Bob Dylan

Slow Train Coming

Perhaps it was inevitable that Bob Dylan would change direction at the end of the '70s. Nobody really could have expected that he would turn to Christianity on Slow Train Coming, embracing a born-again philosophy with enthusiasm.

He has no problem in believing in a vengeful god -- you gotta serve somebody, after all -- and this is pure brimstone and fire throughout the record, even on such lovely testimonials as "I Believe in You." The unexpected side effect of his conversion is that it gave Dylan a focus he hadn't had since Blood on the Tracks, and his concentration carries over to the music, which is lean and direct in a way that he hadn't been since, well, Blood on the Tracks. Still, it's hard to deny Dylan's revitalized sound here, and the result is a success.