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Rough and Rowdy Ways Image
Metascore
95

Universal acclaim - based on 23 Critic Reviews What's this?

User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 106 Ratings

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  • Artist(s): Blind Boy Grunt
  • Summary: The first new studio release of new music for the singer-songwriter in eight years.
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 23
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 23
  3. Negative: 0 out of 23
  1. Jun 25, 2020
    100
    Rough and Rowdy Days is a typically astounding, kaleidoscopic journey through the last half-century of American history. ... Dylan lapped us a long time ago. He’s still sprinting far ahead. And now he definitely can’t be caught.
  2. Jun 18, 2020
    100
    Rough and Rowdy Ways is the work of a man in love with language and philosophy, and, at 79, he continues to take the pulse of the zeitgeist with unerring precision. He ain't no false prophet, he's an artist, he don't look back.
  3. Jun 19, 2020
    100
    In keeping with other self-produced Dylan releases of recent years, the sonics of Rough And Rowdy Ways is as clear as its word sets are dense. ... The musicianship will not steal or detract attention from Bob himself, but rather encircle him as he performs, their fluid interplay functioning like that ideal frame which vividly illuminates a striking painting or photo. ... As with all the best Bob Dylan albums, poetic imagery abounds.
  4. Jun 15, 2020
    90
    On Rough and Rowdy Ways, Dylan is exploring terrain nobody else has reached before—yet he just keeps pushing on into the future.
  5. Jun 22, 2020
    90
    It is, quite simply, a staggeringly good record for an artist at this late stage of what has been a remarkable career, entirely made up of original compositions and worthy in its own way to stand alongside the masterpieces of its creator’s mid-’60s and mid-’70s halcyon periods.
  6. Jun 22, 2020
    90
    As with his best work, Rough and Rowdy Ways encompasses the infinite potential for grace and disaster that can be clearly discerned but rarely summarized in the most turbulent of ages.
  7. 67
    Dylan could use some editing here, for sure, but it’d be even better to let his band off their leashes and, like in the old juke joint featured on the album’s cover, close the windows and let it get hot in there.

See all 23 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. Jun 22, 2020
    10
    This is up there with Love and Theft and Time out of Mind. Another great album that is a mix of fun, mischief, and reflection. It is some kindThis is up there with Love and Theft and Time out of Mind. Another great album that is a mix of fun, mischief, and reflection. It is some kind of alchemy that he can continue to put out classics like this that take where he's been and move it on to something new and different. I absolutely love it. All of it. Expand
  2. Jun 24, 2020
    10
    In a career filled with highlights, Dylan has delivered yet another classic record. The songs, singing, playing and production combine for aIn a career filled with highlights, Dylan has delivered yet another classic record. The songs, singing, playing and production combine for a rich, often sublime collection. Never one to rest on his laurels or indulge in nostalgia, Dylan's songs possess keen insights and thoughtful reflection, as well as some biting humor. "Rough and Rowdy Ways" is a top-notch record from an immensely talented artist. Highly recommended. Expand
  3. Jun 24, 2020
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I have made a test score, I see that the positive scores do allow them to load and you are deleting the negative ones in addition to blocking them. Censoring consumer freedom of expression for The Last of US game. You have fallen very low. Expand
  4. Jun 20, 2020
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Blah blah blah blah blah blahhgv hhb hjb hjb ugh I am not sure if you have any further Expand
  5. Jun 21, 2020
    9
    Its a foot tapper. I like his voice and he seems to be timeless and an essential part of America
  6. Jun 26, 2020
    8
    Very Bob Dylan. Not quite the level as his earliest stuff but still really good.
  7. Jun 20, 2020
    6
    On Rough and Rowdy Ways, his first release of original songs since 2012, Bob Dylan dishes on a wide range of topics from mortality, history,On Rough and Rowdy Ways, his first release of original songs since 2012, Bob Dylan dishes on a wide range of topics from mortality, history, and inspiration to pop culture. He speaks more so than sings through a scratchy voice that bristles and pops like a dusty record spouting socio-political ruminations on a world that's not dark yet but getting there.

    The bottom line is that Dylan's lyrics overtake this collection. The crafty chord shifts, wailing harmonica, and rock rhythms, which defined the folk-rock sound in the '60s and '70s, are nowhere to be found. His soliloquies are, at times, poignant and prescient. Other times they are self-indulgent and self-aggrandizing, making the overall listening experience confoundingly hollow.

    If we focus on the more poignant lyrics, there is a lot to like. Dylan's masterfully infuses metaphor and weaves in pop references to create something of a hip hidden history lesson for the uninitiated. "Murder Most Foul" is by far the most potent track lyrically. Dylan skillfully uses the JFK assassination as a baseline from which to ruminate poetically on the thousand historical reverberations rippling from the impact of that fateful day.

    Still, I had a hard time picturing anything but Dylan on stage at a poetry reading with a bass player and a drummer in the corner laying down jazzy syncopations while Bob reads from a notebook of poems. Couplets that struck me most forcefully include:

    I Contain Multitudes: "I'm just like Anne Frank, like Indiana Jones. And them British bad boys, the Rolling Stones. I go right to the edge, I go right to the end. I go right where all things lost are made good again."

    Crossing the Rubicon: "I feel the holy spirit inside, see the light that freedom gives. I believe it's in the reach of every man who lives."

    Mother of Muses: "Mother of Muses unleash your wrath. Things I can't see, they're blocking my path."

    Murder Most Foul: "The day they killed him, someone said to me, "Son. The age of the Antichrist has just only begun."

    Overall, words alone are not enough to hold Rough and Rowdy Ways together, there is no sonic earth for these verses of truth to take root. Guitar & Pen gives out no free passes, as some other magazines do. While we kneel at the feet of the Gods, we won't always kiss the ring. If only old Bob had brought in Mark Knopfler to play some backing guitar, or Jacques Levy on electric violin or Daniel Lanois to produce, this would be a record for the ages. As is, I consider it more of an audiobook than a record album. While the lyrics shine, the band's restraint makes this a largely forgettable release.
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See all 18 User Reviews