Monday, December 11, 2006

I'm wondering where in the world my lunch might be

Now maybe I am biased, well definitely I am biased, but I think Bob Dylan's new (or rather newest, it isn't exactly hot off the presses) album is fantastic. Then, I am a frequent drinker of the Dylan Kool-Aid. At sergioleoneifr.blogspot.com, Dennis Cozzalio recently posted one of his movie quizes and one of the questions was: "Is there a movie that would make you question the judgment and/or taste of a film critic, blogger or friend if you found out they were an advocate of it?" I struggled to answer that question, but I know its musical inverse by heart, because if anyone tells me that they think Bob Dylan makes bad music, or they can't stand his voice... (I have certainly heard this before in the great Linkin Park vs. Bob Dylan debates that left many with hurt feelings, though not me, I have no feelings... sob) Well, that's it. We aren't friends anymore. I can appreciate different opinions, but Bob is my litmus test. If you can't at least appreciate that it is high quality work, I just can't trust your opinions on anything else. Sure, some people only like electronica (I am looking at you, 3), but you're gonna have to serve my man Bob his due props.

Back to the album at hand, I think this is his finest work since the 70s (I like some of his stuff from the 80s, but never got that into Love and Theft or Time Out of Mind, but in the 70s he put out the best album of all time, and this one doesn't top that one). There aren't any songs I really dislike and I really like tracks 1, 2, 5, 6, 8 and 10.

Dylan's music is at its best when it communicates a feeling or experience, but doesn't get too specific and this album is full of those types of tracks. Like Steely Dan, attempts to really unpack what Dylan meant are fruitless from the start, because I don't think that Dylan sat around making up metaphors for Watergate or Vietnam that became his "115th Dream" or "Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts" (two excellent songs). His focus was far broader (and far more specific), though when he was specific ("Hurricane") he avoided the temptation that artists have to become jingoistic. Let me stress, that I am all for thinking a lot about Dylan and his music, I just don't believe there is a final answer out there. Most of the time Dylan was talking out of his ass anyway, just to fuck with people, consider these two quotes: "I've never written a political song. Songs can't save the world. I've gone through all that." and "I'm speaking for all of us. I'm the spokesman for a generation. " If there is a disconnect there, don't worry about it, maybe Bob could save us but he was too busy doing it better than anyone ever had or will.

Here is the video that prompted this post.
Slate Took it Down, but here is a link to the video.

3 comments:

Rhinal Fissure said...

Did you just actually use the word 'electronica' in that post? Did I just hit a special tab on my browser to take me back to 1997? Given the tone and content of the music relates postings thus far I think you just need to change your blog's name to "Ode to Dad rock" and be done with it.

Annandale said...

So angry, and I tried to hide your identity. I mean, electronica is more descriptive than "xtasy club music". Don't worry buddy, the revolution will come and it won't be from the ranks of people on Special K in the fetal position in front of a speaker blaring the incomprehensible things you like.

In my opinion, music is apparently gratifying. A deeper understanding of music will help understand why something is compelling, but good music will be self-educating to those with a modicum of intelligence or taste. As I am the epitome of having only a modicum of intelligence and taste, and I can't enjoy electronic music, I have to say that it is a fetish genre.

molly said...

the album is fantastic. nettie moore is among my favorites as well... linkin park vs. bob dylan debate? has the world gone mad? keep truckin, good stuff man