The 10-track effort is Dylan’s first album of original material since 2012’s Tempest. In the interim, he’s released three collections of classic Americana songs: the Frank Sinatra covers albums Shadows in the Night (2015) and Fallen Angels (2016), along with the triple-album Triplicate (2017). The new effort was previewed with a handful of singles: “False Prophet”, “I Contain Multitudes”, and “Murder Most Foul”. Clocking in at 17 minutes, the latter song has the distinction of being Dylan’s first-ever No. 1 single on the Billboard charts.
In addition to his frequent members of his backing band, Dylan called on the talents of a number of artists to contribute. Fiona Apple, Blake Mills, and Benmont Tench are all credited as “additional musicians,” with Apple providing some background piano on “Murder Most Foul”. Matt Chamberlin (Pearl Jam, David Bowie, Tori Amos… everyone) plays drums throughout the LP.
In his review of Rough and Rowdy Ways, Consequence of Sound Editorial Director Matt Melis wrote,
“Dylan’s at his best here when a bit more rambunctious. ‘Goodbye Jimmy Reed’ recalls Dylan’s filthiest blues romps, cracking bawdy jokes like ‘Transparent woman in a transparent dress/ Suits you well, I must confess,’ as he toasts late bluesman Jimmy Reed. The swampy, darkly comical ‘My Own Version of You” finds Dylan in the role of mad scientist, scouring morgues and monasteries for the necessary parts (“limbs and livers and brains and hearts”) to bring his creature to life. “One strike of lightning is all that I’ll need/ In a blast of electricity that runs at top speed,” Dylan consults his lab notes. “Show me your ribs/ I’ll stick in the knife/ Gonna jump-start my creation to life.” It’s good fun and recalls the production of Oh Mercy with the devilish humor of “Love and Theft”.”
Stream Dylan’s Rough and Rowdy Ways below, and pick up a copy of the album for yourself here.
Rough and Rowdy Ways Artwork:
Rough and Rowdy Ways Tracklist:
01. I Contain Multitudes
02. False Prophet
03. My Own Version of You
04. I’ve Made Up My Mind to Give Myself to You
05. Black Rider
06. Goodbye Jimmy Reed
07. Mother of Muses
08. Crossing the Rubicon
09. Key West
10. Murder Most Foul