For those that think I’m a musical snob, here’s an admission for you: I’m not a Bob Dylan guy. His voice is just an acquired taste I’ve never acquired. I will concede he’s a great songwriter but his songs are always better when performed by others like Jimi Hendrix with All Along the Watchtower, Eric Clapton with Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door and The Byrds with Mr. Tambourine Man. But for those that are Dylan guys, then I have the album for you with his just released Modern Times.
The album is a follow up is essentially the third in a trilogy of albums dating back to 1997’s Time out of Mind and also includes 2001’s Love and Theft (which had the unfortunate release date of 9/11) but I think that since I hadn’t heard the previous two, it won’t be like watching Return of the Jedi before the previous Star Wars movies. Modern Times starts off with the great Thunder on the Mountain that inexplicably name drops Alicia Keys multiple times to much effect and the song comes off like a folksy version of Johnny B. Goode. When the Deal Goes Down is a heart touching song which is heighten but the beautiful video with Scarlett Johansson.
In the hands of lesser lyricist, When Levee’s Gonna Break would come off as a cheesy indictment of Katrina, but in Bob’s hand it instead invokes early last century folk songs. Then there is the actual last century folk song, Rollin’ and Tumblin’ that updates to much success (but not as good as Clapton’s version for his MTV Unplugged set). Be warned that the album clocks in at just over an album with only ten song (the shortest song comes in at 4:55), but Dylan is able to craft long song without making them tedious. Now if only Capton will cover some of the songs.
Song to Download - Thunder on the Mountain
Modern Times gets a on my Terror Alert Scale.