Is Bob Dylan overrated?

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What do you think?

Atomic Clock, Tuesday, 17 February 2004 17:36 (sixteen years ago) link

No, but some of his songs may be.

Tico Tico (Tico Tico), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 17:39 (sixteen years ago) link

I think it's another case of this:
Most Underrated Overrated Band?

jody (Jody Beth Rosen), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 17:41 (sixteen years ago) link

dylan: no
dylan's lyrics: OH GOD YES!! A THOUSAND TIMES YES!!!!

Mr. Snrub (Mr. Snrub), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 17:41 (sixteen years ago) link

I tried to give ol' Bobby D. another chance yesterday and listened to Dilate, which was highly recommended. Booooooring.

nickalicious (nickalicious), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 17:43 (sixteen years ago) link

there'll be puke by sundown

nate detritus (natedetritus), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 17:43 (sixteen years ago) link

No he aint. However some people analyze some portions of his ouevre too much. I don't think there's any point close reading the lyric of 'I'll Be Your Baby Tonight'. Possibly Bob sometimes wishes his songs were enjoyed in the same way people enjoyed the big country hits that used to fill up the Billboard charts in the 50s and 60s.

pete s, Tuesday, 17 February 2004 17:46 (sixteen years ago) link

If anything, most of his '70s stuff is underappreciated.

morris pavilion (samjeff), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 17:55 (sixteen years ago) link

Yes.

mei (mei), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:04 (sixteen years ago) link

I think of it more like framing a guy who's actually guilty. He really (really really) is great, but 95 percent of everything you read praising him gets the essence of why he's great wrong. Classic blind men/elephant scenario: You can describe the words, the music, the jokes, the viciousness, the blues and country and gospel and rock, you can even try to describe the voice although almost nobody ever gets that right...but trying to add it all up is a fool's game. It's like complexity theory, where once reach a certain density of interconnectivity, with information flowing in multiple, almost untrackable directions simultaneously, you get emergence: new things arise from the system that couldn't be predicted from any single element of the system. Dylan's like a whole complex system all unto himself.

spittle (spittle), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:09 (sixteen years ago) link

spittle just proved it

My Huckleberry Friend (Horace Mann), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:11 (sixteen years ago) link

I've been listening to the Dylan/Band basement tapes recently, and it's just quality "rock," loose and fun... I don't really listen to lyrics anyway.

andy, Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:17 (sixteen years ago) link

When's that Todd Haynes movie come out?

morris pavilion (samjeff), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:17 (sixteen years ago) link

I like the song he did for Wonder Boys, what's it called, "Things Have Changed." I like that one pretty good.

My Huckleberry Friend (Horace Mann), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:21 (sixteen years ago) link

I liked when he did it at the Oscars except he wasn't really there, he was in Australia or something and he played live on the huge Oscar screen, and when they did closeups it was like the giant Bob head coming to visit the little people of Hollywood. With a riverboat gambler mustache.

spittle (spittle), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:24 (sixteen years ago) link

Actually, after thinking for a minute, I think the problem is that all the embarrassing, chin-stroking praise and analysis heaped upon '60s Dylan (and especially his "poetic" lyrics, blah blah) by olde-tyme critics (Dave Marsh et. al.) makes for an overrated air, and makes it understandable that people have a hard time just digging Dylan's rockin' music, as Andy suggests.

I bet if people (rock 'n' roll fans) heard "Planet Waves" with no preconceptions about **DYLAN,** most of them would have to love it!!

morris pavilion (samjeff), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:24 (sixteen years ago) link

I can certainly understand people being turned off to the whole Dylan thing, due to the overbaked Boomer mythos. (But they shouldn't be!)

morris pavilion (samjeff), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:25 (sixteen years ago) link

Actually if you listen to "The Times They Are A-Changin'" back to back with "Things Have Changed," you learn a lot about the difference between being 22 years old and 60 years old.

mr. man, Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:26 (sixteen years ago) link

well you can't overrate his influence, which is staggeringly huge.
maybe he's the joyce of rock?

pete s, Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:26 (sixteen years ago) link

62-69 -- no
70 on -- a rollercoast that sometimes dips so deep into the sewers you think it will never come back up again.

jack cole (jackcole), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:27 (sixteen years ago) link

for some reason, when I was in my early 20s (as I was in 2000 when I listened to "Things Have Changed") I was really into songs about being over the hill or whatever. Personal apocalypses. Now I'm into songs about revenge.

