Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Relevance of Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan released a new album this week, his 35th studio album, Tempest, and he is once again thrust into the spotlight. I haven't been able to give it a proper listen, but my first couple of listens had my toe tapping and brain spinning. He's 71! And still relevant - not in a Tony-Bennett-duet-with-Amy-Winehouse way, or a Neil -Diamond-pretty-good-for-an-old-guy way, but in a real, meaningful way - perhaps only Neil Young has managed to stay relevant as long.

First, start out with the video for the lead single, Duquesne Whistle: 


This video summarizes Tempest: love is a series of crushing disappointments. And through it, over it, Dylan walks with the outcasts and violent, oblivious to anything except his eventual destination. 

Next, read reviews of the album from several excellent publications, courtesy of Hype.

Will Hermes of Rolling Stone writes: "Lyrically, Dylan is at the top of his game, joking around, dropping wordplay and allegories that evade pat readings and quoting other folks' words like a freestyle rapper on fire."

Vish Khanna at CBC Music writes:
Lifting the veil and standing in plain sight, Tempest is Dylan’s most musically daring record in years and he sings with the conviction of a wronged outlaw who tastes blood. These songs aren’t threats, they’re outright warnings of gory eventualities, and that’s an important distinction to make; on Tempest, things are gonna get lowdown one way or another. You must hang on just to survive.

Now it's time to listen to the album. You can find it wherever fine music is sold!

Finally, read Steven Hyden's article on Tempest from, comparing it to two other newly released albums from The Dave Matthews Band and The Avett Brothers. Basically, he writes that Dylan still kicks ass.

The overall theme through the reviews and articles is "carnage." The darkness of the album, the focus on death, the body count - Dylan sings about death better than anyone. Heck, even Nick Cave covers a Dylan song on his album Murder Ballads. At 71, Dylan is still teaching others with his words and music, proving he is still relevant to fans, critics, and artists.

BONUS CONTENT: two lists that I have come across fit perfectly to this post:

The 15 Best Bob Dylan Albums

The Top 10 All-Time Best Bob Dylan Lyrics

No comments: