Six fantastically underrated Bob Dylan albums

Did this legend ever make a mistake?

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Even the greatest ones have a right to make a mistake. Yet, with Bob Dylan, there will always be one baffling question open to discussion - did he ever make a mistake when creating music (and lyrics)?

Possibly, probably, but what remains open to discussion is when and on which album(s). What makes things more complicated is the fact that Dylan is one of the most prominent (and best) musical and lyrical shape-shifters, changing direction and pace, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly, and very often alienating a hefty part of his audience and critics, sometimes at same, sometimes at different time.

Going from folky acoustics to electric rock, then to country and blues, combining them all, trying to shed skin once in a while,  not recording some of his back music in a studio, getting religious, then going back to politics and personal observations, recording a torch song album here and there, and then all of it back over again.

Six of the most underrated Bob Dylan albums

With all, that it is no wonder that quite a few albums in his canon were derided, misunderstood, or simply underrated, only to be hailed as masterpieces at some sooner or later point. Here are six of his albums that had such a fate.

Self-Portrait (1970)

To this day Self-Portrait remains a big mystery for quite a number of critics and parts of his faithful audience. To confound them even further, Dylan decided to include this album as one in his Bootleg series - The Bootleg Series Vol. 10: Another Self Portrait (1969–1971). It is always a hard task to guess Dylan’s intentions. Many think of this double album, with gems thrown all over it, as some sort of a clearing house for Dylan, recording everything that he thought might serve as his personal jukebox at the time.

New Morning (1970)

This one came out in quick succession after Self-Portrait and was almost promptly dismissed as its predecessor. Yet, slowly, when all the flak was peeled off, it turned out to be another subdued great set of songs that were mostly in the vein of Dylan’s 'country phase of New Morning and John Wesley Harding. The album was not fully reassessed until “The Man In Me,” one of the best songs on the album was included in the iconic movie “Big Lebowski.”

Planet Waves (1974)

This one received quite a mixed reception, possibly due to the fact that Dylan was as far away from his ‘protest phase’ as at any other time he decided to make a shift. It even went unnoticed that Dylan was again teamed with The Band for some brilliant backing, as usual. Yet, it turned out that songs like “On A Night Like This” and “Forever Young” (indeed!) became something of Dylan's staples.

Infidels (1983)

Dylan’s religious phase was (and probably still is) one that his die-hard fans neglected the most, but this quite secular album came somewhere right in the middle of that phase. Still quite neglected, the album has something that can be dubbed as a classic set of Bob Dylan’s songs - strong music, lyrics, and stellar backing.

Empire Burlesque (1985)

Is Dylan doing soft soul? That was the question posed by quite a few critics and fans when “Tight Connection to My Heart” opens this album. But, then, you could always expect the unexpected from Dylan, including the use of soft soul/rock production typical for its time. Still, the album is a strong set of songs that even put this production style in focus and make it sound new and fresh today.

World Gone Wrong (1993)

Maybe the critics and fans were expecting Dylan to take another unexpected shift here, but the old master simply decided to go back (once again) to his folky roots - just himself, his guitar, his ever-unique voice, and no embellishments. Yet, for some reason, it still remains one of his more neglected albums.

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