My Huckleberry Friend (Horace Mann), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:28 (sixteen years ago) link

dylan's worst albums still aren't as bad as U2's worst albums, and dylan's discography is at least three times as large.

jody (Jody Beth Rosen), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:29 (sixteen years ago) link

I guess I'd say if he's "overrated" it's in the way that great artists tend to be -- past a point, their "greatness" gets taken as a given and cited as such by people who would be hard-pressed to actually tell you what's great about it. (See: Picasso, Louis Armstrong, Orson Welles, etc. etc.)

spittle (spittle), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:31 (sixteen years ago) link

not that Dylan doesn't have his share of shitty songs though

My Huckleberry Friend (Horace Mann), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:31 (sixteen years ago) link

"Street Legal" is a great, underrated album. Total spiritual crisis album.

Mr. Man, Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:32 (sixteen years ago) link

not that Dylan doesn't have his share of shitty songs though

anyone with a career like that surely has to phone it in sometimes.

jody (Jody Beth Rosen), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:32 (sixteen years ago) link

I feel for the Edge there because having that fucking glare in your eye can't have made him happy.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:36 (sixteen years ago) link

nevermind that that twit Bono is always around him

My Huckleberry Friend (Horace Mann), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:37 (sixteen years ago) link

oh, but the edge had his revenge against the boner ... like, the boner directs him, "edge, play the blues!" and edge cuts in with a guitar solo that is so NOT the blues.

Eisbär (llamasfur), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:41 (sixteen years ago) link

It's always bugged me that there's an overwhelming consensus, not just commonly held opinion but something teetering perilously close to universal FACT, that certain Dylan albums are AWFUL AWFUL SHIT SHIT SHIT -- and it's a consensus that's built mostly on reputation, guesswork, fear of '80s production values, fear of the earnestness of someone wrestling with his spirituality. I wonder how many people who "hate" Knocked Out Loaded have heard it at all, or more than that one time 17 years ago or whatever.

jody (Jody Beth Rosen), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:43 (sixteen years ago) link

my answer to this thread: no, he's not overrated. i don't especially LIKE much of his music or his musical legacy, but bob dylan isn't overrated.

Eisbär (llamasfur), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:44 (sixteen years ago) link

my Dad is a big Dylan fan and has most of the "good" stuff on vinyl, but had the "not-so-good" stuff on tape, so that's the Dylan I mostly listened to as a kid with my dorky walkman, and I sorta like it.

My Huckleberry Friend (Horace Mann), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:49 (sixteen years ago) link

Actually I think his legacy is underrated -- to this day I constantly hear little Dylanisms pop up all over the place (not just lyric steals but little melodic tendencies, phrasings, etc), and critics very seldom point these out, because they're too busy hearing the goddamn BEATLES in everything.

jody (Jody Beth Rosen), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:50 (sixteen years ago) link

yes, isn't it interesting how critics and fans cream all over Bob Marley's spiritual quest (rightly so) yet shit all over Dylan's Christian conversion? Both were honest, both had a lot of intolerance built in (check out Rasta anti-semitism and major sexism), but they both informed some very passionate music.

Tab25, Tuesday, 17 February 2004 18:54 (sixteen years ago) link

I don't think Dylan is overrated in general. Though undoubtedly there are fans out there who overrate him. And I think he still tends to get off easy on certain things, since he's Dylan. For instance, his voice is really shot to hell these days, but that seldom gets more than a passing mention in his reviews. I'm one of the people who thinks that he used to have a great voice, but really, these days, it's so bad that it gets in the way. Especially when he still feels the need to write songs with like 20 verses.

o. nate (onate), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 19:05 (sixteen years ago) link

I never hear anyone even mention Dylan's '80s albums, except for people who are Dylan fans... it seems like most people's casual knowledge of Dylan stops around Desire. (Maybe picking up briefly again for Empire Burlesque/Infidels... then jump-starting again with Time Out of Mind.)

morris pavilion (samjeff), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 19:07 (sixteen years ago) link

I think his voice is better than ever. And I don't think his wicked guitar playing gets enough credit.
And he has nice eyes.

My Huckleberry Friend (Horace Mann), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 19:07 (sixteen years ago) link

x-post

Self-Portrait might be the most underrated album of all time.

