An atypical Dylan track, given its comparative lack of words, the great man holding back some, letting the atmosphere speak (c/o Daniel Lanois’ masterful production). So in the end, it’s like a troubled dream that never resolves, just leaves you with questions and shadows and rumours of apocalypse. Who is he anyway, the man in the long black coat? And why does the mere thought of him fill you with dread?
“I pretty much gave up on Bob Dylan in the 1980s. Yeah, the old songs were mostly still gathering no moss, but ever since he’d stumbled out of all the Jesus stuff, nothing fresh or necessary seemed to be happening. Everything overproduced, voice way too thin, barely cutting the mix at all, and it kept getting worse. But then, from out of nowhere, right at the end of the decade, the man suddenly delivers Oh Mercy, with Political World the lead off track, telling no lies, taking no prisoners. Like he’d been undercover the whole time, pretending lame, but always taking notes, and now here he was, filing his report, and deep and rich it was. It may even have brought down Soviet Union.” (Philip Random)