* First released as a single on 3/80, but AR charted version is actually a live performance with the Grateful Dead that didn’t chart until 2/4/89.
Slow Train Coming
“Perhaps it was inevitable that Bob Dylan would change direction at the end of the '70s, since he had dabbled in everything from full-on repudiation of his legacy to a quiet embrace of it, to dipping his toe into pure showmanship. Nobody really could have expected that he would turn to Christianity on Slow Train Coming, embracing a born-again philosophy with enthusiasm. He has no problem in believing in a vengeful god — you gotta serve somebody, after all — and this is pure brimstone and fire throughout the record, even on such lovely testimonials as I Believe in You. The unexpected side effect of his conversion is that it gave Dylan a focus he hadn't had since Blood on the Tracks, and his concentration carries over to the music, which is lean and direct in a way that he hadn't been since, well, Blood on the Tracks. Focus isn't necessarily the same thing as consistency, and this does suffer from being a bit too dogmatic, not just in its religion, but in its musical approach. Still, it's hard to deny that Dylan doesn't sound revitalized here, and the result is a modest success that at least works on its own terms” (Erlewine).