Tuesday, November 13, 2012

#115: Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisted (1965)

I've gotten to the point in Dylan's catalogue that instead of writing some lengthy first paragraph, it's better to say: It's a Bob Dylan album. Buckle up. It's gonna be good.

It Takes a Lot to Laugh, it Takes a Train to Cry
It's a blues number with the piano panned in an interesting manner. The right hand is on the left channel and the left hand is on the right channel. The drums are nice and simple which allows the harmonica to scream over the top. It does a wonderful job of being simple but it's never boring. The melody is sweet, the lyrics are (of course) top notched and the cherry is the steel guitar very gently on top.

Ballad of a Thin Man
This is what I'm looking for. It grabbed me from the beginning  it has a very eerie organ which creates a very unstable atmosphere. I love the piano which does a little punch over and over to drive the song and then Dylan comes in and makes it absolutely incredible. No one can accurately state just how amazing his lyric writing is, and it's even more amazing when you can write melodies such as this. Pointed at Dylan's particular sound and voice (which not everyone is a fan of), this track could absolutely be covered and be phenomenal as well, but I think it's Dylan's sound that really makes the track. I never see his voice as a detriment and I think those that see it as one, just haven't listened to him enough. It's not only the best track on the album, it's my favorite Dylan song so far.

Highway 61 Revisited
It's a mix of several genres, old school rock and roll, blues, and folk. I sound like a broken record but it's just amazing to me that he can be so solid track and and track out. I really enjoyed the keyboards on this track, they're not overly looking for attention but it's the details that makes Dylan's work so impressive. Every instrument is well written and is each part ensures that it fits with the overall picture.

All in all, I really enjoyed it. Dylan gets away from his folk roots and reveals a whole other side of himself. Musically, it's stronger than his other albums just due to more instrumentation. However, on this album Dylan really digs into the blues, but it's the mix of the blues and his lyrical genius that really pushes this album to be something very, very special. I wanted to like the album more than I did, but there's no doubting it's historical significance. While music may have change since this record's inception it will forever be a giant cog in the evolution of pop music.

Tomorrow's album: Gavin DeGraw's Chariot.

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