#181: Bringing It All Back Home, Bob Dylan
So. Bob Dylan. We meet again.
My last Dylan review was admittedly a little lacking, so we have much to discuss this time around.
First point: This is our fourth Dylan album on the list, out of the amazing eight that are included. (For my thoughts on how unjust this is, check out my review of Led Zeppelin II. But I digress.) Now, if you’re familiar with Mr. Dylan’s catalog, you may have heard of the controversy that surrounded his place in the folk music canon by him going electric. There’s a whole Wikipedia article about it.
Now, that controversy started in 1965 with this very album. And I did a little digging to figure out whether the electric move paid off. Turns out, out of the RS-worthy eight albums, only ONE of them is Dylan pre-electricity, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan from 1963, which is listed at a cool #255.
Now, that doesn’t make them automatically better. It just suggests that Bob Dylan won the Great Electric Debate.
Second point: While I was doing this research, I learned that Bob Dylan was CRAZY prolific, especially in the Sixties-Seventies. Wow, thirty-nine albums?? Take a break, Bob Dylan!
Third (unfortunate) point: As time goes on and I crawl through all these albums, it’s getting more and more difficult to ignore pending lawsuits against some of the recurring characters. Case in point: Bob Dylan is currently being sued by a woman who says that he abused her as a thirteen-year-old. That’s especially notable because this apparently occurred in 1965, the same year this album came out. Great, great, great.
Phew. Okay, that’s all the Dylan commentary I have for today. Apparently my uncle is mad at me for being a little flippant about Dylan in my prior reviews, so I had to put on my critical analysis cap.
Now let’s just listen to folk-rock, please.
“Love Minus Zero” — There’s no success like failure/And failure’s no success at all.
“Outlaw Blues” — Excellent, my two favorite things.
“Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream” — What funny and plain old weirdo lyrics! I told her I was the editor of a famous etiquette book. Haha, what?? It’s also so charming to hear him mess up on the first take.
“Mr. Tambourine Man” — In the jingle-jangle morning/I’ll come following you. On pretty much every Bob Dylan album, there’s one song that really, really moves me. This is the one here. Shout-out to the Byrd’s really cool version.
“Gates of Eden” — No kings or sins? Hey, this Eden place sounds pretty sweet.
“It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” — He not busy being born is busy dying.
LEAST FAVORITE SONGS:
“She Belongs to Me” — That lawsuit notwithstanding, I can’t support any song from the Sixties with a title like this.
“On the Road Again” — Nothing against this song, I just didn’t care about it.
“It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” — This is one I know I’m wrong about, because everyone agrees that it’s great. The RS blurb calls this “his finest, most affectionate song of dismissal.” Well, guess what? Sometimes Bob’s voice works for me, and sometimes it doesn’t.
IS RS FULL OF IT?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I don’t like Blonde on Blonde. Put this one up higher!