Bob Dylan – World Gone Wrong

World Gone Wrong

Bob DylanWorld Gone Wrong Columbia CK 57590 (1993)

Although no one could have guessed it at the time, World Gone Wrong in a large part set the tone for much of the rest of Dylan’s career.  His albums from Time Out of Mind until his late-career switch of a standards crooner — especially Together Through Life — rely heavily on an electrified version of the simple blues forms that coalesced here.  This just doesn’t work as well as the folk styled Good as I Been to You though, even if this one is engineered much better.  These are grim tunes, stripped of the deeply weird and unpredictable elements of that prior collection of folk.  Playing the blues Dylan tends to sound lazy.  “Delia” is still nice.

I may be in the minority, but I think this is no better (or worse) than what you could hear from a street musician busking with old blues and folk tunes.  It’s one of those albums that kind of drifts by without taking any big chances, without opening up and risking exposing vulnerabilities.  Instead it pares down the thematic range to almost a monotone.  But it plays into expectations.  So in perfunctory fashion it delivers what it advertises.  That seems to be why “Dylan bores” like this album.  And it fulfilled Dylan’s existing contract to Columbia with minimal effort on his part.  Moving on then…