And I agree with Tab. Dylan as fundamentalist spitfire preacher is definitely underrated. That phase of his might be the most dramatic remove from an established image anyone's ever accomplished. It's interesting how Neil Young did his schizo albums right after, which maybe's another example of Dylan's huge sway over everybody else.

otto, Tuesday, 17 February 2004 19:07 (sixteen years ago) link

I like his voice these days -- it has a lot of character. One of my pet peeves is people who hate Dylan's singing (full-stop), because there's so much going on in his voice, always.

jody (Jody Beth Rosen), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 19:10 (sixteen years ago) link

I own some Bob Dylan stuff, I hardly ever listen to it, and if I never hear him again I'm not gonna get all weepy. However I don't think he's overrated.

Gear! (Gear!), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 19:13 (sixteen years ago) link

Character?! It sounds like his vocal cords have been through a cheese grater.

o. nate (onate), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 19:13 (sixteen years ago) link

a cheese grater from heaven!

My Huckleberry Friend (Horace Mann), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 19:15 (sixteen years ago) link

It sounds like his vocal cords have been through a cheese grater.

This is bad why?

jody (Jody Beth Rosen), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 19:16 (sixteen years ago) link

I'm sorta annoyed with the valuing of his voice as mystic signifier...but at base, I just don't like it.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 19:19 (sixteen years ago) link

I listen to Dylan more than i listen to the Beatles and i think i always will.

NOT overrated -- and go ahead and strike up another vote for Self Portrait.

christoff (christoff), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 19:33 (sixteen years ago) link

I think his voice is better than ever.

Yeah buddy. I've seen him several times over the past 17 years (first in '87, most recently in '02), and the most recent show was the best hands down. His singing was so sharp and (OK, in its own way) *rich*. But the "mystic signifier" thing is true, I guess, because I think loving Dylan's singing vs. appreciating him as a songwriter or "important influence" or whatever is kind of the dividing line on really digging him or not.

spittle (spittle), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 19:38 (sixteen years ago) link

mystic signifier

I wouldn't call it that. I just think his delivery is really funny! He has a great sense of comedic timing (even when he's being serious) and almost everything he sings is pregnant with some kind of... I don't wanna say "meaning," it's more like "presence of mind." Like you know he wrote the line to be sung a certain way and the fun of getting to sing it justifies the labor of writing it.

jody (Jody Beth Rosen), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 19:41 (sixteen years ago) link

I think it was John Lennon who said you don't need to hear Dylan's words, just the way he sings them.

I mean, I'd put him with Sinatra and Ella and Billie and ... not many others, maybe Elvis? Bing? Howlin' Wolf? Hank Williams? ... as great American singers of the recorded era.

But then, that's the kind of statement that makes people say he's overrated. Can't win.

spittle (spittle), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 19:42 (sixteen years ago) link

Like you know he wrote the line to be sung a certain way and the fun of getting to sing it justifies the labor of writing it.

And this is important because so many "clever" singer-songwriters have no idea how to emote comedically and their jokes just don't translate well to being sung.

jody (Jody Beth Rosen), Tuesday, 17 February 2004 19:47 (sixteen years ago) link

I'm no Dylan obsessive, though I do own tons of Dylan stuff, officially released and otherwise. Anyway. some years back I caught an Alejandro Escovedo show down the street, and during it he covered "Dark Eyes." I'd never heard it because I've never really listened to any '80s Dylan stuff, but I thought, huh, that's a pretty good song.

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 04:29 (one week ago) link

You're partly right about the '90s because there wasn't much studio activity and it started off terribly with "Under the Red Sky." Dylan himself expressed regret about that one, saying it was a complete disorganized mess. (Basically he was trying to record that at the same time he was writing and recording the next Wilburys album, and he says he wasn't focused on his own album at all.) The tours kept coming, and pretty soon that was his main focus because his next two albums were the covers albums. They were knocked out quickly, and they helped fulfill his contract at a time when he wasn't really writing new material, but they also allowed him to regroup by diving back into the music that really got him into music as a way of life. The first one is pretty uneven - there is some good stuff, but he isn't completely convincing on everything, especially "Tomorrow Night" where he sounds awful. But he's begun righting the ship, and the next one, "World Gone Wrong," is very close to a masterpiece - his interpretations that are absolutely riveting. (Along with "In Utero," Patti Smith said it was one of the two albums she listened to most that year.) After that you had MTV Unplugged (which may have been more about the TV broadcast) and "Time Out of Mind," but that's it until "Things Have Changed" came out in 2000, so a pretty modest output for the decade, but I'd only call one of those albums a dud.

With Dylan (or Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, the Beatles, the VU, James Brown...) the first thing I zeroed in on was how much they changed music, and you have to look at what was made before they came along. There was no shortage of great music before they came along, but the music most people know today was completely shaped by their contributions. Dylan's influence was so varied and broad, it's really hard to imagine what songwriting would've been like without him. When Prince died, someone made that point and listed like 30 major artists from the past 30 years who were profoundly shaped by Prince - it was basically 30 names that collectively felt like the center of popular music. That's pretty much what it's like with Dylan, though the influences are becoming more second or thirdhand given how long he's been around (i.e. even artists who don't know his music are likely to be influenced via someone else who was). Anyway, that's how I've explained someone like Dylan to people who are unfamiliar with Western music.

Yeah, I'm not a fan of "Is Your Love in Vain?" either (it's one of the three duds I listed). I'm sorry, but that hook you're talking about on "No Time to Think" is one reason I find it so irritating melodically speaking. The singing and the arrangement are both horrendous to me. If I had to make the case for that album, there's probably four tracks I'd focus on: "Changing of the Guards" (which I prefer to hear from Patti Smith on "Twelve" - it's a much better, low-key arrangement, and transposing the cheesy sax riff to the piano is an enormous improvement), "Senor," "We Better Talk This Over" (reportedly, the new musical direction was inspired by the recently deceased Elvis Presley and what Presley was doing in the final 7 or 8 years of his life - this track reminds me of his best music from that era), and "Where Are You Tonight?" which sounds like Dylan's on the verge of collapse - it's a stunning piece of work and placed within the context of his subsequent conversion, it feels all the more perfect.

Yeah, "Dark Eyes" is gorgeous. It's been singled out before, but Patti Smith used to sing that with Dylan when they toured together in the '90s. It's the one real keeper from "Empire Burlesque" IMHO.

birdistheword, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 06:31 (one week ago) link

Huh - I made a similar but much less informative post while you were typing that. Under the Red Sky was a head-scratcher for sure, then that early stage of the Neverending Tour (RIP) was widely derided, and well it should have been, D barking cryptic chunks of lyrics in this weird shambling state for many of the shows. But a major factor to remember was that The Bootleg Series Vols. 1-3 came out in 1991 and fired up some interest. And then the roots covers albums, which are great, didn't gain much attention, but Time Out of Mind dropped in 1997 and was universally hailed. So I don't think the 90s were a void, maybe 5 years were.

assert (MatthewK), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 06:37 (one week ago) link

Just to clarify the point about Dylan's influence (it's late so I'm a little tired now), a good point of reference may be the "Sinatra" albums. Not many people like them, and Dylan's concerts noticeably lost attendance because of them. But those are GREAT songs. And Frank Sinatra's albums from the '50s to the early '60s were marvelous. The Capitol recordings are probably one of the great bodies of work in 20th century music. Ella Fitzgerald's Verve songbooks are almost up there too. These are great records tapping into the Great American Songbook, and it says a lot that Dylan's covers didn't captivate the imagination. He may have been a poor fit for this material, but these songs didn't feel like they had any connection to the present. What made these albums "work" conceptually was that it made one re-think the place this music had in the culture now - at one time this was THE popular music in the Western world, but the audience it was made for (the audience in the broadest sense, meaning the population at large) is now virtually gone. Dylan is preserving this music the way he's preserved songs that are centuries old. It's poignant knowing this music has now slipped into that side of history. It's also ironic because it was songwriting like Dylan's that made that music part of an old tradition instead of a continuing path to something new. We're in the middle of perhaps another major upheaval as some are arguing that rock music is now slowing down and giving way to hip-hop, but regardless any rock band can cover Dylan's songs now and the best stuff wouldn't sound out of place at all, even close to 60 years after the fact. I think that alone says a lot.

birdistheword, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 06:46 (one week ago) link

a major factor to remember was that The Bootleg Series Vols. 1-3 came out in 1991 and fired up some interest

Interesting you mention this; another thing happening in the ‘90s was Dylan sort of transitioning into the “legacy” phase of his career. You can think of something like The 30th* Anniversary Concert Celebration in this regard, as well.

(*I can’t believe that Dylan had been recording for only 30 years at that point... it sounds like nothing now! A band like, say, Mudhoney has been around for longer today than Dylan had been in ‘92.)

