Mastered from the original master tapes, pressed on MoFi SuperVinyl at RTI, and limited to just 1,000 numbered copies, Mobile Fidelity's restored 180g 45RPM 2LP version lays bare the catch-all ambience of the sessions as well as the unguarded emotionalism that fueled them. Largely captured at one unruly New York studio date, many songs are first-take arrangements, experienced on this reissue in a raw, realistic fashion that allows chords to swell, vocals to naturally carry, and percussion to span a seemingly bridge-wide soundstage. Accenting instruments—bouzouki, accordion, mandolin, violin, congas, piano—gain their own space and color the music with intriguing textures. The wider grooves mean more information reaches your ears, and MoFi SuperVinyl means the noise floor is as absolutely low as possible.
Surging with a nothing-to-lose disposition, Desire juggles myriad styles and owns up to no single theme. Disappointment and loss related to Dylan's broken relationship surfaces directly and metaphorically, but the album isn't mired in depression or sadness. More often than not, it howls, the sprawling canvas needle-pointed with complexity and diversity. In pairing with lyricist Jacques Levy, Dylan invites narrative collaboration he never again repeated, as well as an eclecticism that gives the effort its fascinating charm.
Desire finds Dylan at an evocative peak. With the tour de force single "Hurricane," he composes his first protest song in years, the enraged verses aimed squarely at maintaining the innocence of boxer Ruben Carter, falsely convicted of murder, as a violin melody swirls in the background. He finds similar inspiration in gangster Joey Gallo, turning "Joey" into a beautiful epic outfitted with Emmylou Harris' transcendent backing vocals. Flashing a sense of humor, "Mozambique" relishes an irreverent quirkiness that balances the more serious fare.
And in the nakedly biographical "Sara," Mediterranean-flavored "One More Cup of Coffee (Valley Below)," fragile "Oh, Sister," and swirling fable "Isis," Dylan develops a series of loosely related songs at once flawless, timeless, and tireless. Rarely has the folk-rock icon addressed love, romance, and loss more openly, eloquently, or universally. It's no wonder they remain among the very favorites of many hardcore Dylan enthusiasts, and account for a large reason why Rolling Stone ranks Desire the 174th greatest album of all-time. Don't miss your chance to experience it in the best fidelity it's ever enjoyed.
Developed by NEOTECH and RTI, MoFi SuperVinyl is the most exacting-to-specification vinyl compound ever devised. Analog lovers have never seen (or heard) anything like it. Extraordinarily expensive and extremely painstaking to produce, the special proprietary compound addresses two specific areas of improvement: noise floor reduction and enhanced groove definition. The vinyl composition features a new carbonless dye (hold the disc up to the light and see) and produces the world's quietest surfaces. This high-definition formula also allows for the creation of cleaner grooves that are indistinguishable from the original lacquer. MoFi SuperVinyl provides the closest approximation of what the label's engineers hear in the mastering lab.