• Record Label: Columbia
  • Release Date: Jun 19, 2020
User Score
7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 184 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 26 out of 184
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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. 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).
  8. 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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  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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 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,
    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
  13. Oct 26, 2020
    6
    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,
    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...

    Meh.
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  14. 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...
  15. 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 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",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 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
  16. Dec 6, 2020
    10
    Quite simply one of his greatest works, not just of his later period, and one of the greatest albums of all time. Not one skippable track in the set, every song is one for the ages
  17. 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
  18. 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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  19. Dec 5, 2020
    7
    I Contain Multitudes - 8/10
    False Prophet - 8/10
    My Own Version of You - 8/10
    I've Made Up My Mind to Give Myself to You - 7/10
    Black Rider - 7/10
    Goodbye Jimmy Reed - 7,5/10
    Mother of Muses - 8/10
    Crossing the Rubicon - 7/10
    Key West (Philosopher Pirate) - 8/10
    Murder Most Foul - 8/10
  20. 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. 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
    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
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  21. Nov 16, 2020
    5
    ( 58/100 )

    Bob Dylan, al igual que la reciente aportación de Neil Young, no tiene nada de malo, pero tampoco se enfoca en apelar a las demandas técnicas que la música actual han elevado. Sin tocar el valor de su pasado, su muy presente calidad de ser un clásico en el presente, y su alcance en el futuro, simplemente que este álbum es muy duro y pesado de apreciar en el contexto de la
    ( 58/100 )

    Bob Dylan, al igual que la reciente aportación de Neil Young, no tiene nada de malo, pero tampoco se enfoca en apelar a las demandas técnicas que la música actual han elevado. Sin tocar el valor de su pasado, su muy presente calidad de ser un clásico en el presente, y su alcance en el futuro, simplemente que este álbum es muy duro y pesado de apreciar en el contexto de la producción de hoy en día. El 90% de la calificación se le otorga a la innegable poética y responsabilidad lirica que Dylan tiene en cada canción. Una melancolía política, romántica y social que definitivamente es importante resaltar y rescatar se encuentra en este álbum. Sin embargo, la producción simplemente es un telón en la parte de atrás del escenario que no aportar nada al artista. Hasta cierto punto, este álbum suena mejor sin la música y únicamente con el poético discurso de Bob Dylan.
    -
    Bob Dylan, just like the recent contribution of Neil Young, it's not bad, but it doesn't focus on appealing the technical demands that the current music has risen. Omitting the value of his past, his very present quality of being a classic, and his extent in the future, simply this album is hard and heavy to appreciate in the current context of production. The 90% of the score is thanks to the undeniable poetic and lyric responsibility that Dylan shows in each song. A politic, romantic and social melancholia, which is definitively important to underline and rescue, is found in this album. Nevertheless, the production is only a curtain behind the stage that doesn't help the artist. Until a certain point, this album sounds better without the music and only with the poetic speech of Bob Dylan.
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  22. 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
  23. Jul 30, 2020
    10
    A masterpiece in every way possible. This album contains some of Dylan's best songwriting ever. His best since Time Out Of Mind. I cannot describe my love and appreciation for this record.
  24. 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
  25. 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.
  26. Sep 12, 2020
    10
    After listening to this on a regular basis over the past three months I feel confident calling it Dylan's best album of the 21st century and one of the top 5 albums of his entire career. Dylan's voice, relaxed and warm, is a revelation - probably the result of having done those standards albums and learning how to sing anew again - and the lyrical wordplay across these 10 astonishingAfter listening to this on a regular basis over the past three months I feel confident calling it Dylan's best album of the 21st century and one of the top 5 albums of his entire career. Dylan's voice, relaxed and warm, is a revelation - probably the result of having done those standards albums and learning how to sing anew again - and the lyrical wordplay across these 10 astonishing original new songs is as dense, brutal, funny and cathartic as you'd expect from the master wordsmith. Expand
  27. 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
  28. Jun 21, 2020
    10
    Phenomenal album. Maybe one of his best. Certainly in the top 3 Dylan albums.
  29. 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.
  30. Jun 26, 2020
    8
    Very Bob Dylan. Not quite the level as his earliest stuff but still really good.
  31. Jul 14, 2020
    10
    Stunning. As a lifelong Dylan fan I disliked most of Tempest with it’s metronomic playing and overlong songs. The Sinatra stuff is OK but I craved proper Dylan and this is it. The sound is unique and consistently beautiful, he has never sung better (or at least not for a very long time!). And the songs - all mysterious, personal with melodies that sneak up and lodge in your skull. KeyStunning. As a lifelong Dylan fan I disliked most of Tempest with it’s metronomic playing and overlong songs. The Sinatra stuff is OK but I craved proper Dylan and this is it. The sound is unique and consistently beautiful, he has never sung better (or at least not for a very long time!). And the songs - all mysterious, personal with melodies that sneak up and lodge in your skull. Key West is my favourite but there are no fillers or a dull moment. Dylan’s approaching 80 and his muse burns bright, Expand
  32. 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
  33. Nov 24, 2020
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Best album since times out of mind. Pleasant vocals, meaningful lyrics and all the good that Dylan can give to us Expand
Metascore
95

Universal acclaim - based on 25 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 25
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 25
  3. Negative: 0 out of 25
  1. The Wire
    Nov 6, 2020
    90
    Rough And Rowdy Ways is undoubtedly the work of an artist with one eye on his legacy, yet it’s so full of wit, mischief and life that it positively sings. [Sep 2020, p.52]
  2. 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]
  3. 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.