Fallen Angels is the unlikeliest Bob Dylan album since the album he released a year earlier, Shadows in the Night. Both records are tours through the Great American Songbook, specifically standards once recorded by Frank Sinatra.
I call these albums unlikely, but the truth is Dylan fans know there’s no such thing. By now, the man has released music in every genre short of opera, and don’t be surprised if he announces his take on La Boheme for the Fall.
Besides, Dylan has always fancied himself a song and dance man, and he’s released his share of covers albums. Even back-to-back ones like this, as he did in ’92 and ’93 with Good As I Been To You and World Gone Wrong. Those records were made up of Dylan on acoustic guitar and harmonica, unearthing dusty folk ballads.
Fallen Angels, like its predecessor, is a far more romantic affair. Dylan, croaky as ever but sounding better than he has in years, is in full crooner mode here. The performances, eschewing an orchestra for his splendid five-man band, lend a soulful, melancholy swing to these lovely tracks.
It can happen to you when you’re young at heart
For it’s hard, you will find
To be narrow of mind if you’re young at heartYou can go to extremes with impossible schemes
You can laugh when your dreams fall apart at the seams
And life gets more exciting with each passing day
And love is either in your heart or on it’s way
Don’t you know that it’s worth
Every treasure on earth to be young at heart
For as rich as you are
It’s much better by far to be young at heart
And if you should survive to a hundred and five
Look at all you’ll derive out of being alive
And here is the best part, you have a head start
If you are among the very young at heart