Desire Songs Ranked

Desire is the seventeenth studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on January 5, 1976, through Columbia Records. It is one of Dylan’s most collaborative efforts, featuring the same caravan of musicians as the acclaimed Rolling Thunder Revue tours the previous year (later documented on The Bootleg Series Vol. 5). Many of the songs also featured backing vocals by Emmylou Harris and Ronee Blakley. Most of the album was co-written by Jacques Levy, and is composed of lengthy story-songs, two of which quickly generated controversy: the 11-minute-long “Joey”, which is seen as glorifying the violent gangster “Crazy Joey” Gallo, and “Hurricane”, the opening track that tells a passionate account of the murder case against boxer Rubin Carter, whom the song asserts was framed. Carter was released in 1985, after a judge overturned his conviction on appeal. Here are all of Desire songs ranked.

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9. Sara

“The set closes with the wistful and personal “Sara,” where the arrangement is stripped back to let Dylan’s passionate, soulful performance shine. It’s a beautiful, romantic, melancholy moment, with Dylan’s wails of “Sara, oh Sara” among the album’s most memorable hooks.”

8. Romance in Durango

“Romance in Durango is one of the more forgettable songs of the record and of Dylan’s entire career. If it wasn’t for the weak finish this would be one of the great Dylan releases, but it just seems like the first half is really well done and the second side is completely half-assed.”

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7. Oh, Sister

“Oh Sister” is about the fragility of love. Emmylou Harris provides some wonderful vocals on this track and many others as well.”

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6. Joey

“Joey” is absolutely heartbreaking, with hypnotically poetic lyrics that haunt you for hours after you hear the song. The main attraction for Desire is a powerful tale (which wasn’t entirely accurate) that tears at your heart. The song is so full of sadness and grace, it’s one of the best songs you could ever hear.”

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5. Black Diamond Bay

“The delivery of the lyrics vacuum-packed into each verse’s third line in “Black Diamond bay” is one of those things that puts Dylan in his own universe. The song runs like an elaborate joke with a rambling set-up and a punchline that comes in from left field, in this case the wry closing cameo that casts a long shadow over the bottomless, hollow empathy available 24 hours a day on today’s ‘news’ networks.”

See more: Bob Dylan Songs Ranked

4. One More Cup of Coffee

“One More Cup Of Coffee” concerns a family of wandering gypsies. It is a moody and haunting tale set to music. “Mozambique” is a straight forward rocker with some lyrical imagery thrown in for good measure.”

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3. Isis

“The stunning “Isis” is an album highlight, Dylan uncharacteristically delivering his symbolic, engaging tale on piano. The arrangement is sleek and sensual, with Rivera’s violin particularly enticing, and the melody is among the album’s best. Dylan has been criticised as an unconventional and poor singer, but “Isis” is certainly one song in which, vocally, he shines.”

2. Mozambique

“Mozambique” is sunny and evocative, a pretty song that started as a game between Dylan and his _Desire_ co-writer Jacques Levy as to who could come up with the most “-ique” rhymes.”

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1. Hurricane

“Hurricane” is a protest song about the incarceration of boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter. He had been convicted of murder in 1966 and quickly became a symbol of the civil rights movement. This song was very controversial when it was released. In 1976 Carter was re-tried and convicted a second time. Through a series of legal maneuverings a third trial became necessary in 1988 and when the state refused to prosecute, Carter was released.”