Bob Dylan Has Tampered In Jann’s Domain

Lucas Jensen | April 23, 2009 12:30 pm

Boy, who did the Bob Dylan cheese off over at Rolling Stone HQ to lose his Most Favored Artist status? His new album Together Through Life only received four stars from Jann Wenner’s ostensibly rock-and-roll magazine. Usually, they hand out five-star raves to Dylan records like weird versions of Mountain Dew at college radio conventions. Heck, isn’t the “give superstars good ratings even if their records are terrible” rule called “The Dylan Rule”? Did Rolling Stone suddenly grow a conscience about the five stars they gave that Mick Jagger record a few years back and decide to start rating things on a semi-reasonable level? Perhaps, but what does a four-star review from RS even mean?

If I were Dylan, I might be insulted by that four star review. Here are some other classics that Rolling Stone gave four stars:

Bob Dylan, Good As I Been To You (another Dylan “classic” four-star record) Frente!, Marvin The Album Mick Jagger, She’s The Boss. (The, ahem, four-star review for the next Jagger solo joint, Wandering Spirit, calls this one “feckless posturing”. Let’s hear it for editorial consistency!) Keith Richards, Talk Is Cheap Neil Young, Trans. (OK, I love this record. Speaking of Mr. Young, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere only got four stars. So, it’s only as good as She’s The Boss?) Bruce Springsteen, Human Touch. (Lucky Town got four and a half!)

Confused yet as to the power of a four-star review? A little more context: Sugar Ray’s 14:59 received three and a half stars, while Pavement’s Wowee Zowee received two and a half. Also, Smash Mouth has received three stars three times, meaning that Bob Dylan’s new one is “one” better than Smash Mouth.

Together Through Life [RS]