Bob Dylan
Love and Theft



by El_Goodo USER (19 Reviews)
August 23rd, 2006 | 14 replies

Release Date: 2001 | Tracklist

The sixties were no doubt Dylan's finest hour, but Dylan proved time after time that he was not willing to become a 60's nostalgic act. When people began counting Dylan out in the 70's he fired back with Blood On The Tracks (now considered one of Dylan's finest albums), The Basement Tapes, and Desire. But by the late 70's and early 80's people had begun to leave Dylan for dead a second time. With his now infamous born again phase Dylan confused, angered, and alienated many fans, but Dylan was never one who aimed to please everybody. He always did what he wanted to and assumed that people would follow him.

Dylan received his first Grammy for best rock vocal performance on gotta serve somebody, which no doubt assured him that some people where still on his side. Though his work remained inconsistent throughout the 80's he released some great albums like Infidels and Empire Burlesque. The latter of which brought us the Dylan-classic Jokerman.

By the 90's it seemed like Dylan had finally run out of things to say. He released multiple albums containing no original songs, and when he did release original material it seemed uninspired, and nowhere near the quality of his earlier work. It seemed as though Dylan's time had finally come, and that he like many of his contemporaries would fade away.

But Dylan once again surprised everyone with the release of Time Out Of Mind. An album of original material that could stand up next to his greatest works. The album won two Grammy’s a sparked a renewed interest in Dylan. The follow up to Time Out Of Mind could either be the final nail in the coffin of Dylan's career or it could prove that it's "Not dark yet."

Thankfully Time out Of Mind's follow up "Love and Theft" proved to be the latter. Opening with the rocking tune Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum we hear a relaxed and happy Dylan. Fueled by a jangly rock n' roll riff you can tell that Dylan is having a great time on this song. [b]Mississippi[b/] is the second track on the album, and is one of this albums classic songs. The song is built around a jangly guitar rhythm, and a hard backbeat. The lyrics are classic Dylan filled with emotion, and regret.

All my powers of expression and thoughts so sublime
Could never do you justice in reason or rhyme
Only one thing I did wrong
Stayed in Mississippi a day too long

Summer Days follows in the vein of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum in that it is a rocking track led by a 50's sounding rock and roll lick. Bye and Bye sounds like a rainy day song. A soft blues progression plays in the background as Dylan recited lyrics that fit the dragging rainy day feel the song perfectly.

By and by, I'm breathin' a lover's sigh
While I'm sittin' on my watch so I can be on time
I'm singin' love's praises with sugar coated rhyme
By and by, on you I'm castin' my eye
I'm paintin' the town, swingin' my partner around
Well I know who I can depend on, I know who to trust
I'm watchin' the boats, I'm studyin' the dust

Lonesome Day Blues is a harder rocking track then the previous songs sounding like it could have came off of one of the Stones 60's albums. The lyrics tell us why it's been such a lonesome day for the narrator. Floater is reminiscent of Bye and Bye only with a violin added into the mix. High Water should immediately bring the Dylan's album The Times Are A Changin' to your mind, both musically and lyrically.

High water risin', the shacks are slidin' down
Folks lose their possessions - folks are leaving town
Bertha Mason shook it - broke it
Then she hung it on a wall
Says, "You're dancin' with whom they tell you to
Or you don't dance at all."
It's tough out there
High water everywhere

Moonlight is a love ballad reminiscent of Dylan's early work, Queen Jane Approximately is one song in particular that may come to mind.

The seasons they are turnin' and my sad heart is yearnin'
To hear again the songbird's sweet melodious tone
Won't you meet me out in the moonlight alone?

Honest With Me manages to capture the present-day Dylan’s musical style, while also capturing the young Dylan’s humorous side. Bursting in with a rocking rhythm, Dylan begins singing about women who give him the creeps. He also includes some of his infamous poetic “Dylan” humor with lines like “You say my eyes are pretty and my smile is nice, Well, I'll sell it to ya at a reduced price.”

Po’ Boy is another acoustic track that brings to mind classic Dylan. With it’s acoustic rhythm, and story-telling lyrics. But it’s got something that’s a little rarer to find in Dylan’s songs. A great hook, I’ve had the voice of Dylan singing out “Poor Boy,” for a while now. And I don’t want it out any time soon. Cry A While continues on with the classic Dylan vibe. The lyrics are undoubtedly Dylan, and the music will remind you of the rock n’ roll blues of Highway 61, and Blonde on Blonde. Pledging My Time is what comes to my mind.

