Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Review #2: Modern Times

Hello and welcome to the second review! This review will be on Bob Dylan's latest release, Modern Times. Now, I'm not the greatest Bob Dylan fan. I only have a few of his '60s output, nothing from the '70s or '80s. I do have Time Out Of Mind (1997) and "Love And Teft" (2001), so I figured I'd get this latest release. I just finished listening to it for the first time...So...read on!

Modern Times is a perfect title for this album. Bob Dylan seems to speak of today's events throughout the album. On cuts like The Levee's Gonna Break. His voice sounds just as good as it did on "Love and Theft" and his road band playing behind him play wonderful. Every note they play seems to reflect the relative blusey mood that Dylan lets leap from the images he creates. Workingman's Blues #2 is personally my favorite track. In it he describes how everything as gone wrong for a regular working man. My second favorite is the album's closer and longest track, Ain't Talkin' which proves ultimately to be depressing ("Ain't talkin'/Just walkin'" being the repeated line throughout the song) but sill manages to get the album of a good end.
The album only contains ten tracks, but each are almost novels. The record lasts just over an hour and some do seem to drag on, especially because the music does not vary much on the tracks. Spirit On The Water is one that sounds the same from beginning to end.
As to the albums packaging, the cover is a really nice photo of a taxi in motion. Cars moving at high speeds is very much a part of our 'Modern Times', so it was definitely a good choice. The back cover is a simple 'half-portrait' of Dylan, with the tracks listed sideways. It seems pretty empty, but on the vinyl sleeve, it looks really nice. There's no printed lyrics or interesting words from Dylan, which is expected. Time Out of Mind had nothing more than a list of who played on it and the tracks. "Love and Theft" just had a booklet of wordless pictures of Dylan roaming around in a waistcoat. The vinyl artwork is so much better than what is given in the CD. First, it is spread over two LPs, so the gatefold is what you see inside the CD sleeve. The LPs' dust jackets show some very nifty pictures and the jacket for the first LP has the cover picture without the type.
Overall, for first time listeners, you'll find it to be very depressing, compared to "Love and Theft", but for those that appreciate blues-and can understand at least half of what Dylan says-you will surely enjoy it.

ALBUM: ****

The next review will be on an old album, rather than a new one. It will be on the late George Harrison's avant-garde album, Electronic Sound.

No comments: