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PostPosted: Sun July 8th, 2012, 17:55 GMT 
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I've always found myself drawn to other people's comments on & descriptions of music (and books, and movies, etc.). Unfortunately, I've also found that some 95% of commentary about an artwork I appreciate is bound to leave me cold: either I think it completely off-base, or just irrelevant to what I personally find compelling about the piece in question.

Yet I find that I'm still always looking for the 5% that's actually insightful, or that puts into good words or a striking image an idea that had theretofore only been hovering vaguely in my mind. Apparently that 5% is worth it, because I keep dedicating time & energy to flipping through books, or reading online reviews, or browsing through fora like this 'un here. Stumbling on one of those rare gems really is quite satisfying. Very rarely are they all-encompassing, like, "this is exactly what this album means to me!", but they can illuminate one side of something, or one part/progression of a whole, and that's good enough for me.

If you get my drift, do you have any favorites you could share? I'm particularly interested in commentary about albums proper, not just songs or live performances or larger arcs in Bob's career (but whatever, those are cool too). I'd also appreciate it if things could be kept positive; I'm always more eager to learn about why something is good, as opposed to why it sucks.

I'll start off with this excerpt from an Amazon review for Street-Legal, courtesy of one Joseph L. Shipman:

Quote:
Musically and lyrically, it is his most complex and in some ways his best work. The three long songs, "Changing of the Guards", "No Time to Think", and "Where Are You Tonight (Journey Through Dark Heat)" have the richness of imagery of Dylan's best albums from the 60's ("Highway 61 Revisited", "Blonde on Blonde"), the emotional power of "Blood on the Tracks", the spiritual awareness (though implicit rather than explicit) of "Slow Train Coming", and a degree of formal poetic unity and discipline greater than any of them.


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PostPosted: Sun July 8th, 2012, 17:57 GMT 
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Self edited to give my good man's thread a chance for a positive start.

Begin.


Last edited by jimb727 on Sun July 8th, 2012, 18:12 GMT, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun July 8th, 2012, 18:10 GMT 
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Memorable, certainly.

Here's another, short but sweet, from RYM user "shangoyal", about John Wesley Harding:

Quote:
This is as close to balm as music gets. This is Ayurveda. This is for tired feet and broken heart and dizzy heads to enter and immerse themselves in. God bless Bob Dylan.


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PostPosted: Mon July 9th, 2012, 04:02 GMT 
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Location: The mystic garden, outside the chelsea hotel, near Montague Street...
"That thin wild mercury sound"


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PostPosted: Mon July 9th, 2012, 07:43 GMT 
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Greil Marcus's review of Self-Portrait is very good, especially the last bit:

We all play the auteur game: We went out and bought Self Portrait not because we knew it was great music - it might have been but that's not the first question we'd ask - but because it was a Dylan album. What we want, though, is a different matter - and that's what separates most people from auteurists - we want great music, and because of those three albums back in '65 and '66, we expect it, or hope for it.

I wouldn't be dwelling on this but for my suspicion that it is exactly a perception of this approach that is the justification for the release of Self Portrait, to the degree that it is justified artistically (the commercial justification is something else - self-justification). The auteur approach allows the great artist to limit his ambition, perhaps even to abandon it, and turn inward. To be crude, it begins to seem as if it is his habits that matter, rather than his vision. If we approach art in this fashion, we degrade it. Take that second song on John Wesley Harding, "As I Went Out One Morning," and two ways of hearing it.

A. J. Weberman has determined a fixed meaning for the song: it relates to a dinner given years ago by the Emergency Civil Liberties Committee at which they awarded Bob Dylan their Thomas Paine prize. Dylan showed up, said a few words about how it was possible to understand how Lee Harvey Oswald felt, and got booed. "As I Went Out One Morning," according to Weberman, is Dylan's way of saying he didn't dig getting booed.

I sometimes hear the song as a brief journey into American history. The singer goes out for a walk in the park, finds himself next to a statue of Tom Paine, and stumbles across an allegory: Tom Paine, symbol of freedom and revolt, co-opted into the role of Patriot by textbooks and statue committees, and now playing, as befits his role as Patriot, enforcer to a girl who runs for freedom - in chains, to the South, the source of vitality in America, in America's music - away from Tom Paine. We have turned our history on its head; we have perverted our own myths.

