Bob Dylan
The Times They Are A-Changin'


4.5
superb

Review

by DesolationRow USER (80 Reviews)
April 9th, 2006 | 56 replies


Release Date: 1964 | Tracklist


If you have ever analyzed Sir Isaac Newton's law of inertia, you'd know that the law states 'For every action, there is an equal, but opposite reaction.' Figuratively speaking of course, the law of inertia can be directly related to politics, and other social topics of a country. I'm no political science major, but as long as government has made their laws, there have always been radicals and revolutionaries to protest those laws. The reaction cancels itself out, yet it never ends, going full circle. Perhaps musicians that have the wit to analyze political patterns seem to enjoy being political within the context music. Bob Dylan epitomizes this statement. It was no secret that Bob Dylan was Jewish. Yet no matter the criticism he endured for his religious affiliation, or his protesting folk music, Robert Zimmerman always did what he wanted to do with his music. In 1964, Bob Dylan released The Times They Are A-Changin'. It was Bob Dylan's very first record that included all originals. Since his previous album, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, Bob Dylan's irrationality as a recording artist had come a long way. Freewheelin' was known for its social outcry introductory song, Blowing in the Wind. On this record, his music and message are in vein of the aforementioned song. He bluntly wrote politically cynical lyrics, and kept a folksy background as his foundation. And the results were far from what meets the ears.

The Times They Are A-Changin' sounds like a down and dirty folk album, with a blues twist to it. It sounds innocuous as an overall record to inept ears. Yet deep beneath Dylan's gravelly, tender voice and quiet acoustic guitar strumming is a political clamor of progressivism. His views are candidly expressed through his controversial libretto. A racial, governmental, and down right abject Bob Dylan is expressed. While he manages to refrain from using vulgarity and nihilistic manifestation, his distress for social injustices are clearly expressed as he remains calm and collected. Bob Dylan is no stranger to controversy, and with this album, it is easy to see why. His forte lies in fiery songwriting. And The Times They Are A-Changin' seems to encompass exactly that.

There are several classic pieces of radical poetry on this album. Likewise, all of which seem to focus on different political aspects. A very bluesy harmonica and a peaceful guitar strum accompany a raucous tale of religion and war, Holocaust and persecution of minorities (With God On Our Side), where Dylan directly addresses the death of Jesus Christ. Other parts speak of the segregation of blacks and whites throughout the country lie in front of a wailing Dylan and soft guitar (Only a Pawn in Their Game) where Dylan often addresses blacks as a white southern man would. And the album title alone (as well as the song itself) directs the governmental change and hypocrisy that occurred in the sixties. The Times They Are A-Changin' is a much more politically cynical record than a musical gem. Dylan's dark, sarcastic sense of humor allegorize the United States into a republic of turmoil, rather than freedom. His use of satire and irony are enough to move anyone who listens to the album, regardless of whether you agree with his point of view, or not. Chances are, liberals hold this album to be holy, while conservatives are about as enraged as they were with To Kill A Mockingbird.

As I have already stated, The Times They Are A-Changin' is a very subtle album, musically. Dylan had not yet explored his electric work, and was still concentrated on acoustic folk, rather than experimenting with other styles. Bob Dylan does not stray from the faint acoustic guitar strumming and powerful harmonica melodies. He lets his voice provide a melody of its own, while his lyrics purvey his message. On a few songs, Lonesome Farewell, in particular, showcase his musical capabilities, yet the better songs are more vocally audacious. There are a number of songs that occupy the album that do not settle on par with the aforementioned songs on here, most of them being the non politically oriented (bar Boots of Spanish Leather). But no matter how Dylan's dark sense of humor is portrayed, his absurdity and cynicism does not go without notice.



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user ratings (707)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
El_Goodo (5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Storm In A Teacup
April 9th 2006


22091 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Sweet work, my dad gave me his Greatest Hits, Greatest Hits Vol. 2, Blood On the Tracks, Time Out of Mind, and The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration. I likey.

pulseczar
April 9th 2006


2385 Comments


Cool review, short for your standards, but always with a mildly cheesy intro :p

XxcheetoxX
April 9th 2006


78 Comments


I'm not really a Dylan fan. He has some stuff I like, but alot of the other stuff is forgetable.

What was that one Christian album Dylan made?

DesolationRow
April 9th 2006


833 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

All of my intros are cheesy. It's something you have to accept. We all can't write a good hook without being somewhat lame.

Electric City
Emeritus
April 9th 2006


15760 Comments


^Fountains Of Wayne's theory exactly.

I am dying to get this. I heard Straylight Run's With God On Our Side, and loved it, and the title track is good as well.

Dimes Make Dollars
April 9th 2006


241 Comments


This album never really appealed to me, but it's a nice review nonetheless. Very good work.This Message Edited On 04.09.06

DesolationRow
April 9th 2006


833 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

That is why you like Desire. :p



Desire is awesome, though.

hard_rocker89
April 9th 2006


278 Comments


Hey I thought Bob Dylan was a Jew?
Maybe not...idk. Thought he was one though

temporary
April 10th 2006


207 Comments


Great work, this is some of Dylan's finest work. His protests are more human then
they are on Freewheelin' what with songs like Only a Pawn in their Game and the
Lonesome Death of Hattie Caroll being about real incidents.This Message Edited On 04.10.06

El_Goodo
April 11th 2006


1013 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

The only negative thing I have to say is that you put this under Rock reviews. It's a good read that keeps you interested throughout.



But of course if you want a better run-through of all the songs...you could check out my review :p just joking.

DesolationRow
April 12th 2006


833 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Folk is under rock reviews. I didn't do that.



[quote= Sylvia] It's under rock because folk is, for some reason. [/quote]



Wait... you beat me. :mad:This Message Edited On 04.12.06

El_Goodo
April 12th 2006


1013 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Well then...I've got nothing negative to say.

El_Goodo
April 12th 2006


1013 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Well then...I've got nothing negative to say.

Grant
January 14th 2007


26 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Newton's first law is the law of inertia, " An object in motion or at rest will tend to want to stay in motion or at rest unless acted upon by an outside force."



You're talking about Newton's third law of motion, "for every action, there is a reaction equal in magnitude but opposite in direction."



Great album too, one of Dylan's best peak era records.

Kaleid
January 14th 2007


735 Comments


Yup; better than the stuff he churned out in the late 70s

Grant
January 14th 2007


26 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Save Blood on the Tracks of course.

MrKite
January 14th 2007


5020 Comments


I can't believe I don't own anything by him yet.

mynameischan
Emeritus
January 14th 2007


17946 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

oh my

John Paul Harrison
January 14th 2007


1014 Comments


oh dear


Sepstrup
January 15th 2007


1567 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Save Blood on the Tracks of course.





That's not late seventies though. I like this album.



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