Friday, March 6, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Our Music Year No. 43: Bob Dylan, ‘Empire Burlesque’

Bob Dylan

By
From page A5 | February 12, 2013 |

Artist: Bob Dylan
Title: “Empire Burlesque”
Year: 1985
Format: Compact disc (Spotify)
Grade: D-

The ’80s were hard on Robert Zimmerman. Descriptions abound of the creation of “Empire Burlesque” that show him uninterested in his own art, letting others reconfigure his songs for him.

Unsurprisingly, “Empire” is regarded as own of Dylan’s weakest efforts. While there is potential in “Empire Burlesque,” records are about results, not shoulda, coulda or woulda.

Many songs on “Empire” haven’t aged well because of their adherence to musical trends of the period. “Tight Connection to My Heart (Has Anybody Seen My Love?)” is a country-twinged attempt at reggae that overstuffs the mix with too many ideas.

“When the Night Comes Falling From the Sky” is a horrifying risk, a dance song with the kind of gated reverb drum beat perfected by Phil Collins.

“Dark Eyes” is the only true classic, recounting a moment when Dylan passed an abused prostitute while boarding an elevator. It’s simply Dylan and his harmonica, a familiar comfort after a record of such messy studio overindulgence.

Freed of the shackles of its ’80s production, “Empire” might not be so terrible, but it’s a victim of something the best Dylan songs avoid – feeling horribly dated.

Our Music Year is Daily Republic popular culture writer Nick DeCicco’s yearlong online review in 2012 of albums he had previously not listened to. The reviews will appear in print on their corresponding days during 2013. Reach him at 427-6966 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ndeciccodr.

Nick DeCicco

Nick DeCicco

Nick DeCicco is the editor of the Tailwind and writes the pop culture blog/column For Those About to Rock. Before joining the DR staff in July 2007, DeCicco (pronounced Deh-CEE-Coh) worked at The Union in Grass Valley, Calif., and the Greeley Tribune in Greeley, Colo. A 2004 graduate of the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, DeCicco spends his free time attending concerts, listening to music, going to movies, traveling and hiking.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 14 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Phil T. ListenerFebruary 13, 2013 - 3:29 am

    This album was clearly a disappointment, especially following his prior studio album Infidels. One song you missed, and is my favorite on the work is "I'll Remember You". Some may consider it sappy, but the song brings me to tears every time I listen to it. Beautiful version of Bob with Tom Petty and his band. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0_jaxskVJ4

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • PETER INSIAMFebruary 13, 2013 - 4:29 am

    DYLAN'S 'EMPIRE BURLESQUE' IS AN EXCELLENT WORK BY ANY STANDARD. ' TIGHT CONNECTION..... ' & ' WHEN NIGHT COMES.....' ARE TIMELESS SONGS W/ A KILLER BAND. WAKE - UP DeCICCO OR CRAWL BACK UNDER YOUR ROCK PLEASE.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rick ColeFebruary 13, 2013 - 6:39 am

    There are a couple of songs from Empire Burlesque I listen to regularly-- Clean Cut Kid and Trust Yourself. I also think Seeing the Real You At Last stands with Positively 4th Street and Like A Rolling Stone as one of his great put down songs.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Phil T. ListenerFebruary 13, 2013 - 9:55 am

    Though I liked Clean Cut Kid, it seemed like a cross between Neighborhood Bully and License to Kill. It probably took Bob about an hour to write, and possibly was also mostly stream of consciousness.I definitely liked some of the lines especially: He drank Coca-Cola, he was eating Wonder Bread Ate Burger Kings, he was well fed. I guess he got the OK from the product makers to use their names. I know in "Loal" The Kinks had to change "Coca-Cola" to "Cherry-Cola" because they didn't get permission from Coke.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • zezeFebruary 13, 2013 - 9:58 am

    c´mon man you don´t know what your talkin about probably dylan and us didn´t get the sound that we were expecting but the songs are great all of them

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • angelinaFebruary 13, 2013 - 10:50 am

