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March 03, 2021 1 min read

Vinyl-a-Day 38: Bob Dylan - Empire Burlesque (Columbia, 1986)
Bob Dylan - Empire Burlesque (Columbia, 1986)
It's 80s Bob. Deal with it. In my opinion this album has been unfairly maligned because of its 80s production. Okay, so you're not a fan of synths, back-up singers and gated snare. BIG DEAL! The songwriting is just as sophisticated as some of Dylan's more celebrated records and instead of just phoning it in, he appears to be enjoying leaning into contemporary sounds of the era - and Dylan was always about reinventing himself. It is rumored that Dylan's disappointment with Columbia over what he felt was a lack of promotional support of the album caused him to deliberately deliver to lackluster follow-ups, 1987's Knocked Out Loaded (although "Brownsville Girl" is undeniably brilliant) and 1988's Down in the Groove. He must have gotten over it by 1989 as Oh Mercy is one of his most revered albums from that period. Whether you like acoustic Bob, electric Bob, Christian Bob, we can all agree that even when you find him underwhelming, Bob Dylan is still better than most. Check out the three music videos from this album and try to tell me Empire Burlesque is not one of his best albums of the 80s: 

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