Pat McGroin (morrisp), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 08:02 (one week ago) link

But seriously, New Morning is one of his best

Heez, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 11:23 (one week ago) link

Honestly there's probably no one who's opinion I trust least than super 60s fans, maybe the early folk crowd

― Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown)

I can't post this often enough

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 12:10 (one week ago) link

I'm the fan for whom JWL, New Morning, and Empire Burlesque are essential Dylan.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 12:10 (one week ago) link

UTRS is a fun album!

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 12:11 (one week ago) link

New Morning is awesome. So human, laid back, and fun. Few moments in his entire career bring more joy than the last verse of Went to See the Gypsy through the outro.

Tōne Locatelli Romano (PBKR), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 13:34 (one week ago) link

And what's great about Bob is the weird angles he takes on things. Like how Day of the Locusts was inspired by receiving an honorary doctorate from Princeton.

Tōne Locatelli Romano (PBKR), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 13:41 (one week ago) link

John Wesley Harding is absolutely one of his greats, I don't think many would disagree with that.

New Morning has a few great tracks, and I agree "Went to See the Gypsy" is one of them, but I actually prefer the alternate take on Another Self Portrait - completely different arrangement, but Dylan's vocal is exquisite on that one. And I would say my favorite song on New Morning is "Sign on the Window" - it may be the best song he released in this era (after JWH and before BOTT). I don't think the album gets better than those two tracks, but a lot of stuff on the first side is still pretty good: "Time Is Passing," "Day of the Locusts," and "If Not For You" which is now a standard though again I prefer the alternate arrangement on Another Self Portrait. (Elvis Costello even singled it out as a great discovery on that Bootleg Series set, but it's actually been widely bootlegged for a while, and in a better mix that has some lovely pedal steel on it.) "Winterlude" and "The Man in Me" are funny little novelties, maybe even "If Dogs Run Free" though it kind of wears thin by the end. Title track's okay, "One More Weekend" is pretty disposable, and "Three Angels" and "Father of Night" feel like a waste of space - not the worst songs he's written, but I don't think they're good songs either. I can see why Dylan would claim New Morning was a bunch of tossed off songs that evaporated into thin air, but "Sign on the Window" alone is much more than that.

Judging by the Rod Stewart thread, Alfred is a big booster of the synthpop-influenced rock of the '80s, so if you're into that era of Rod Stewart, you're likely to enjoy Empire Burlesque a lot. A lot of Under the Red Sky is too slick for my tastes, but with the novelty songs I can see it being a lot more fun if you have kids. "Handy Dandy" is fun in either form, but "Wiggle Wiggle" is too inane for me. The title track can be gorgeous.

birdistheword, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 15:04 (one week ago) link

empire burlesque doesn't really have that many synths

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 15:09 (one week ago) link

I don't consider myself a booster; what I've attempted for years is to eviscerate received boomer wisdom concerning technological innovations, s if a particular guitar sound from, say, 1965 >>> a Casio programmed in 1985. Also, if a song from 1981-1990 sucks, blame the song, not the production. I will not save Down in the Groove or most of Knocked Out Loaded (I would save "Brownsville Girl," "Got My Mind Made Up," "Driftin' Too Far from Shore," though).

As for UTRS, "Cat's in the Well," the title track, "Wiggle Wiggle" (Kenny Aronoff!), and "2x2" are perfectly fine songs.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 15:11 (one week ago) link

one of those records where its reputation seems more based on the album cover than the actual music xp

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 15:11 (one week ago) link

The only song on which the synths go bonkers is "When the Night Comes Falling...," which I'll argue is a poorly realized song in any version. "Never Gonna Be the Same Again" is also meh. And the synths absolutely enliven the simmering "Something's Burning, Baby."

