October 29, 1993 at 04:00 AM EDT

World Gone Wrong

Current Status
In Season
Bob Dylan
We gave it an A-

For decades he retreated, first into religion, then into the blank enigma of his recent award-show appearances and tours. But now the great Bob Dylan of the ’60s is back—at least in the liner notes for his new album, World Gone Wrong (Columbia). Here, for the first time in years, he lets us know what’s on his mind, raging against ”dupes of commerce & politics” and ”the insane world of entertainment,” as he explains what the traditional folk music he covers on this album means to him.

Dylan’s singing, meanwhile, restores only part of what he used to be—though at least it’s quietly ferocious. Certainly he sounds miles more passionate than he did on his last record, Good as I Been to You, which was in the same genre. With one exception, ”Stack a Lee,” the songs here are obscure, but still they’re compelling, and there’s no mistaking the mixture of excitement and hesitant tenderness he brings to them.

If Dylan would only burst out vocally the way he does in those spirited liner notes, he might reconnect with his deepest self—and with his audience as well.

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