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Bob Dylan
New Morning


4.0
excellent

Review

by AugustWest1990 USER (42 Reviews)
May 29th, 2018 | 3 replies


Release Date: 1970 | Tracklist


After 1970's "Self Portrait" managed once and for all to alienate the few hangers-on who wanted Bob Dylan to remain stuck in his 1960s' 'psychedelic folk troubadour' phase, Dylan entered the next evolution of his storied career with "New Morning."

While most Dylan albums often meditate on dark themes and carry a healthy dose of world weary cynicism, "New Morning" is almost entirely devoid of these grim hallmarks; now living in upstate New York with his wife and children, "New Morning" finds a Bob Dylan uncharacteristically content and relaxed with his surroundings. There are no put-downs or condescending jabs at his peers or ex-lovers, no cryptic word play about obtusely named characters and places. "New Morning" showed Dylan was just as capable at writing about common people and everyday life as he was with with surrealistic epics whose lyrics still aren't fully understood today.

Dylan's personal and artistic growth is immediately evident from the joyful opening strains of "Day of the Locusts." On songs like "Desolation Row" and "Visions of Johanna," Dylan displayed a knack for visual detail in his writing, making each place and character come to life despite their surreal origins; on songs like "Locusts," "Time Passes Slowly" and the title track, Dylan does the same in a much more accessible, relatable manner, bringing to life the rustic countryside he called home during this time. Those who criticize Dylan for being cold and unfeeling in his earlier works will be bowled over by the earnestness and humility present in love songs like "If Not for You" and "The Man in Me," both of which find Dylan singing the praises of then-wife Sara Lownds unabashedly. And while it doesn't possess the misanthropic edge of "Like a Rolling Stone," "Time Passes Slowly" will satisfy those jonesing for Dylan's bleaker side, as he ponders whether the life he has now will ultimately fleet away from him; Dylan's torn voice on this song adds to the track's palpable vulnerability, making it one of his most underrated gems.

In addition to the lighter side of his songwriting, "New Morning" also presents a huge step forward for Dylan as a vocalist. Since "Nashville Skyline," he had been experimenting with a smoother style of singing, albeit at the expense of the conviction that marked his best recordings in the early 1960s'. Realizing no one listens to him to hear traditionally good singing, Dylan developed a chesty, raspy but more technically sound style that managed to incorporate his signature gruffer sound without the whiny abrasiveness of his 1965 singing. His vocals on songs such as "One More Weekend" and the aforementioned "Time Passes Slowly" best exemplify this wonderful new approach, one he would keep improving upon until he finally hit his full stride as a singer in 1975.

"New Morning" isn't a life changing masterpiece, but it's a solid, strong record that signaled a new and exciting era for rock's most wily figure, where he'd soar to new heights artistically while building a whole new fanbase to offset those who left him when his muse didn't meet their expectations.



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3.4
great
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Comments:Add a Comment 
wham49
May 30th 2018


6341 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

nice review, I love me some Bob,

anyway, I think the 63-66 psych records were a phase and this writing was more of the norm for the better part of his career. Those records are legendary so people think that was all he did. this phase started at JWH, and then Nashville, he is just as good as the every man IMO, but he is still Dylan

Winesburgohio
Staff Reviewer
May 30th 2018


4048 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i read somewhere that this is Mark Hollis' favourite album, and lo and behold it is spectacular

Sunnyvale
Staff Reviewer
May 30th 2018


5975 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review! I've always liked this album a lot when in a particular mood, definitely more upbeat and sunny than most of Bob Dylan's more classic albums. A ton of underrated tunes here.



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