Considered one of Dylan's best works, Highway 61 Revisited
is a masterpiece of folk and rock. Dylan is a creative genius, and this album took him literally days to write and record. Containing the well-known "Like a Rolling Stone" and the epic "Desolation Row," Dylan spans many musicial genres and breaks new ground.
The CD kicks off with "Like a Rolling Stone," the 6:13 epic that virtually every rock fan has heard atleast once. It's about being out there alone and not having anything in life to depend on. The tambourine and jingle-sort of beat gives it an upbeat tempo. Mix in some guitar and blues harmonica, and you got a smash.
Following is "Tombstone Blues," combining blues and folk guitar with a drum beat that sounds like its rushing to the end, but still keeping time. The lyrics, while not strictly make sense, are all about random mishaps. Together I guess that's what's forming Dylan's tombstone blues.
"It Takes A Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry" is a blues-guitar driven track with piano mixed in there for good measure. Dylan's lyrics express worry about not being able to cut it in life, but how if he doesn't make it, "his baby will." Dylan's vocals may not be the best in the world, but he shows his brilliance at phrasing and the fluctuation of his voice.
"From A Buick 6" used a 50s rock 'n roll style beat to get into it. A swingin' beat with lots of drums and keyboards is what this song's mainly about. Not much here lyrically, but still a decent track (shortest one too).
"Ballad of a Thin Man" has that sort of Phantom-of-the-Opera-esqe quality to it. Dylan even manages to crack up in the first verse as he sings. It's about confusion of what's going on, with a strong piano presence. "Something is happening, but you don't know what it is. Do you Mr Jones?" Good stuff.
"Queen Jane Approximately" returns to the original folk sound of this album with light pianos and folk guitar keeping the track moving. Dylan's asking this person to come see him once she has nothing left, basically, remember the little people in your life. The more you listen to Dylan's voice, it's not so bad for his genre. It's almost the perfect folk voice, as demonstrated on this track. And of course, it's not a Dylan folk song without the harmonica solo.
The title track, "Highway 61 Revisited," has a really upbeat tempo to it with the tambourines coming back in. Lyrically deep again, or just confusing, you never really can tell with Dylan. Some clever metaphors mixed in here, with an almost tongue-in-cheek type commentry.
"Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues" is another blues/folk song, with a pretty piano lick. Being lost and not being able to find your way through, it gives hope to these kind of people. Folksy and bluesy all mixed together.
Finally, the epic "Desolation Row" is almost singularly a guitar beat that is completely folk. It's a sort of empty feeling type track, with no real emotion. If anything, it's kind of depressing. Of course, a harmonica solo at the end. Even still, there's a little feeling of hope in it.
An extremely brilliant album with clever lyrics, even if they don't all make sense. Most of the songs on this album are longer than 5 minutes, showing Dylan's ability to write very complete songs. He brilliantly mixes blues and folk, and even a bit of 50s/60s rock. The man's talents can never be underestimated, especially since this album was put together in less than a week.