Bob Dylan - Fallen Angels

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Posted on Sat, 07/16/2016 - 6:42am
by Ron Wallace

Member since: Sat, 01/24/2015

Release Type

Studio Album

Release Year


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Album Overview

Fallen Angels is the thirty-seventh studio album by Bob Dylan, released by Columbia Records on May 20, 2016.

The album features covers of twelve classic American songs chosen by Dylan from a diverse array of writers such as Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen, Sammy Cahn and Carolyn Leigh. Much like the album's predecessor, Shadows in the Night, every song on the album, except for "Skylark", was once recorded by Frank Sinatra.

The album has received generally favorable reviews from critics, with particular praise for Dylan's vocal performance, production quality, and the arrangements of his band.


1Young At Heart
2Maybe You'll Be There
3Polka Dots And Moonbeams
4All The Way
7All Or Nothing At All
8On A Little Street In Singapore
9It Had To Be You
10Melancholy Mood
11That Old Black Magic
12Come Rain Or Come Shine

Composition and recording

Fallen Angels was recorded in 2015 at Capitol Studios in Hollywood, with his touring band.

Release and promotion

Fallen Angels was released by Columbia Records on May 20, 2016.

Prior to release, on April 7, 2016, the song "Melancholy Mood" was made available on iTunes as an Instant Gratification track, and via streaming on YouTube. On April 28, 2016, the day Dylan concluded a tour of Japan, a second track from the album, "All the Way", became available to download from iTunes and stream on YouTube.

In promotion for the release, Dylan released a 7" EP on April 16, 2016, titled Melancholy Mood, and limited to 7000 copies.


Fallen Angels has received mostly positive reviews from critics thus far. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from critics, the album currently holds an average score of 78, which indicates "generally favorable reviews", based on 20 reviews.

Particular praise has been heaped on the band arrangements, production, and Dylan's voice. In a four-star review, Andy Gill of The Independent wrote, "the restrained picking and creamy pedal-steel guitar of his live band imposes a smooth but demotic country mood behind Dylan’s elegant, world-weary croon". Likewise, Jim Farber of Entertainment Weekly wrote, "Dylan alights on these words [the lyrics] with a wry delicacy. His voice may be husky and damaged from decades of performing, but there’s beauty to its character. Tellingly, he delivers these songs of love lost and cherished not with a burning passion but with the wistfulness of experience." Helen Brown in her five-star review for The Telegraph also praised Dylan's vocal abilities on the album, stating, "Although some people have always maintained that Dylan “can’t sing”, the truth is that — like Sinatra — he’s always had a knockout knack for putting a lyric across...Now he inhabits classic lines by songwriters like Johnny Mercer with weathered ease."

Vish Khanna of Now Magazine also praised the album, in a five-star review, writing, "Fallen Angels is a hazy, laid-back history lesson with as many enigmatic twists and turns as a classic double-cross caper. It subverts archetypes of romance, heroism and interpersonal connection to reveal something more sinister about human intent, all packaged in beautiful musicianship of the highest order."

In relation to the idea of Dylan covering songs from the Great American Songbook, Mat Snow of Mojo Magazine writes in a four-star review:

What Dylan gives us in these recordings is something of a sentimental memoir...aged four at a family party he brought the house down with his renditions of Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive and Some Sunday Morning...with seemingly nothing in common with his thrillingly modern yet deep-rooted songs two decades later...Yet he has form as a writer in this idiom in such songs as 2001’s Moonlight, arguably even 1969’s Tonight I'll Be Staying Here with You.

Also praising the concept behind Fallen Angels and its predecessor, Shadows in the Night, Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic stated:

These wise, wily interpretations underscore Dylan's ultimate aim with these Sinatra records, which is to slyly tie together various strands of American music, bringing Tin Pan Alley to the barrooms and taking the backwoods uptown. The results are understated yet extraordinary, an idiosyncratic, romantic vision of 20th century America.

Jon M. Gilbertson, indicating in a review from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, opines, "Fallen Angels, like last year's Shadows in the Night, teases out threads of Sinatra sentimentality — Frank recorded nearly all the songs on both discs — and winds them around a voice that is desiccated in tone and tune but, in phrasing and emotion, can still find romantic blossoms among the painful thorns." Likewise, Andy Gill of Uncut Magazine, in a positive review of 8 stars out of 10, also related the album to Shadows in the Night, feeling that "Dylan has continued to restrict his choice to those songs which conform loosely to a mood of weary resignation, extending the engaging crepuscular mood of Shadows in the Night."

However, Chris Gerard, writing for PopMatters, felt that the album did not quite live up to the standard set by Dylan's previous Great American Songbook project, Shadows in the Night, stating, in an otherwise positive review, "It’s not on the same level as Shadows in the Night, which is darker, more emotionally intense and an altogether more potent experience. At times Fallen Angels feels a bit lightweight in comparison. Still, it’s a touching tribute to Dylan’s continued passion for music, his love of performing and a celebration of some damn good songs."


  • Bob Dylan - vocals


  • Charlie Sexton - guitar
  • Stu Kimball - guitar
  • Dean Parks - guitar
  • Donnie Herron - steel guitar, viola
  • Tony Garnier - bass
  • George Recile - drums


  • Al Schmitt - mixing and engineering
  • Steve Genewick - assistant engineering
  • James Harper - horn arrangements/conducting
  • Greg Calbi - mastering
  • Geoff Gans - album artwork
  • Jack Frost - producer


Fallen Angels (Bob Dylan album) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia : taken from -