Well, I had to go down and see a guy named Mr. Goldsmith
A nasty, dirty, double-crossin', back-stabbin' phony I didn't wanna have to be dealin' with
But I did it for you and all you gave me was a smile
Well, I cried for you - now it's your turn to cry awhile

Sugar Baby is perfectly placed at the end of the album. It seems to be the best window into the mind of Dylan. A heartfelt ballad that is left open for the listeners interpretation. When Dylan mutters the lines “You went years without me
Might as well keep going now,” it could be argued that he is not talking about just the “Sugar Baby” in particular. Maybe he’s talking about the world these days, or maybe its love itself. One thing for sure is that this track is excellent and could stand up confidently next to any of Dylan’s material.

I got my back to the sun 'cause the light is too intense
I can see what everybody in the world is up against
You can't turn back - you can't come back, sometimes we push too far
One day you'll open up your eyes and you'll see where we are

Sugar Baby get on down the road
You ain't got no brains, no how
You went years without me
Might as well keep going now

Some of these bootleggers, they make pretty good stuff
Plenty of places to hide things here if you wanna hide 'em bad enough
I'm staying with Aunt Sally, but you know, she's not really my aunt
Some of these memories you can learn to live with and some of them you can't

Sugar Baby get on down the line
You ain't got no brains, no how
You went years without me
You might as well keep going now

The ladies down in Darktown, they're doing the Darktown Strut
You always got to be prepared but you never know for what
There ain't no limit to the amount of trouble women bring
Love is pleasing, love is teasing, love's not an evil thing

Sugar Baby, get on down the road
You ain't got no brains, no how
You went years without me
You might as well keep going now

Every moment of existence seems like some dirty trick
Happiness can come suddenly and leave just as quick
Any minute of the day the bubble could burst
Try to make things better for someone, sometimes,
you just end up making it a thousand times worse

Sugar Baby, get on down the road
You ain't got no brains no how
You went years without me
Might as well keep going now

Your charms have broken many a heart and mine is surely one
You got a way of tearing a world apart, love, see what you done
Just as sure as we're living, just as sure as you're born
Look up, look up - seek your Maker - 'fore Gabriel blows his horn

Sugar Baby, get on down the line
You ain't got no sense, no how
You went years without me
Might as well keep going now

So what is Love and Theft? It is one of the finest Dylan albums since Blood on The Tracks. Sure his voice has aged and some casual Dylan fans may be turned away, but I feel that his voice only adds more emotion to the songs. And surely it is not enough to keep you from listening to his brilliant lyrics. Anyone who thinks that Dylan has become an irrelevant symbol of the 60’s, must listen to this album. Sure some of the tracks sound dated musically, but that is because the man is 65 and ironic as it may seem he is a little old fashioned. I’m sure once Dylan has passed on, these albums will be looked at as his final words, and will get the recognition they deserve. And with this album freshly in my mind, I am eagerly awaiting Modern Times.

Recommended Tracks
Sugar Baby
Po’ Boy
Honest With Me

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user ratings (294)

Comments:Add a Comment 
August 23rd 2006


the quotes kind of ugly it up, otherwise good.This Message Edited On 08.23.06

August 23rd 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

Hmm I didn't think it looked too bad. Anyone else think I should change it?

Tom Violence
August 23rd 2006


Change it.

This album isn't that good.

August 23rd 2006


Good review, but yeah change those mofos.

August 23rd 2006


Album Rating: 3.5

This album is good. I was in the process of doing this review .

You didn't put Summer Days as a highlight, though. That's odd.

Tom Violence
August 23rd 2006


This album isn't good.

August 23rd 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

This album is good. I was in the process of doing this review .

You didn't put Summer Days as a highlight, though. That's odd.

Nothing wrong with two reviews.

August 24th 2006


Album Rating: 3.5

Nah, I know. My rating is the same though, so... So is my intro and most of what I want to say.

You really shouldn't quote such large portions of the lyrics, especially not without commenting on them. Quite singular lines that encapsulate what you want to say, people are bound to skip your quotes otherwise.This Message Edited On 08.27.06

Two-Headed Boy
September 1st 2006


Album Rating: 2.5

This album is boring and unoriginal, thankuverymuch.

September 1st 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

Unoriginal? What album does it sound like then?

September 1st 2006


Album Rating: 3.5

It's probably one of the most fun albums I own. You can tell Dylan has a smile on his face.

December 13th 2009


Album Rating: 3.0

happen to have this

August 29th 2011


Album Rating: 4.5

Absolutely adore this album.

December 5th 2012


Album Rating: 4.5

This album is so close to a classic.

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