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 15:12 (one week ago) link

I suspect critics at the time wanted the Serious Dylan of Oh Mercy, so when they heard George Harrison, Kenny Aronoff, Elton, etc play on nursery rhymes they thought he was squandering his gifts or something when, if they wanted to examine their values, tracks like "Political World" and "Disease of Conceit" are worse than nursery rhymes. At least on UTRS Dylan and his crack superstar band treat nursery rhymes seriously.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 15:16 (one week ago) link

i love that new morning ends with "three angels" and "father of night," it's such an interesting, rich, well-arranged record with these pockets of total abstraction

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 15:17 (one week ago) link

Funny, "Political World" and "Disease of Conceit" (and I'll throw in "Where Teardrops Fall") are actually the mediocrities I was referring to - those are definitely the three I would toss in favor of the stronger outtakes, including "Born in Time" which wound up on UTRS. But the crack band Lanois put together treated those songs seriously too - they're still terrible. I don't have a problem with Dylan doing nursery rhymes, but you don't want to give a free pass to all of them without any discriminating taste either. I enjoy "Handy Dandy" as much as "Tattle O'Day" (Another Self Portrait), and I have a fun time singing them to my nephews, but they're actual fun songs while "Wiggle Wiggle" is understandably polarizing. (I like Kenny Aronoff - one of the best things about those Mellencamp records he's on - but his drumming isn't enough to save "Wiggle Wiggle" for me.)

Alfred, you're generally right that technological innovations of the '80s, but I'd use a less broader range of music to make the case. Prince, New Order, the Pet Shop Boys and Depeche Mode make a rock solid case for the sounds of that decade, but I don't find a convincing case with some of those other records, quite the opposite.

Also, "Something's Burning, Baby" is actually not a bad song - there's some good lyrics in there - but the synths are kind of a trade-off where it becomes more radio-friendly at the expense of the darker and most interesting elements of that song.

To be brutally honest, Dylan's album covers are usually underwhelming regardless of the music inside, which is fine. There's plenty of terrible albums with covers worth hanging on the wall.

birdistheword, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 16:27 (one week ago) link

(some typos there, should be "generally right about the technological innovations" and Pet Shop Boys has no "the." Also with "Something's Burning, Baby," to be more accurate, it's not just the use of synths but probably the arrangement in general. Should probably add that "2 x 2" and "Cat's in the Well" are actually okay - maybe not great, but they're fine children's songs.)

birdistheword, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 16:34 (one week ago) link

We spend a lot of time here discussing the divisive albums and low-hanging fruit. I’d be interested to see someone try to make the case that, say, Blonde on Blonde is overrated.

Pat McGroin (morrisp), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 17:33 (one week ago) link

hi!

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 17:33 (one week ago) link

j/k it's not overrated but I prefer the 12-bar blues on L&T.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 17:34 (one week ago) link

the Born in Time off Telltale Signs is great

also the Most of the Time

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 17:38 (one week ago) link

I find "Born in Time" as blank as "Emotionally Yours," both of which have illegible titular metaphors (the hell does "born in time" mean?). Pretty melodies, though, hence my preference for the O'Jays' version of the ltter.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 17:45 (one week ago) link

*latteer

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 17:46 (one week ago) link

lol latter

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 17:46 (one week ago) link

pick of the latter

Pat McGroin (morrisp), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 17:52 (one week ago) link

Yeah, the "Born in Time" on Tell Tale Signs is great (the "first" version that is, you can find on it on every edition of that set, whether it's the single, double and triple disc edition). That track along with the finished versions of "Series of Dreams" and "Dignity" (both easily found on Side Tracks) would have been my preference over the three tracks I listed above.

For some of the other songs, I would still prefer earlier "less-produced" mixes that were included on Tell Tale Signs. ("Everything Is Broken" found on all editions, "Ring Them Bells" and "Most of the Time" on disc three of the ridiculously priced three-disc edition.) But taken together, that would be a great album for me, easily among the top 5 of a pretty strong year that already included 3 Feet High and Rising, Paul's Boutique, Doolittle and Freedom/El Dorado, all masterpieces to me.

birdistheword, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 18:13 (one week ago) link

(urgh, typo again: "can find it on every")

birdistheword, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 18:17 (one week ago) link

"Blonde on Blonde" has too many good songs to be overrated. But I've actually never been able to get into "Blood on the Tracks."

Josh in Chicago, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 19:00 (one week ago) link

I loved BotT as a teen/young guy, but rarely listen to it now -- not I listen to Blonde on Blonde too often, either. They're both terrific albums, though.