    I love this album, I think it has aged well. Looking back at the song When the night comes falling, I'd love to hear it with a real drum back up. I have listened to it non stop this year and I think it has a lot more life looking back than I might have thought of it at the time. I never find Dylan's songs un-enjoyable. There can't always be the kind of over the top success to every piece of an artist's work. I am always amazed at how many different ways he can spin a tune. I'll remember you is one of the best love songs, right up there with Most of the Time, Born in Time, and Forgetful Heart. It is very real, in terms of it's sentiment and how he presents his emotions right out on the table for us to pick over. The author of this post is certainly picking over bones rather than searching for new tender flesh here.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Phil T. ListenerFebruary 14, 2013 - 3:49 am

    Don't know if you saw this version. I agree and think it is one of his top love songs. Happy Valentine's Day to all. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0_jaxskVJ4

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • kev BFebruary 13, 2013 - 11:13 am

    It was disappointing and yes has a distinct'80's feel, ie overmixed and drums too loud!. The songs though were largly good, just spoiled by the Arthur Baker remix. The unreleased versions of the songs are good, revealing a Dylan as on form as he was on the previous Infidels.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • PK EiseltFebruary 13, 2013 - 1:45 pm

    I agree with Kev B. Most of, if not all of the songs have been performed in other contexts and have aged remarkably well. The production on the album is definitely questionable, but the song writing is pretty solid.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Dan SullivanFebruary 13, 2013 - 4:06 pm

    Nick, We'll have to agree to disagree. Empire Burlesque ranks as a favorite of mine. It's easily in his top 7 or 8 albums. "When the night comes falling from the sky" is classic Dylan. One of his great songs. Check out the lyrics. And that disco dance groove fits the song perfectly. "Clean Cut Kid," "Trust Yourself" and "I'll remember you." Great songs. Great album!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • StR A bit on the dark sideFebruary 13, 2013 - 4:54 pm

    "When The Night Comes Falling From The Sky"........ Look out across the fields, see me returning... Smoke is in your eye, you draw a smile... From the fireplace where my letters to you are burning... You've had time to think about it for a while............... Well, I've walked two hundred miles, look me over... It's the end of the chase and the moon is high... It wont matter who loves who... You'll love me or I'll love you... When the night comes falling... When the night comes falling... When the night comes falling from the sky......... I can see through your walls and I know you're hurting....Sorrow covers you up like a cape... Only yesterday I know that you've been flirting... With disaster you somehow managed to escape.................. I can't provide for you no easy answers.... Who are you that I should have to lie ?... You'll know all about it, love... It'll fit you like a glove... When the night comes falling... When the night comes falling... When the night comes falling from the sky. ............ I can hear your trembling heart beat like a river... You must have been protecting someone last time I called... I never asked you for nothing that you couldn't deliver.... I've never asked you to set yourself up for a fall........... I saw thousands who could have overcome the darkness... For the love of a lousy buck, I've watched them die... Stick around, baby, we're not through... Don't look for me, I'll see you... When the night comes falling... When the night comes falling... When the night comes falling from the sky............. In your teardrops, I can see my own reflection.. It was on the northern border of Texas where I crossed the line.... I don't want to be a fool starving for affection.... I don't want to drown in someone else's wine.... For all eternity I think I will remember... That icy wind that's howling in your eye... You will seek me and you'll find me... In the wasteland of your mind... When the night comes falling... When the night comes falling... When the night comes falling from the sky........ Well, I sent you my feelings in a letter... When you were gambling for support... This time tomorrow I'll know you better... When my memory is not so short............. This time I'm asking for freedom... Freedom from a world which you deny... And you'll give it to me now... I'll take it anyhow... When the night comes falling... When the night comes falling.... When the night comes falling from the sky.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • When the night comes falling from the skyFebruary 13, 2013 - 4:55 pm

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2tIj4Jd_R0

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • angelinaFebruary 15, 2013 - 10:13 am

    thanks for posting the lyrics darkside. Could have looked them up myself but I didn't. And I haven't listened to it for a while. Reading them hear gave me the chills, and I could hear it playing in my head(minus the drum track) I do consider it one of his really strong songs. Would love to see the band do it the way they're playing today. Everyone always says he wouldn't do a song that had the back up singers, But he did Joey last tour, that really suprised me. He keeps you guessing doesn't he/

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • zezeFebruary 15, 2013 - 11:42 am

    sorry man, but if you think that you`re oppinion justifies this blog, decicco, let me tell you that anybody seen my love and when the night comes falling, the songs that you refering, are amazing songs, they would be a hit for anibody else, clean cut kid, trust yourself, i remember you,emotionally yours are great songs, just listen to b springsteen speech when bob was inducted for the r&r hall of fame, and yes is a 80s record, like h61 or freewhilin 60s, desire or street legal 70s, and dont see any problem about that. i´m portuguese and the last song i´ve from bob in the radio in portugal when one of his records was release was thight connection.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

