Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Cousin Bob

I'm such a trendy music blogger. Someday I hope to get my own ideas. Nevertheless, my recent Dylan kick actually preceeded all the hubbub over his new album Modern Times. I haven't heard it yet, but the sense seems to be either "You better watch out, Jesus is risen!" to "You better watch out, Grandpa's going inside to get his shotgun!". It should be noted that the latter doesn't really say anything about the album itself, more about his Rolling Stone interview.

I haven't heard Modern Times yet, but have heard Time Out of Mind and Love & Theft, Dylan's two most recent discs. Supposedly the new CD is a rough and tumble cowboy band like the last two. That's fine and all, but it's been nine years since Time Out of Mind came out. Nine years! Earlier in his career that's the same span it took him to go from the sparse arranging of John Wesley Harding to the big band sound of my current stage in my Dylan phase, the oft-maligned Street Legal. (That I actually investigated on the suggestion of the Rolling Stone article! Might as well put tape on my glasses)

Why have I taken to this ugly duckling of his catalogue? It's closer to Foghat than "Masters of War", but the songs are still there. My personal favorite, "No Time to Think", is reminiscent of another 70s Dylan trainwreck "Jokerman" in that it holds a slavish devotion to a verse-chorus ad infinitum format, much like a Minnesota hymn one might think. The downside is that without a bridge the song seems so damn long, hammering just two hooks into the deepest parts of your soul. Another thing that makes it seem long is that it is long, about seven and a half minutes.

Unlike some acts that have earned their carte-blanche through numbing consistency (*cough*AC/DC*cough*) Dylan has changed styles so much that, much like Bowie or eventually Radiohead, he could put out a album of farting and have reviewers peeing their pants over it. It might be a little disappointing that he's not taking more advantage of his invincibility star, at least he's putting out quality albums. And, you know, not the farting album.


The Audiovisualist said...

I listened to Modern Times a couple of times. Kind of easy listening for the car, but not bad cooking music. Much better when he keeps the tempo up, and a little Perry Como when he doesn't.

aka yomama said...

I also listened to Modern Times in the car....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz......... luckily I wasn't driving.