Pat McGroin (morrisp), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 19:14 (one week ago) link

I've noticed more and more dissenters about BOTT in recent years. Not necessarily a backlash, more like people who had reservations about it have been more vocal thanks to the Bootleg Series release and the RSD release of the "NY version" creating a platform where that kind of discussion would go on. To be clear, it has nothing to do with the debate about which version is better. (Tom Hull said he never could stomach the album, Greil Marcus said it was the most overrated Dylan album ever, etc.) Anyway, I was under the impression it was the one universally hailed Dylan album of the '70s, so it was a bit of a surprise when I kept coming across people who were a bit down on it. Personally, I think I still think it's a masterpiece.

birdistheword, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 19:22 (one week ago) link

oh it’s absolutely fuckin incredible

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 19:36 (one week ago) link

that and JWH his only essential records for me

specific fry such as scampo (||||||||), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 19:38 (one week ago) link

live 1966 if that counts

specific fry such as scampo (||||||||), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 19:39 (one week ago) link

the box set was revelatory in that you could hear him deliberately trying out a back-to-basics approach, the accompaniment being his most minimal since john wesley harding i think. which the ny version of the record ultimately bears out and the final version of the record somewhat undermines. all of those songs are like these fucking enormous tangles of time and heartache in any version tho imo

mellon collie and the infinite bradness (BradNelson), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 19:39 (one week ago) link

I enjoy "Handy Dandy" as much as "Tattle O'Day" (Another Self Portrait)

Tattle O'Day is one of my favorite Dylan songs, full stop. It would fit perfectly with the absurdist stuff on The Basement Tapes and it's an example of what Dylan took from old folk songs; not protest bullshit, but weirdness and humor. I'll not here Tattle O'Day slandered on this site.

Tōne Locatelli Romano (PBKR), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 19:43 (one week ago) link

here = hear

Tōne Locatelli Romano (PBKR), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 19:43 (one week ago) link

I haven't listened to BOTT in years. I'm sure I'll still enjoy it.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 19:59 (one week ago) link

We spend a lot of time here discussing the divisive albums and low-hanging fruit. I’d be interested to see someone try to make the case that, say, Blonde on Blonde is overrated.

How about someone making the case that Bob Dylan is overrated?

Future England Captain (Tom D.), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 20:01 (one week ago) link

That would be a novelty in the Is Bob Dylan overrated? thread.

Future England Captain (Tom D.), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 20:01 (one week ago) link

can't remember who recommended this alternate running order BOTT on here, but think it's my fave version
https://open.spotify.com/playlist/3VP1R9iNOJ0gHDSnkgDU3m?si=cnrCBFTJRbyL6jDFGGRzUg

specific fry such as scampo (||||||||), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 20:02 (one week ago) link

h/t user karl malone
Bob Dylan - Blood on the Tracks poll

specific fry such as scampo (||||||||), Wednesday, 1 July 2020 20:05 (one week ago) link

what’s the usefulness of measuring the “correct rating” apart from pointing out that some other artist did x first

brimstead, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 20:27 (one week ago) link

wait nm I finally get it, it’s about the momentum of history and shit... not being sarcastic, actually, it helps to think about stuff

brimstead, Wednesday, 1 July 2020 20:29 (one week ago) link

Good alternates, but I still prefer the master takes originally selected for the "NY version." Anyway, the stark production/recording reminds me of "Pink Moon" - since Nick Drake's album initially sold less than his previous two and wallowed in obscurity for decades, I don't blame them for re-recording half of it to make it more commercial, but it does lose something vital in the process.

And BKR, just to be clear, when I said I enjoyed "Tattle O'Day" as much as "Handy Dandy," I wasn't putting those two songs down. (But if you hate the latter, I understand your mistake in assuming that.)

birdistheword, Thursday, 2 July 2020 00:04 (one week ago) link

I was thinking what on Earth is "Tattle O'Day", is it a traditional song? It's not availabe on Youtube, so I haven't heard it but I remembered that Robin Williamson recorded a song called "Toderoday" which is I assume is the same song, same lyrical idea anyway.

Future England Captain (Tom D.), Thursday, 2 July 2020 00:20 (one week ago) link

It's possibly better known as "Little Brown Dog" or "Autumn to May" but it's centuries old. I know someone's aunt who sings and teaches it to her kindergarten class, and she herself learned it in school when she was growing up in the UK (I think Scotland). The words are kind of psychedelic, but again it's a very old song.

birdistheword, Thursday, 2 July 2020 00:40 (one week ago) link

I'm mostly joking with my indignation, but not about how awesome Tattle O'Day. It gives me shivers when he sings:

"I think mine are the very best of sheep for yielding me increase,
For every full and change of the moon they bring both lambs and geese."

Tōne Locatelli Romano (PBKR), Thursday, 2 July 2020 01:45 (one week ago) link


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