Consumer Guide Album
Bob Dylan: Street-Legal [Columbia, 1978]
Inveterate rock and rollers learn to find charm in boastful, secretly girl-shy adolescents, but boozy-voiced misogynists in their late thirties are a straight drag. This divorcÚ sounds overripe, too in love with his own self-generated misery to break through the leaden tempos that oppress his melodies, devoid not just of humor but of lightness--unless, that is, he intends his Neil Diamond masquerade as a joke. Because he's too shrewd to put his heart into genuine corn, and because his idea of a tricky arrangement is to add horns or chicks to simplistic verse-and-chorus abcb structures, a joke is what it is. But since he still commands remnants of authority, the joke is sour indeed.