Review Summary: It's simplistic charm will have you humming right along.
I've listened to all of Dylan's critically acclaimed records (aka every album leading up to Self Portrait) and each one is amazing in a different way. It is my argument that Self-Portrait was unfairly criticized due to the records that preceded it (Freewheelin', Highway 61, Blonde on Blonde, etc.). Of course, when Dylan was fed up with people showing up at his door, he decided to lay low and put out this record of covers. Looking back, it makes sense why he did it. The classic "what is this ***" review that adhered itself to this album upon its release was understandable, but it's time to unstick it.
It was unlike anything the poet had done previously and it caught people by surprise. But give Self-Portrait a chance and you'll enjoy its easy listening quality. Laid back performances of Like a Rolling Stone and She Belongs to Me show how Dylan can perform these classics without spitting venom as he did on the 1966 world tour that nearly killed him. I enjoy his version of Early Mornin Rain more than the original by Gordon Lightfoot and his duet with Paul Simon in The Boxer is irresistible in its minimalistic approach. Gotta Travel On is a definite highlight, he adds a couple verses to the end and arranges the song brilliantly.
If you're looking for a Dylan album that won't shake you to the core of your being, but is nonetheless an enjoyable listen on a Sunday afternoon, this is a great record to pop on the old turntable.