Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Album Of The Day #92: BLONDE ON BLONDE - Bob Dylan

Title: Blonde On Blonde
Artist: Bob Dylan
Label: Columbia
Released: 1966
Songs: Rainy Day Women #12 & 35/Pledging My Time/Visions Of Johanna/One Of Us Must Know (Sooner Or Later)/I Want You/Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again/Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat/Just Like A Woman/Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I’ll Go Mine)/Temporary Like Achilles/Absolutely Sweet Marie/4th Time Around/Obviously 5 Believers/Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands
Written by: Bob Dylan
Produced by: Bob Johnston
Thoughts: Well, if Highway 61 Revisited is The Empire Strikes Back, then Blonde On Blonde is Return Of The Jedi, except instead of giving the Ewoks food, Leia gave them cocaine, LSD and marijuana. Return Of The Jedi is a pretty good movie, but in no way does it stand up to the majesty of what preceded it. Blonde On Blonde is a great album, but it can’t stand up to the greatness of Highway 61 Revisited. It is kind of silly to say that, because it sounds like I am diminishing Blonde On Blonde, which isn’t true. I love this album. It has this kind of sweeping feeling, but that’s because it tries to cover so much in a span of seventy-three minutes.
Now, if Bob wanted to confine himself to the confines of a fifty minute album, I’m sure a lot of these songs would never have seen the light of day, and we probably would have not missed them. Of the six songs on the second half, I would have axed “Temporary Like Achilles”, “4th Time Around” and “Obviously 5 Believers”. They just don’t really do anything for me and slow the album down to the eventual unveiling of Dylan’s last eleven minute monster for ten years.
The first half of the album is pretty much a perfect record. I love “I Want You”, which is unfortunately forgotten on this album frequently. It was the second single and is just another one that gets the ‘one of my favorite Dylan songs’ tag. (Also, it has only been issued on just two Dylan compilations, Greatest Hits in 1966 and Biograph in 1985. In fact, it wasn’t even included on the expanded DYLAN in 2007; all this, despite it reaching #20 on the charts. For any other artist, surely, that’s a hit, I presume.) The track also had a great picture sleeve.
Also, what’s up with all the adverbs? “Just Like A Woman”… “Most Likely You Go Your Way”… “Temporary Like Achilles” … “Obviously 5 Believers”…? This even extends to “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues”, “Queen Jane Approximately”, “Like A Rolling Stone” and “Positively Fourth Street”! Obviously, Dylan had a curiously strange way of using the English language.

All that aside, Blonde On Blonde is certainly a ground breaking album, one that most certainly changed the musical landscape.

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