T Nation

So, What's Up with Bob Dylan?

Is it because I’m not an American? Am I just too young? Regardless, he sounds terrible to me. About as awful as a duet of a guy shredding aluminium foil on a cheese grater, while another grinds iron nails on a blackboard. He’s only capable of singing ONE tune, and all the guitar parts in his songs are interchangeable and repetitive. Or is it just me?

So, can someone school me on why he’s so great? I mean, he’s undeniably a legend. But why?

(edited bit in bold)

I couldn’t agree more. I’m mystified by the whole thing, truly. His voice, yikes. And the “poetry,” it’s fine I suppose, but certainly doesn’t seem so epically deep and poignant he deserves to be lauded to the extent he has.

I do, however, adore Positively 4th Street. It’s so entirely nasty and embittered-sounding.

[i]I wish that for just one time
You could stand inside my shoes
And just for that one moment
I could be you

Yes, I wish that for just one time
You could stand inside my shoes
You’d know what a drag it is
To see you[/i]

Now that’s poetry.

For a lot of people he epitomized a feeling and a time. His work is poetical, and like all poetry, sometimes it sings to you, sometimes it doesn’t. I remember as a younger man, hearing
[i]
How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man? …

How many years can a mountain exist
Before it’s washed to the sea?
Yes, ‘n’ how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?
Yes, ‘n’ how many times can a man turn his head,
Pretending he just doesn’t see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.[/i]

http://www.bobdylan.com/songs/blowin.html

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin’.
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’.

http://www.bobdylan.com/songs/times.html

and these songs just hitting me at the right moment. I think it’s that way with a lot of people. His poetry hit them at a moment and time when they were feeling the same.

[quote]Gambit_Lost wrote:
I remember as a younger man, hearing
[i]
How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man? …

How many years can a mountain exist
Before it’s washed to the sea?
Yes, ‘n’ how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?
Yes, ‘n’ how many times can a man turn his head,
Pretending he just doesn’t see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.[/i]

[/quote]

Hmm, I hadn’t thought about that one. Blowin’ In the Wind IS nice, you’re right.

I’m not a Bob Dylan disciple, but I do like a few of his songs quite a bit. First heard em on the radio back in the seventies when I was kid and still like em. Here they be.

Lay Lady Lay

Like a Rolling Stone

It’s All Over Now Baby Blue (although I like Van Morrisons version better)

Just Like a Woman

Knockin on Heavens Door

D

Speaking of Positively 4th Street, a couple of years ago I was sitting in a coffee shop on 4th St across from the apartment where Dylan lived in Minneapolis near the U when this song started playing. It was a transcendent moment.

To the OP: You should watch the D. A. Pennebaker documentary, “Don’t Look Back.” There are some great live performances and jam sessions centering on his 1965 UK tour. “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue” is one of my favorites. This was the film that really turned me on to Dylan. It’s pretty funny to watch him mess with the media. Also, there is some great footage of Donovan and Joan Baez as well.

I am a big Dylan fan up until about “Blood on the Tracks,” 1975. He gets too heavily influenced by gospel music after that. His last two albums have been pretty good though his voice has really taken a beating.

His lyricism is absolutely unbelievable. His blending of sick rhymes with his depth of poetry along with perfect melody blows my mind. Yes, his voice is terrible, but if it wasn’t, his music would just be too good.

I like It Ain’t Me Babe.

He wouldn’t win American Idol, but his lyrics are pretty cool.

I don’t really get him. His voice doesn’t really bother me so much as his tone always seems to be melancholy and depressing, even though I enjoy depressing music.

[quote]LIFTICVSMAXIMVS wrote:

I am a big Dylan fan up until about “Blood on the Tracks,” 1975. He gets too heavily influenced by gospel music after that. His last two albums have been pretty good though his voice has really taken a beating.[/quote]

Blood on the tracks is my favorite Dylan, and oddly enough his voice is not nearly as nasally. But yeah, Dylan is a legend for his songwriting, not his singing.

