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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

You Think I'm Over the Hill? You Think I'm Past My Prime?

Christmas for Dylan fans has arrived. Bob Dylan's first new album in five years, "Modern Times" was released today. Reviews of the album have varied from "his best since Blood on the Tracks" (the most tired, overused, gushing description of a Dylan album in the history of man) to "irritating retread". I've fought the temptation to listen to the leaked mp3's of the album that have been available on the internet for a few weeks now in order that I can listen to the album proper, in my car & on my home stereo.

What follows is not a complete review of the album, but rather first thoughts on an album I've heard once today.

Thunder on the Mountain-A good driving song, & a good start to the album. The lyrics seem a bit forced to me. This lyric made me laugh out loud: gonna raise me an army, some tough sons of bitches, I'll recruit my army from the orphanages. Also, who knew that Bob Dylan knew Alicia Keyes? I can see this one being sped up a bit live, allowing the band to flex it's muscles a bit more.

Spirit on the Water-The best of the bunch so far. I've never heard a Bob Dylan song sound so easy going, it swings back & forth, the kind of song you are desparate to sing to the woman you love. Just before you get too comfortable, he stirs things up a bit, though: I wanna be with you in paradise, and it seems so unfair, I can't go back to paradise no more, I killed a man back there. It's a rare thing to hear a harmonica solo on a Bob Dylan album these days, but this song ends with a great one.

Rollin' & Tumblin'-This one sounds alot like "Got My Mojo Workin'" by Muddy Waters. A good blues song, nothing special. Lots of fun.

When the Deal Goes Down-This one seems to me like a bunch of Bob Dylan sounding lyrics thrown together in a Bob Dylan song. Nothing special.

Someday Baby-Another Muddy Waters copy of Trouble No More, which was itself a copy of some other ol' song.

Workingman's Blues #2-This song reminds me of every late night drive home from work. I really like this one, there's somethin' in there about lower class workers in there, but I haven't looked that closely into it yet.

Beyond the Horizon-A little too sleepy for these ears. This album doesn't need all of these sleepy ballads.

Nettie Moore-I haven't wrapped myself around this one yet. It may be a masterpiece, I'm not sure yet.

The Levee's Gonna Break-Another of many Bob Dylan songs about floods. Whether this one is poignant on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina or not, I'm not quite sure.

Ain't Talkin'-This one just maybe great. I'm not sure yet. It definitely has the potential. Great Dylan songs take awhile to sink in.

Five Favorite Songs of the Day

Spirit on the Water
Workingman's Blues #2
Nettie Moore
Ain't Talkin'
Someday Baby

Happy Tuesday, friends!

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Grand Haven, Michigan
the sun shines on a dog's ass every now & then...