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659543 Posts in 26425 Topics by 3756 Members - Latest Member: My Smile Solution July 11, 2020, 06:48:34 AM
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Author Topic: Thoughts on Bob Dylan's 'Rough and Rowdy Ways'?  (Read 244 times)
rab2591
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« on: June 24, 2020, 12:54:20 PM »

Listen to it here on YouTube.

NME calls it "arguably his grandest poetic statement yet" and I almost have to agree. 'Murder Most Foul' is by far Dylan's greatest lyrical achievement - what a rollercoaster ride that leaves you aching. It's this portrait of post-JFK America, only the portrait is primarily of music and cultural icons. It kinda takes your breath away when he sings:

Put your head out the window, let the good times roll
There's a party going on behind the Grassy Knoll


And then:

The day that they killed him, someone said to me, "Son
The age of the Antichrist has just only begun"


I said the soul of a nation been torn away
And it's beginning to go into a slow decay


It's an obvious political message, but it's not the blatantly obvious slap-in-the-head-with-a-2x4 political message we usually get from musicians (the flavor-of-the-day knee-jerk response to the latest news media hysteria - which Murder Most Foul doesn't seem to be at all - rather it feels like a song that has slowly simmered and gained ingredients since 11/22/63 in Bob Dylan's mind)...Dylan is either treating us like his fans are not incompetent children, or he just doesn't care (probably the latter). Either way, in the current American climate it is wonderful to hear. And releasing 'Murder Most Foul' right now was the perfect moment to do so.

Even Carl Wilson is name-dropped, I would love to know any thoughts as to the significance of this...why Carl?

I have listened to this album three times now and I honestly don't know what to think of it - I just know that I keep going back to it. Besides 'Murder Most Foul' I don't have a favorite song (perhaps 'Black Rider' or 'My Own Version of You')...the songs just all seem to meld into one-another like a grand painting, yet each song has something unique to offer. There are no majestic hooks, no crooning love songs (both of which somewhat define what I look for in a great album). Lyrically it is phenomenal, the atmosphere of the album reminds me of 'Time Out Of Mind', melodically you can tell he has been greatly influenced by his recent Sinatra albums. It's a cohesive and jarring statement.

Definitely my favorite Dylan album since 'Time Out Of Mind'.

What are everyone else's thoughts?
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spgass
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« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2020, 05:21:12 PM »

I've only listened to the whole album once so far...  but agree the songs seem to meld together.  Goodbye Jimmy Reed stood out to me maybe just because the instrumentation was different than the other tracks.

The Carl Wilson line was discussed a bit on the main forum.  Pretty cool - I wasn't familiar with that song beforehand.  http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php/topic,27022.0.html
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rab2591
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« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2020, 10:21:34 AM »

Thanks for linking that! I remembered seeing it somewhere on the forum weeks ago but after searching for a while the other day I gave up. I'll probably scour the internet for some Dylan forums that will break down the meaning of each of these songs.
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