Ranking All 39 Bob Dylan Studio Albums- #22- Shot Of Love [1981}- Bob Dylan’s 21st album. 4 stars.
It seems like most Bob Dylan fanatics have at least one album that they like a lot more than the conventional wisdom ranks the album. I see a lot of love for Street Legal which I think is a shade above average at best. The album I love of Bob’s that in most rankings have pretty low- is 1981’s Shot Of Love. Shot Of Love is the third of Bob’s Christian trilogy. It received mixed reviews- but Bono lists it as one of his favorites!
The bad- the album cover- one of the worst Dylan album covers ever and he has had his share of bad album covers over the years. This album is less preachy than the two previous Christian albums. One song- “Lenny Bruce” doesn’t seem to fit at all with the them. My favorite song on the album wasn’t on the original version- “The Grooms Still Waiting At The Alter” was originally just a b-side to “Heart Of Mine” but was added on when the album was re-issued in 1985. Not every song on this album is a home run but there are enough to make it up to #22 on my list. Other highlights- the beautiful “Every Grain Of Sand” the album closer, the title track, “In The Summertime” and ” Trouble” are standouts. Again the album received some pretty lousy reviews at the time-was it due to listener fatigue over three Christian albums in a row? The album went to #6 in the UK but could manage only #33 in the U.S.
Dylan in the 80s especially seemed to have a difficult time judging his own material- the three best songs he wrote in the Shot Of Love time- didn’t make the original release- “The Grooms Still Waiting At The Alter” and two other gems- “Caribbean Wind” and “Angelina.”