Now it would be astonishing if what I've just described was on Dylan's mind when he wrote the song. That's not the point. The point is that Dylan's songs can serve as metaphors, enriching our lives, giving us random insight into the myths we carry and the present we live, intensifying what we've known and leading us toward what we never looked for, while at the same time enforcing an emotional strength upon those perceptions by the power of the music that moves with his words. Weberman's way of hearing, or rather seeing, is more logical, more linear, and perhaps even correct, but it's sterile. Mine is not an answer but a possibility, and I think Dylan's music is about possibilities, rather than facts, like a statue that is not an expenditure of city funds but a gateway to a vision.

If we are to be satisfied with Self Portrait we may have to see it in the sterile terms of the auteur, which in our language would be translated as "Hey, far out, Dylan singing Simon and Garfunkel, Rodgers and Hart, and Gordon Lightfoot . . ." Well, it is far out, in a sad sort of way, but it is also vapid, and if our own untaught perception of the auteur allows us to be satisfied with it, we degrade our own sensibilities and Dylan's capabilities as an American artist as well. Dylan did not become a figure whose every movement carries the force of myth by presenting desultory images of his own career as if that was the only movie that mattered - he did it by taking on the world, by assault, and by seduction.

In an attack on the auteur approach, as it relates to film, Louise Brooks quotes Goethe, and the words she cites reveal the problem: "The novel (the film) (the song) is a subjective epic composition in which the author begs leave to treat the world according to his own point of view. It is only a question, therefore, whether he has a point of view. The rest will take care of itself."


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PostPosted: Mon July 9th, 2012, 08:00 GMT 
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Location: ..right behind the living - just in front of the dead.
^ - i like ALL of Self-Portrait. .. 8)
- - i like SOME of Greil Marcus.
- - i like Self-Portrait MORE than Greil Marcus.
== i think Self-Portrait is more Self-Portrait
.....than Greil Marcus is Bob-Portrait .. :arrow:
---- tho' Greil Marcus is more Self-Portent
.....than Self-Portrait is 'What is this s
hit.'

- Half of the Portrait can be part right all of the time
- Some of the Portrait can be all right part of the time
.. But all of the Portent can’t be all right all of the time
... I think Abraham Lincoln said that
- “I’ll let you be in my post if I can be in yours”
... I said that ...............
.. 8)


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PostPosted: Mon July 9th, 2012, 09:21 GMT 
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Most recently, Nakkinak's comment about Blonde on Blonde on Last.fm:
Quote:
I really don't know how he did this. It's like he painted with his soul.

I'm so gonna steal that. :mrgreen:


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PostPosted: Mon July 9th, 2012, 23:40 GMT 

Joined: Sun November 7th, 2004, 18:31 GMT
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Not sure who said it, but someone once said that Blonde on Blonde sounds like 3 AM. That's about right to me


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PostPosted: Tue July 10th, 2012, 16:27 GMT 

Joined: Thu September 29th, 2011, 16:21 GMT
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toilandblood546 wrote:
Not sure who said it, but someone once said that Blonde on Blonde sounds like 3 AM. That's about right to me


al kooper and it might have been 4 am


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PostPosted: Tue July 10th, 2012, 16:56 GMT 
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I agree on the 3 am or 4 am, because just yesterday I was up, and couldn't get to sleep. I put Blonde on Blonde vinyl on the record player and i've listened to this album so many times, at least more than a hundred. And it was one of the best times i've ever listened to it. "that thin wild mercury sound" was just the perfect description. I played Sad Eyed Lady about 5 times in a row. What a masterpiece. Best album ever. I don't words just can't describe my love for Bob Dylan and his music.


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PostPosted: Tue July 10th, 2012, 17:16 GMT 
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elmer wrote:
toilandblood546 wrote:
Not sure who said it, but someone once said that Blonde on Blonde sounds like 3 AM. That's about right to me


al kooper and it might have been 4 am


Well, many of the songs are recorded around 1am-5am! There is a great chapter in Bob Dylan in America by Sean Wilentz about just Blonde on Blonde.


