Saturday, June 11, 2011

You're invisible now; you got no secrets to conceal...

Bob Dylan

While Bob Dylan has been in the backdrop of my musical awareness for my entire life, but I've never taken time to deliberately give him a listen.  I've never been a huge fan of folksy/blues stuff -- my father is fond of blues, but a lot of the stuff I've heard him playing over the years are... er... not really my cup of tea.  (Sorry Dad!)

I was surprised, then, that I enjoyed this album so much.

Dylan's lyrics are fantastic.  He doesn't have the greatest singing voice in the world, but what he has to say is so interesting that it just pulls you in to listen.  He combines different instruments and musical elements to bring variety to his songs.  Though I do like the first few tracks backed by the band better than the solo acoustics, the entire album is very good.

I'm hard-pressed to pick a favorite here, but it's probably between "Tombstone Blues" and "Ballad of a Thin Man".  While "Tombstone Blues" is, at its heart, an absurdist illustration of the state of the country at the time... I like it just on face value alone.  It's got a catchy, fast pace and very solid guitar.

"Ballad of a Thin Man" is anchored by a somber, nearly funereal piano that lends gravity to the sneering sarcasm of the song.  This is the most musically complex track on the album, and the organ counterpart to the contributes to the mix in an interesting way -- it acts as a second voice backing up Dylan's as he mocks "Mr. Jones".

This is one album I had to borrow, but I'm thinking of buying it for my own collection.  A very good listen.  Next up is another from The Beatles -- Rubber Soul.