If I could choose one line from "Modern Times
" that sums up the whole album it would be"I ain't holdin' nothin' back now, I ain't standin' in anybody's way." Dylan has finally got us back in the palm of his hand, and I think he knows it. With "Time Out Of Mind,
" Dylan created an insecure record that sounded like it could have been his last, Dylan laid his heart and soul out for everyone to see it, and it worked. The album was praised and considered by many to be his best since "Blood On The Tracks
". The follow up "Love and Theft,
" showed a more confident but still unsure Dylan. He began to look more and more like the young Dylan, not only writing beautiful lyrics but also bringing back the trademark Dylan humor, along with some rock n' roll songs that recalled albums like "Blonde on Blonde." Infact the whole trilogy that Dylan has created recalls the classic 60's trilogy of [i]Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, and Blonde On Blonde[i]. And just like that trilogy the latest record is also the best.
Everything about this album is better than the two that came before. The guitar work is phenominal, Thunder On The Mountain, Spirit On The Water, Rollin' and Tumblin',
and Someday Baby,
all feature excellent lead guitar licks and fills, as well as some toe-tapping rhythm guitar. Workingman's Blues
and Nettie Moore
feature the best piano work I've ever heard from Dylan, and he manages to make the parts sounds both modern and classic at the same time. Vocally this album features the best and most accessible "gravely-voiced" Dylan songs yet, either that or I have just really gotten used to the sound, I'm not quite sure yet.
And now the moment everyone has been waiting for, the lyrics. Are they up to Dylan standards? Of course they are! This album has pretty much every type of Dylan lyric there is. The blues lyrics as seen on Rollin' and Tumblin
then there's some great love lyrics on the epic Spirit On The Water,
the light-hearted funny one moment and serious the next lyrics of Thunder On The Mountain,
he even goes back to his protesting days with Workingman's Blues #2
which protests low wages amongst other things, and as seems to be a tradition with Bob the album ends with an epic filled with emotion and great words. Ironically the 9 minute closer is titled Ain't Talking.
It follows in the vein of Desolation Row lyric-wise, filled with mystical images it deals with countless situations while somehow managing to connect them all.
Sitting silent after the album had ended I found myself sitting with a big grin as I realized this album not only exceeded my expectations, it completley blew them away. Not only is this album better than Love and Theft and Time Out Of Mind, but it is truly one of Dylan's finest records. When The Deal Goes Down, Spirit On The Water, and Someday Baby
just to name a few are some of the tracks that could stand up next to any of Dylan's old material and not feel out of place. The only problem I had with the cd was that after coughing up 17 dollars instead of 13 for the extra-dvd and "expanded case," I found that the case was one of the most terrible things I had ever seen. You can see the staples clearly, the spine is made of some pathetic material and there's a sticky piece of tape that holds in an advertisment for XM Radio. But to be fair from the outside the case does look pretty nifty.
-Phenominal guitar work, phenominal music all around for that matter
-Great vocals, even people who aren't a fan of Dylan's newer vocals might find this listenable
-Sounds new and old at the same time
-I have yet to watch the special edition dvd yet but the case upsets me deeply.
-Spirit On The Water
-Rollin' And Tumblin
-When The Deal Goes Down
-Workingman's Blues #2
...I'll stop before I list the entire album.