Saturday, September 30, 2006

Modern Times - Bob Dylan

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Confession time. Until this, I've never even attempted to listen to a Bob Dylan album all the way through. Hell, I've barely listened to any of his songs, normally because they do nothing for me. I've tried on occasions, but I just don't "get" Dylan. I'm sure there's many people out there (or at least a few of the select band who actually read this blog) wondering just what planet I'm from but that's the way of the world isn't it?

So whilst in one sense I come to this album with some bias, not really being a Bob Dylan fan, in other ways I can keep a clear conscience. I won't be marking this against his classics, but neither will I be marking it against the disappointments in his back catalogue. I'll merely be marking it against other 2006 releases. (You'll see the difference once Jerry Lee Lewis' new album gets its release no doubt).

And speaking of The Killer, the opening track on the album pleased me greatly. Thunder On The Mountain has the kind of piano-driven melody that the Killer would love, although Lewis would probably never come up with lyrics that name-check Alicia Keys. At this point I was looking forward to what the rest of the album would deliver me.

Sadly the rest of the album failed to grab me as much on the whole. And one major problem for me was Dylan's voice. To those who may have grown up with his music they might appreciate the nuances that age have brought to his voice; I just started to get faintly annoyed by it.

This is none the more evident than on tracks such as Beyond The Horizon and When The Deal Goes Down. Whilst Dylan's ragged tones do bring something to the rockier tracks, such as the afforementioned Thunder On The Mountain or The Levee's Gonna Break, on other tracks such as these it just grates.

There's other times when songs, nearly all of which clock in at over five minutes are at least two and a half minutes too long, leaving me all the more nonplussed.

I was never likely to love this album so it's little surprise that I don't. As much as it puts me against 99% of professional reviewers, I'm just not a Dylan fan and never will be.

Still the album has a few moments I will find myself revisiting in the weeks to come, but not enough to change my point of view on the great man himself. Sorry Bob.

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