 
Random thoughts on getting older by Annabelle . . . and Susan

By Susan Winlow | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Work progresses on freeway interchange project

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1, 4 Comments | Gallery

 
Solano College grad becomes Marvel superhero

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

Caltrans announces planned I-80 closures

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1

 
French guitarist brings world music to The Palms

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

Bay Area Stage readies ‘Mockingbird’ production

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Let’s take a 2nd look at 1st cars

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2

 
Bike to School Day poster contest begins

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

 
Youth talent, scholarship awards dinner set

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

Free 8-week Journey Through Grief class set

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

 
Audubon Society to hold talk on blackbird decline

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A4

 
Fairfield police log: March 4, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: March 4, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

SF hospital performs rare chain kidney swap

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
El niño might not be enough to help Ca drought

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
App developers take a swing at playgrounds

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

GOP legislator enters race for Boxer’s seat

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Japanese tsunami debris washing ashore

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Device in ‘Superbug’ outbreak not approved by FDA

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Freight train carrying crude oil derails in Illinois

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Supreme Court allows for compassionate release

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Off-duty officer accidentally shoots relative

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

 
Student protests block access to campus

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Air Force veteran who saved orphans in Korean War dies at 97

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Jurors in Jodi Arias case: We were 11-1 for death penalty

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Plane skids off LaGuardia runway, slams into fence near bay

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7 | Gallery

Father tells jury about boy’s death at Boston Marathon

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Hillary Clinton email trove under review for release

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Homeowners group denies playhouse for cancer-stricken girl

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Report: Suicides by girls and young women continue to climb

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Attack on US envoy part of S.Korea’s violent protest history

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Last Ebola patient is released in Liberia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Floods kill 42 people in Tanzania, authorities say

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Death toll in east Ukraine mine blast reaches 33

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Syria says it killed military leader of al-Qaida group

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Iraq says Islamic State militants ‘bulldozed’ ancient site

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Companies form coalition to conserve during drought

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
.

Living

Today in History: March 6, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: March 6, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: March 6, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
Should I tell my coworker that her romantic emails are being read at work?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

Week in preview March 6-12, 2015

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B1

 
Dying wish comes true: Dutch woman with ALS sees Rembrandts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Announcer Craig Sager returns from leukemia to NBA sideline

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Comedy Central’s ‘Too Many Stars’ means plenty of laughs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Jaime Camil shines as telenovela star on ‘Jane the Virgin’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Shania Twain to launch final tour in June

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Elizabeth McCracken wins $20,000 short story prize

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Review: ‘Unfinished Business’ should never have started

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Review: ‘Second Best’ Marigold Hotel lives up to its title

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Entertainment calendar: March 6, 2015

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B4

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic | From Page: B6

.

Sports

 
Jones-Drew retires, Woodley released by Raiders

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Veteran defensive tackle Dockett joins 49ers on 2-year deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Maddon makes debut with Cubs in spring tie with A’s

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Hunter Pence breaks arm in Giants’ 8-6 win over Cubs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
As NFLPA election looms, Smith hopes to keep ‘boring job’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Ashley, McConnell lead No. 5 Arizona to 99-60 rout of Cal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Holmes opens 4-shot PGA lead at Blue Monster

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Local Report: Labit pitches SCC to win over Folsom Lake

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B8

 
Prosecutors: No criminal charge for NASCAR driver Kurt Busch

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

This date in sports history for March 6, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
.

Business

Toyota rolls out first mass-market cars to run on hydrogen fuel cells

By The Washington Post | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
Can Etsy keep its folksy brand and make shareholders money?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

Applications for US jobless aid inch up to a 10-month high

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
A robust US job market is expected to keep delivering

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11, 1 Comment

Largest US banks all pass latest round of Fed ‘stress tests’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
Ringling Bros. Circus to give up elephant acts in 3 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11 | Gallery

Google providing car insurance quotes in latest expansion

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
.

Obituaries

Robert Charles Thierry

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Thelma A. Roche

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Michele Jarvis

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9