Tuesday, June 5, 2007

No. 4: Highway 61 Revisited

Band: Bob Dylan
Album: Highway 61 Revisited
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: It was the first electric Bob Dylan record. It shows Dylan at his best, wherein he's not trying to sing out of his range or try to make the song something it isn't. It's fun, which is something you don't say about man albums. If Dylan is a philosopher, this is his angry phase wherein he channels Luther. Again, it's Dylan, so the lyrics are referential, literate and awesome.
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: His voice is really awful. Some of the songs are a little long. It really is angry and that can be off-putting. If you sort through the layers of the record, Dylan sounds really fucking creepy.
Best song: They're all pretty good.
Worst song: I don't really love “Queen Jane Approximately.” “Desolation Row” goes on for too long.
Is it awesome?: Absolutely. I am not a big Dylan guy, but I adore this album.

I'm not a huge Dylan fan, as I think his voice is just plain awful. I'd love to someone more creative, musically, (as opposed to lyrically) do his whole catalog over, save for this album. “Like a Rolling Stone” is fantastic. “Ballad of a Thin Man” has inspired a great song (“Yer Blues”) and a terrible song (“Mr. Jones” by Counting Crowes), but remains one of the great “fuck you” songs ever. The title track is an awesome indictment of American values and the decline of civilization. Again, because Dylan is such a smart songwriter, the amount of words spilled over this record has to be the most ever. Everyone writes about it and will do so better than I. Check out the wikipedia entry.

Again, it's Dylan for people who like dark, angry records. Plus, his voice actually fits the record. It's really quite amazing.

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