. More snarlin' Bob. Then there was the laid back jams of 'Fat Garrett and Billy the Pig'.And somehow 'Nashville Skyline' snuck in. Then a whole raft of seventies Bob, well crafted story songs on albums like 'Blood on the Tracks' and 'Desire'-troubador Bob on the road coming to a place near you, even if was an aircraft hanger called Earls Court, London circa 1978. But then Bob found Jesus and I found Billy Bragg, rediscoverd Roy Harper and it was hats of to Bob and the great leap forward. So how did I miss this one and how come it is one of the great Dylan albums? As you may assume it was gathering dust when I first heard it. Sad but true. Bought it at a flea market with 'Slow Train Coming'-that went this stayed. Released in 1974 and featuring the Band Planet Waves is 'Whiney Bob' at his best from the start of 'On a night Like This', the aching 'Going, Going, Gone', the squeezed our 'Forever Young' and to the last, the one I stuck on the Ipod-'Wedding Song'. Maybe it feels a bit more from the heart. Maybe there were significant Bob relationships going south, something in the water of the dust bowls of constant touring but whatever, this album is a jewel. And the Band make for one hell of a backing party-so the music is solid. One dud track for me is 'You Angel You'. Maybe something Prince could have taken on and done. And the good thing about whining Bob? You can sing along and sound good. Cheers mate.
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on 13 September 2000
I picked this up in a bargain bin in Canada 2 years ago and not being too familiar with Dylan's 70's stuff, was expecting some crap. Not so. This album is good from start to end and was a breath of fresh air to me, being more familiar with the intense 60's Bob. The music sounds spontaneous - indeed the album was recorded in just 3 days. There is pretty funky stuff like 'Tough Mama' as well as some of Dylan's best acoustic work, like 'Wedding Song'. The highlight is 'Forever Young' of which there are two versions - the one familiar to anyone who's seen 'The Last waltz' and the C&W version.
A good album, but not quite as good as his monumental ones. Definitely worth buying.
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on 17 October 2010
Dylan has delivered so many first rate albums that it is easy to overlook offerings such as Plant Waves, which has always been for me a good but not outstanding album. This was his last studio recording with 'The Band' and his best since John Wesley Harding, and it immediately proceeded his classic Blood On The Tracks and Desire. Of the eleven tracks or ten songs on offer (Forever Young has 2 versions here), probably the weakest is Dirge which is reminiscent of New Morning. Going Going Gone / Hazel / Something There is About You / Wedding Song are all superb songs, but for me the outstanding track has to be 'Never Say Goodbye' with its key changes. This could be regarded as being the first of four studio albums dealing with his marriage break down, but like Desire it would appear to be an attempt at reconciliation. A great but overlooked classic Dylan album, from what has always been for me his classic era and the beginning of what was to be a string of 5 superb studio albums ending with the brilliant Slow Train Coming, plus two classic live releases which were Before The Flood and Hard Rain and one dodgy 'official' bootleg The Basement Tapes. Great song writing as always from the master at the beginning of his second coming, and The Band are on top form also.
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on 16 September 2014
I don't know why it has took so long for me to get this, huge Dylan and the band fan, I must have had it and lost it, but anyway, for me one word sums this album up. fantastic.
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