• Record Label: Columbia
  • Release Date: Jun 19, 2020
User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 113 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 91 out of 113
  2. Negative: 14 out of 113
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  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 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.
  2. Jun 21, 2020
    9
    Beautiful and intriguing new album from the contrary old genius. I’m not a Dylan completist but this makes me think I should revisit his catalogue post 1980.
  3. Jun 21, 2020
    9
    Its a foot tapper. I like his voice and he seems to be timeless and an essential part of America
  4. Jun 21, 2020
    10
    His best album of the latter half of his career. Many instant favorites, many that will pass by you the first time only to emerge in your idle thoughts. Consistently great all the way through.
  5. 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
  6. Jun 19, 2020
    10
    Maybe his Best album since Desire (i can't decide if it's better than Time Out of Mind)
  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, 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
    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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  8. Jun 19, 2020
    7
    There‘s not a song on this album that‘s not a standout. The depth, coherence and consistency of lyrics, melodies and arrangements are unmatched in his late career. While its restrained, reflective yet defiant tone place it on a different part on the emotional spectrum than Time Out of Mind or Love & Theft, it achieves its effect masterfully while leaving plenty of layers to unravel overThere‘s not a song on this album that‘s not a standout. The depth, coherence and consistency of lyrics, melodies and arrangements are unmatched in his late career. While its restrained, reflective yet defiant tone place it on a different part on the emotional spectrum than Time Out of Mind or Love & Theft, it achieves its effect masterfully while leaving plenty of layers to unravel over repeated listenings. Any of these would have been among the best tracks on his late albums, and several, including Goodbye Jimmy Reed, Key West and Murder Most Foul, stand higher still above the rest. Expand
  9. 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
  10. 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 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 immenselyIn 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
  11. Jun 20, 2020
    10
    It's brilliant on every level - lyrically, musically, artistically - it is as much a creative peak for Dylan, as the big ones from the 60s and 70s...
  12. Jul 11, 2020
    10
    I think that this is a much better record than Love & Theft, &is right next to Time Out Of Mind. It's an album where the sheer weight of who Dylan actually IS, in American History, is the 500 ton lodestone in any room that plays it, IS.Deny it. Or not. Dismiss it. Or not. It is ineluctably, & irreducibly THERE. The sheer wry sharpness of Dylan's melodically Zen delivery throughout isI think that this is a much better record than Love & Theft, &is right next to Time Out Of Mind. It's an album where the sheer weight of who Dylan actually IS, in American History, is the 500 ton lodestone in any room that plays it, IS.Deny it. Or not. Dismiss it. Or not. It is ineluctably, & irreducibly THERE. The sheer wry sharpness of Dylan's melodically Zen delivery throughout is further testimony to the absolute authority Dylan possesses, as one of our greatest living Witnesses Of History. It is a GREAT Record. One we should be grateful for. I certainly am. Expand
  13. 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 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
    This 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"
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  14. Jul 8, 2020
    6
    Not as good as the critics are saying but still worth a listen especially if you like Dylan. I think the critics have been over praising his last few albums because they always think this will be his last. Tempest however was a great album (the one before this).
  15. Jul 9, 2020
    7
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This album is good, but songs overextended and would be much prettier in 3 or 4 minutes instead of 7 - 13. And let's be honest, this album has some points over due to legend status of artist. e points over Expand
  16. 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), 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 compellinglyThis 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
  17. Jun 19, 2020
    9
    A murder most foul is an instant classic. Another entertaining album, hope for another chance to see the great one live again.
  18. Jun 20, 2020
    8
    worth listening, haunting, feels like his last but hopefully not. Bob's voice imo has slightly improved, though he growls but it's more impressive ngl
  19. Jun 21, 2020
    10
    Phenomenal album. Maybe one of his best. Certainly in the top 3 Dylan albums.
  20. Jun 22, 2020
    10
    Prayers set to restrained music. Except when singing about Jimmy Reed. Best album since Love and Theft, maybe since Blood on the Tracks.
  21. Jun 26, 2020
    8
    Very Bob Dylan. Not quite the level as his earliest stuff but still really good.
Metascore
95

Universal acclaim - based on 23 Critic Reviews

Critic 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. 100
    Rough and Rowdy Ways is a clear reflection of America’s jagged landscape — one of romance and mystery, creativity and fortune, protestations and politicking, conquests and colonialism. It makes for an exquisite, haunting listen.
  3. Jun 22, 2020
    80
    Rough and Rowdy Ways has little, if any, rock 'n' roll, but the sneer remains. Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits might vaguely peek in a little. Dylan has long lost interest in conforming to expectations, so it's no surprise that on a new record, he either satisfies all of them or none of them. He sounds like Dylan, whatever that is.