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PostPosted: Tue July 10th, 2012, 17:25 GMT 

Joined: Tue September 28th, 2010, 13:34 GMT
Posts: 2488
Grumpy-the-Buick wrote:
^ - i like ALL of Self-Portrait. .. 8)
- - i like SOME of Greil Marcus.
- - i like Self-Portrait MORE than Greil Marcus.
== i think Self-Portrait is more Self-Portrait
.....than Greil Marcus is Bob-Portrait .. :arrow:
---- tho' Greil Marcus is more Self-Portent
.....than Self-Portrait is 'What is this s
hit.'

- Half of the Portrait can be part right all of the time
- Some of the Portrait can be all right part of the time
.. But all of the Portent can’t be all right all of the time
... I think Abraham Lincoln said that
- “I’ll let you be in my post if I can be in yours”
... I said that ...............
.. 8)



It sounds like I wrote that? Oh no sorry I said that about Tom Hanks. Imagining he was writing songs. Tom Hanks can't be right all of the time but he can be right half the time
Some of Tom Hanks songs are really good.
Oh sorry he didn't write them yet...
ah well, they will be great once he gets to it...

First my brain was thinking it
then my fingers wrote it.
I hope you like it
I said that.


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PostPosted: Tue July 10th, 2012, 18:12 GMT 
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Location: Davos Platz, The Magic Mountain
Giada wrote:
Greil Marcus's review of Self-Portrait is very good, especially the last bit:

[i]We all play the auteur game: We went out and bought Self Portrait not because we knew it was great music - it might have been but that's not the first question we'd ask - but because it was a Dylan album. What we want, though, is a different matter - and that's what separates most people from auteurists - we want great music, and because of those three albums back in '65 and '66, we expect it, or hope for it.

Every time the Self Portrait review is brought up it shows, yet again, that Greil Marcus "didn't get" Self Portrait then, and he certainly doesn't get it now. Let's face it, he never will get it.

I, for one, am tired, oh so very, very tired, of reading one idiot boneheaded critic flail around trying, and failing, horribly, to come up with something interesting.

Furthermore, I blame Marcus for the degrading of music criticism, when it became more about saying something cute and snarky, rather than something intelligent.

Move along, people. Nothing to see here.

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PostPosted: Sat July 14th, 2012, 15:20 GMT 
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Quote:
John Wesley Harding is like coming upon an abandoned farmhouse, where next to the rusted shotgun, you find a golden sword in a pool of fire.


Quoth Rennie Sparks.


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PostPosted: Sun July 15th, 2012, 16:30 GMT 

Joined: Mon June 15th, 2009, 02:35 GMT
Posts: 819
To listen to Dylan is to get a sense of deep places in the psyche being briefly lifted to the surface and lived, before slipping away without explanation. The experience on the whole is cathartic rather than disturbing.

I believe I said that.


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PostPosted: Mon July 16th, 2012, 13:42 GMT 
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Grumpy-the-Buick wrote:
^ - i like ALL of Self-Portrait. .. 8)
- - i like SOME of Greil Marcus.
- - i like Self-Portrait MORE than Greil Marcus.
== i think Self-Portrait is more Self-Portrait
.....than Greil Marcus is Bob-Portrait .. :arrow:
---- tho' Greil Marcus is more Self-Portent
.....than Self-Portrait is 'What is this s
hit.'

- Half of the Portrait can be part right all of the time
- Some of the Portrait can be all right part of the time
.. But all of the Portent can’t be all right all of the time
... I think Abraham Lincoln said that
- “I’ll let you be in my post if I can be in yours”
... I said that ...............
.. 8)

I rather liked that.... ok, now you are part of my post :D


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PostPosted: Tue July 24th, 2012, 00:20 GMT 
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Self-Portrait is as crucial and important a record as Blonde On Blonde. The latter built the house, and the former knocked it down. And New Morning was, well…a new morning. Those with discerning taste know all too well the difference between “good-bad” and “bad-bad.”--Dave Gebroe


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