• Record Label:
  • Release Date:
Rough and Rowdy Ways Image
Metascore
95

Universal acclaim - based on 25 Critic Reviews What's this?

User Score
7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 184 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • Artist(s): Blind Boy Grunt
  • Summary: The first new studio release of new music for the singer-songwriter in eight years.
Buy On

Top Track

False Prophet
Another day that don't end Another ship goin' out Another day of anger, bitterness, and doubt I know how it happened I saw it begin I opened my... See the rest of the song lyrics
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 25
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 25
  3. Negative: 0 out of 25
  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 15, 2020
    100
    “Rough and Rowdy Ways” rolls out one marvel after another, with killer playing from the singer’s road band.
  3. 100
    Rough and Rowdy Ways is long, intricately woven and illuminating as a medieval tapestry, and just as precious. It’ll make you cry, it’ll make you tear your hair out, it’ll make you gasp with awe.
  4. Jun 15, 2020
    90
    An artist haunted by the prospect of his passing while still facing down new challenges, Bob Dylan remains above all else a student of America.
  5. Classic Rock Magazine
    Jul 29, 2020
    90
    Rough And Rowdy Ways is unique, precious testimony from an elderly rock'n'roll survivor who, for all the games he plays, is a seer nonetheless. [Aug 2020, p.82]
  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. Jun 18, 2020
    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 25 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 33
  2. Negative: 1 out of 33
  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. Aug 28, 2020
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Es un álbum hermoso, refrescante. Muy suave. Conserva la esencia de Taylor y nos transmite mucha paz. De mis favoritos. Expand
  3. Jun 19, 2020
    10
    This album's vitality and clarity is a miracle, not merely given Dylan's vintage (he hasn't been able to play guitar on stage since 2013), butThis album's vitality and clarity is a miracle, not merely given Dylan's vintage (he hasn't been able to play guitar on stage since 2013), but also for the manner it navigates rock to unchartered territory - that fragile intersection of mortality, weariness and lucidity. The world's greatest living artist has musically defined post-retirement years for posterity every bit as compellingly as he transformed folk and rock in the 1960s. To affect humanity on this scale is not really human. Expand
  4. Dec 10, 2020
    10
    11/12

    This album has no reason being as good as it is. I didn't think Bob Dylan had it in him for a new album. It's surprisingly fantastic.
    11/12

    This album has no reason being as good as it is. I didn't think Bob Dylan had it in him for a new album. It's surprisingly fantastic. Each song is pleasantly dark and powerful and the lyrics are masterfully written for every track. No songs stand out right now, but I think upon re-listening, I'll really grow to love it. But that's also because each song seems so good on its own and I'd probably want to listen to each one at any random point.
    I don't believe it's a concept album, but to me it sounds like each track is a cowboy travelling through the desert at night. He sings about loneliness, goes to a saloon to dance and drink, and ruminating under the stars.
    The last track was an experience though. "Murder Most Foul" is a nearly 17-minute song that essentially homages media throughout the years while memorializing the murder of JFK. It mentions some of my favorites like "Tommy" by The Who, Buster Keaton, and "Tom Dooley". Also, Fiona Apple plays piano on it. It's a beautiful example of Bob Dylan keeping you on the string and showing his dominance. He's gonna sing an extremely long and emotional song and just poetically list off different songs and movies. It's tremendous.

    ALBUM ARTWORK: The cover is interesting. To me, it looks like the intro to "Mulholland Drive" with people dancing in front of a green screen. It clearly has a country-western feel to it but it looks too much like the cover to some cheap late 80's country album that no one listened to or liked. Plus, the goofy western font makes it look even cheaper. I would like the cover much more and it would compliment the album if it was mostly black or dark gray and featured a western figure close-up hiding in the shadows. Similar to "Panther" by Pain of Salvation. Otherwise, the cover just doesn't work and doesn't show the listener what they're really about to hear. The only good thing is that I can easily picture this soundtrack being played at the bar in the picture. But, at the same time, that bar doesn't represent the album very well.
    Artwork rating: 5/12
    Expand
  5. Oct 13, 2020
    9
    At 79 years old, probability suggests that "Rough and Rowdy Ways" may well be Dylan's last album of original songs. Here's hoping for a followAt 79 years old, probability suggests that "Rough and Rowdy Ways" may well be Dylan's last album of original songs. Here's hoping for a follow up but if "Rough and Rowdy Ways" does indeed turn out to be his farewell then what a way to go. It's my favourite Dylan album since 2006's "Modern Times". This latest offering is similar in many ways to that one and if you liked "Modern Times", you'll really enjoy this. Lyrically it is mesmerising if you have the patience to absorb over an hour of attention demanding material. The songs are backed by highly melodic and generally high quality backing arrangements rooted in blues. My own personal favourite is "I've Made Up My Mind to Give Myself to You", it's probably one of the less incisive tracks lyrically but the blend of melody and lyrics just transmits the feel of an old timer, sitting back, drifting slowly in and out of the present while also reminiscing. Of course context is key, when Dylan is gone I doubt if any of these songs will be played in his memory ahead of his treasure trove of a back catalog. Having said that, as an album "Rough and Rowdy Ways" is a beauty. Disc 1 consistently delivers the good and is a masterclass in song writing and poetry. Disc 2 is made up soley of the 17 minute epic "Murder Most Foul", a song right up their with "Hurricane" in terms of storytelling if not necessarily musically. The revolutionary songwriter who first came on the scene almost 60 years ago is still landing his punches with surgical precision. Expand
  6. Jun 20, 2020
    8
    This is an album that can span generations, its easily accessible by anyone from the ages 12 through 90. The music sits in the backgroundThis is an album that can span generations, its easily accessible by anyone from the ages 12 through 90. The music sits in the background (even on the faster paced blues songs) for Dylan to sing poetry over, He's 79 years old now, and his voice is definitely not what it used to be, but for the most part, he uses it well throughout the album.

    This is a good album, (not including the cover albums that have come out recently), I think "R&RW" is better than the "Tempest", and "Together Through Life", but not as good as "Modern Times" and "Love & Theft"
    Expand
  7. Nov 1, 2020
    0
    A bit overrated if you read what the critics are saying, but still worth listening to if you like Dylan.

    I join fellow critics in the
    A bit overrated if you read what the critics are saying, but still worth listening to if you like Dylan.

    I join fellow critics in the opinion that critics have praised his latest albums because he's old and will soon leave his last album on earth.

    Some good lyrics in his songs, quite deep, but it would be better as a book of poems than as a music album. It lacks charm in rhythms, chords, production...
    Expand

See all 33 User Reviews

Related Articles

  1. The 40 Best Albums of 2020

    The 40 Best Albums of 2020 Image
    Published: December 24, 2020
    We reveal the 40 highest-scoring album releases of the year, as well as some of 2020's bests and worsts in other music categories.
  2. Best of 2020: Music Critic Top Ten Lists

    Best of 2020: Music Critic Top Ten Lists Image
    Published: November 30, 2020
    Over the next month, we'll be collecting year-end top 10 album lists from over 200 music critics, publications, record stores, and other sources. Find all of those individual lists and 2020's consensus rankings inside.
  3. The 20 Best Albums of 2020 So Far

    The 20 Best Albums of 2020 So Far Image
    Published: July 8, 2020
    We rank the 20 highest-scoring album releases from the first half of 2020.