Sunday, October 26, 2008

Album Of the Day #96: BLOOD ON THE TRACKS - Bob Dylan

Title: Blood On The Tracks
Artist: Bob Dylan
Label: Columbia
Released: 1975
Songs: Tangled Up In Blue/Simple Twist Of Fate/You’re A Big Girl Now/Idiot Wind/You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go/Meet Me In The Morning/Lily, Rosemary And The Jack Of Hearts/If You See Her, Say Hello/Shelter From The Storm/Buckets Of Rain
Written by: Bob Dylan
(There is no production credit.)
So many people have called this album perfect, which it practically is, that it truly is almost a crime if you haven’t heard this album.
To me, the reason it strikes such a chord, even today, thirty-three years after its’ release, is that every song is so powerful. I think it also reveals that Dylan is a human being, just like the rest of us. Heartbreak hurts a person and it certainly hurt Dylan in a way that it has hit no other artist. Dylan’s love for Sara Lownds was truly a unique story in the world of music and Dylan took two records to show how hurt he was by the separation. Whether this really is the reason for these songs feeling so personal, I don’t really know, nor can I truly judge (after all, I did admit to being no Dylan expert). I can still say that the songs are incredible.
I love the opening of “Tangled Up In Blue”. I could spend this whole entry on talking about it. It just feels like the sun coming up and we go into this driving mode, stuck in this world of a lover and his love reuniting.
Those who have been reading my writings for awhile might notice that I really enjoy talking about songs that no one else does and there are a lot of songs here that are underrated. Everyone loves going ‘ga ga’ over the biting “Idiot Wind”, the long, winding (and quite funny) “Lily, Rosemary And The Jack Of Hearts” and “Shelter From The Storm”.
I think the best songs on here are the short ones where he is talking directly to the listener. There are a trio of songs here with the word ‘you’ in it: “You’re A Big Girl Now”, “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go” and “If You See Her, Say Hello”. I think the guitar playing on “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go” is great and probably the best on the album. You can feel him swaying back and forth on a stool, as he picks his guitar, especially during the bridge:

Yer gonna make me wonder what I'm doin',
Stayin' far behind without you.
Yer gonna make me wonder what I'm sayin',
Yer gonna make me give myself a good talkin' to.

I guess this brings us to another example of why this album is so revered. Dylan sings these songs with such emotion and the after mentioned power that provides a certain punch. Dylan really feels these lyrics that he sings and he takes us on a journey with no bars held back. This is sort of like his John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. He lays all his emotions out for us to see, yet the witty metaphors and similes still remain. Where John Lennon left his songs naked, Dylan gave them clothes, but these clothes are revealing enough that they don’t hide any emotion. They just make them more enjoyable.

My review of Desire can be found here. Tomorrow will feature Street Legal.

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