Modern Timesby Bob Dylan
The length of time that transpires between Bob Dylan releases these days -- it's been five years since Love and Theft, which itself broke a four-year drought -- makes it seem as if the rock legend has come down from the mountaintop with each armful of new songs. This time around, the epic, foreboding material he's crafted backs up that image, with every incisive phrase and every heavy-hanging note underscoring the spiritual, questing vibe. Modern Times isn't exactly a religious album -- not in the standard sense -- but it does carry a stark, apocalyptic tone that can be terrifying (as on the stealthily picked "Ain't Talkin," with its imagery of life as a skein of unending suffering) or vivifying (as on "Beyond the Horizon," where he sets his sights on the afterlife that follows said anguish). More than he has in ages, Dylan builds his tales around classic blues structures, tweaking the 12-bar form ever so subtly on the steely-eyed revenge paean "Someday Baby" and reworking the Muddy Waters classic "Rollin' and Tumblin' " (which he's retrofitted with new lyrics) into a cautionary tale of impending doom. As befits its title, Modern Times is also shot through with Dylan's take on the world around him. Although he's not nearly as direct here as he was in his protest song days, there's no mistaking the passion -- or position -- of songs like "Workingman's Blues #2" (a class-conscious rallying cry that carries traces of Before the Flood in its DNA) and the New Orleans-directed "The Levee's Gonna Break." Unlike its immediate predecessor, Modern Times isn't a particularly aggressive album. At times, in fact, it verges on the parched. But not depleted: Instead, with this steely-eyed disc, Dylan sounds like a man who intends to fight on -- intent on winning every battle.
- Release Date:
Performance CreditsBob Dylan Primary Artist,Guitar,Harmonica,Piano,Vocals
Denny Freeman Guitar
Tony Garnier Bass,Cello,Acoustic Bass
Stuart Kimball Guitar
Donnie Herron Mandolin,Violin,Steel Guitar,Viola
George G. Receli Percussion,Drums
Technical CreditsBob Dylan Composer
Christopher Shaw Engineer
Geoff Gans Art Direction
Jack Frost Producer,Audio Production
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I think this is better than Time Out of Mind and more consistent than Love and Theft. The band is tight and there is a nice, consistent groove to the proceedings, something that neither of the other two albums possessed. None of the songs seem to merit all-time Dylan status, despite all the hoopla at the time. Love and Theft had High Water Everywhere, the best Dylan number in ages. Late period Bob fans should not miss Tell Tale Signs from the Bootleg Series. It might be better than any of the regular releases. 3 1/2 stars
This will be nominated for album of the year! Bob carries on with the rootsy sounds of Love and Theft and Time out of Mind. The track everyone will be talking about is the closing track- "Ain't Talkin"
Tracks 01 & 03 ((super)).The rest of the album ,though mostly slower stuff has a flow to it.
A great album. Not as all-out great as "Love and Theft," but a wonderful CD nonetheless. Bob's crooning, quasi-Hawaiian songs here are top-notch.
Bob Dylan's Modern Times is a marvelous album. Each tune tells a story that invites you to listen. Dylan has a unique talent of relating particular topics that we all assume are to be passed by in our busy schedules. Dylan wants us to take a load off and just get comfortable, but his message grabs you by the first beat and the first words of each tune.Dylan states that he wasn't pleased after hearing the finished tracks for Modern Times. He doesn't think that there hasn't been any really great music produced in years. Well how can he explain Modern Times being the #1 album in its first week ? What really is astonishing is that there is almost no radio station playing Modern Times. Dylan will always be the one who is never satisfied with what he has accomplished. He is on a quest so it seems. He wants us all along to share in the treasures he uncovers. For a talent such as Bob Dylan to think he could have done better speaks volumes. There aren't many masters who don't believe in their masterpieces. Bob Dylan well done, bravo. Do not ever stop being who you are. Happy trails to you.Thanks for taking us along.
This album has some interesting music, and one good lyric (Ain't Talkin') other than that it is pure tapioca, and not really worth a second listen. Dylan is saying that he really has nothing to say. I have been a Dylan fan for 35 years.
Of the latter day "renaissance trilogy" this one seems better, even, than both Love & Theft and Time Out of Mind. The blues covers rock, the singing is subtle and expressive. Dylan has fun with the lyrics, his sense of humor is refreshing on this cd. The enigmatic trickster may not be writing overtly political lyrics like the (excellent) new Neil Young cd, but this music seems to me satisfying and appropriate listening in these times of doom.
Dylan has always been changing. From the early ruckus going electric at The Folk Festival to different words and tempos during live concerts to even foregoing playing his guitar "for standup electric piano during a Philadelphia concert three years ago", one must be ready for anything. The early charge of energy in the beginning of "Thunder on the Mountain" on this collection, really is a preview to a much more laid back, conversational style which harkens to a simpler era. The band and the sound of this album is much less lush with only bassist Tony Garnier returning from the personnel from the early 90's. No strong resonances on his vocal sound and the absence of the numerous sideman and instruments of, for example, "Time Out of Mind", makes this work stand out. It took me to a place which oddly matches that night cover picture of a NYC taxi. Walking through the Village of old, with clubs and sounds emitting from them that were personal and directed to small groups of attentive fans. If these album sounds were heard in such a bygone time, for sure, one must stop by and groove to the sounds of "Rollin' and Tumblin'", that old standby. Am I the only one to detect that this Dylan album moves us to a simpler time before mortgage and credit meltdowns, obese, computer-obsessed, exercise-phobic children and avaricious adults began eating away our American soul?