I guess if you separate his voice, lyrics and music into individual categories for criticism, well, maybe you ain’t got much. But put 'em all together and you’ve got the balladeer of the beat generation.

Music is a personal taste, you like what you like.

[quote]Yo Momma wrote:

Music is a personal taste, you like what you like.[/quote]

That’s right. No use in arguing over personal tastes as regards the melody. There are no “SHOULDS”. On the other hand, sometimes it takes repeated listening to a particular genre before you start to attune to it and like it. For example, when punk first came out, I thought to myself, “WHAT THE HELL IS THAT?”. Of course, it wasn’t long before I started to “get it” and was out spending my money on the likes of “Siouxie and the Banshees”, “The Dead Kennedys” and, of course, “The Sex Pistols”, among many others.

However, I am wondering if and when the T-Nation Thermidorians will weigh in, attacking the progressive message of Dylan’s opus.

Personally, I think Dylan’s voice was awesome. He purposefully changed it so that he would sound more “down and out” while singing a folk tune, for example – a particular quality he found in his folk heroes. Listen to tunes like “Lay, Lady Lay” or “Stuck Inside of Mobile…” and you will hear a completely different voice.

He could change his voice for a particular mood and had one of the biggest range of styles of any singer. Take a singer like Chris Cornell who has an awesome vocal range and one would never a mistake who it is. Anyone who is unfamiliar with Dylan’s many different voice styles would be uncertain between one song and the next on any given album. His earlier work was more consistent as far as that goes.

[quote]G87 wrote:
Is it because I’m not an American? Am I just too young? Regardless, he sounds terrible to me. About as awful as a duet of a guy shredding aluminium foil on a cheese grater, while another grinds iron nails on a blackboard. He’s only capable of singing ONE tune, and all the guitar parts in his songs are interchangeable and repetitive. Or is it just me?

So, can someone school me on why he’s so great? I mean, he’s undeniably a legend. But why?

(edited bit in bold)[/quote]

Because his lyrics are amazing, he sang about stuff that mattered, muscially it was well put together and the melodies sounded good, and he had an intersting though not great voice.

Poetry

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

He was a different sound when he started. He wasn’t a pop singer and people liked that because back in the 60s there was a lot of crazy shit going on.

The country was split between pro and anti-war and alot of kids (college age) were lost and looking for something different…Think The Graduate and the “Plastics” scene. His songs are like folk songs and idk, for some reason I like them alot. His voice aint too good but thats not the point.

It reminds me of the people back before recordings that used to sing folk songs to pass on stories. It also reminds me of some of the oldest ever recordings because they were documentaries of folk songs. I guess thats why I like it…If you don’t like it thats fine but alot of people do and you probubly won’t get it and they probubly won’t be able to explain it to you.

Great songwriting - clever and erudite without being pretentious. A bit of a contrarian - went electric when he was told not to, and was labeled a “sellout” for doing so. Later, he dropped the folk stuff and went for a blues-rock outfit (his most recent sound and band).

I always liked how he wouldn’t do what hipsters always thought he should, and then after he carved out his own path against their wishes, the hipsters converted to liking him again.

His voice is so bad, it’s good in my view. I like the lack of polish.

What is notable is other musicians’ admiration for Dylan, from a number of genres.

Unlike most people, I like his voice, though, I am not that big of a fan of it now. He is an amazing lyricist and his music works well with the songs. My favorite albums are “Highway 61 Revisited,” “Blonde on Blonde,” and “Blood on the Tracks.” My favorite songs are “Just Like a Woman,” “Desolation Row,” “Tangled Up in Blue,” “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,”…I could name a lot more. I would rank him in my top ten.

Are you kidding?

Hurricane???
Girl from North Country??
Masters of War??
John Motherfucking Brown!!!

LISTEN to the lyrics!!!

And just for fun download Talkin’ Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre. Greatest song EVER

Granted, his voice has gone to shit, but hes still a legend