Expecting Rain

Go to main page
It is currently Mon June 17th, 2019, 03:35 GMT

All times are UTC




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 133 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Tue December 29th, 2009, 14:36 GMT 

Joined: Mon September 10th, 2007, 17:11 GMT
Posts: 1379
This is the way I look at it, sphinx: I would rather those songs on L&T and MT exist rather than not exist.

If everything from Rollin and Tumblin was copied *except* for the solo, would that yield a more pleasurable listening experience for you? What if he "properly" credited everyone on the album sleeve? Then would these songs be better?


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue December 29th, 2009, 14:46 GMT 
Promethium Member
User avatar

Joined: Sat October 27th, 2007, 12:44 GMT
Posts: 18023
Location: Workin' as a postal clerk
sphinx wrote:

Look, it's just a simple a fact that a number of songs on L&T were lifted note-for-note from other songs, with zero variation on their sources...
What I'd most like to know about the Dylan apologists on this site is why they insist on wasting everyone's time by turning a blind eye to reality when it fairly stabs them in the x face.


Someday Baby on TTS shows just how easy it is for decent musicians to come up with other formats...personally, I prefer the bluesy cut as released on MT--but I guess I'm just an apologist.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue December 29th, 2009, 15:38 GMT 

Joined: Wed April 22nd, 2009, 03:33 GMT
Posts: 554
Even if the "anything is better than nothing" argument seemed substantive to me, I'm afraid you're barking up the wrong tree by weaving MT into your examples when addressing me; I dislike the record so much that I can say with confidence I consider it one of Dylan's worst. Would its blues pastiche be more interesting if Rolling and Tumbling featured a different solo? I daresay no, because I can't imagine any change that would make Dylan's iteration of the song worthwhile.

The problem with MT at its core is not that it's derivative to a fault (although it certainly is; would anybody really miss the odd-numbered tracks if they disappeared without a trace tomorrow?), but rather that it's a fussy collection of songs that impart next to nothing. It's an underachieving little brother to L&T; the two are superficially similar, but MT has none of the colour and spark of that record. Its references to Bertha Mason, Big Joe Turner, Othello, Desdemona, the Italian and the Jew felt spontaneous and quintessentially Dylanesque, whereas the stingy references to the likes of Alicia Keys on MT felt awkward and a little less than original. One can almost see Dylan consciously attempting to replicate the successful formula that resulted in his previous album. When I listen to L&T it's like I'm enjoying a rollicking Punch and Judy show; when I listen to MT all I can seem to focus on are the puppeteers.

If you honestly feel that MT is a capital-G Great album, I'd love to hear your take on literally any record released by the likes of Lyle Lovett or John Hiatt, et al., over the last ten years. If all you're looking for are solidly structured songs played well by competent musicians, I have about one thousand recommendations for you off the top of my head. They're fun for the whole fam, I assure you.

Like I said, L&T is a much different story. Its attempts at regurgitation and synthesis are far more successful, mostly because the songs aren't grandfatherly "exercises" that suck out loud, but still - the question I'm actually interested in is whether the ends justify the means with regard to Dylan's theft. I don't see how they can. Furthermore, the songs that feature stolen music on L&T are mostly minor affairs (Tweedles and Summer Days seem to be reviled by some on this forum, although I'm quite fond of the latter) and certainly don't rank with the likes of Mississippi and High Water; this suggests at the very least that Dylan would have been better served devoting more time to original compositions rather than attempting to pass off the songs of Gene Austin and Big Joe Turner as his own. (And please, please refrain from making a "pithy observation" about how the name of the record is worth more than any songwriting credit could hope to be. I'm not stupid, you're not stupid, so please don't do it.)

The myth of Dylan's '00s renaissance has been allowed to flourish for a number of reasons, but the sleight of hand designed to keep folks from addressing his increasingly shameless sourcing is arguably the single most important culprit that needs to be addressed. It's truly gotten to a point where we can make our own Dylan record with a minimal amount of effort.

Step 1: take any song by an American musical legend who has been dead for at least 20 years and use it as your template. Some artists you might wish to consider: Otis Redding, B.B. King, Sam Cooke.

Step 2: imagine the song you chose as played by the core of Dylan's touring band. Don't get carried away and start imagining things like personal touches or creative solos, because that simply will not do. Ahh! There's that predictable shuffle!

Step 3: pick up a nearby magazine and comb through it, looking for phrases that feel "authentically Dylanesque." Anything that references the South, gothic Americana or birds will do just fine. Cut them out and put them into a hat. Pull them out and arrange them one after another. Congratulations, you've written your first verse!

Step 4: you need to be listening to or thinking about a musician. Billy Joe Shaver, Neil Young and Alicia Keys have already been done, but I'm sure you can come up with a few more on your own. You should also include a line about an author your reading. James Joyce has been done (so has Erica Jong), so maybe Henry Miller suits your fancy.

And so on.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue December 29th, 2009, 15:49 GMT 

Joined: Mon September 10th, 2007, 17:11 GMT
Posts: 1379
sphinx wrote:
It's truly gotten to a point where we can make our own Dylan record with a minimal amount of effort.


I say this with all honesty:

So do it.

Rewrite ten old songs and record them and share them with us, because I'd be very interested to see if it has the same effect on me that Modern Times did.

Modern Times is an album, not just a collection of songs, and the entire vision of the project can't be broken down easily. Sure, there are musicians playing competently but that's only part of it. Yes, it is a very careful album, all the way down to each vocal line. He obviously spent a lot of time honing the sound and that's mostly what makes it differ from L&T. It's like an orchestrated rock band, which may sound on paper like a terrible idea, but in execution these songs are played so carefully and lovingly that it can't help but charm me.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue December 29th, 2009, 16:15 GMT 

Joined: Wed July 30th, 2008, 01:43 GMT
Posts: 735
Location: on the scene missing
I think Sphinx is essentially correct - and one reason Dylan's thefts bother me is because of the times Dylan's people have rounded on other artists for plagiarism. However, I think that it's not always clear cut, and there are instances where Dylan uses other people's texts in a way that is clearly not part of the folk process but seems to me acceptable -
On John Wesley Harding he clearly uses the Tanakh/Old Testament - on youtube you can see Seth Rogovoy demonstrate that Dylan utilises Leviticus about as directly as he later uses Timrod and Confessions of a Yakuza. Now obviously Leviticus is public domain - and there's an interesting side issue with regards to the idea of the omniscient Author if we consider that Moses is regarded as the single divinely inspired author of Leviticus - is this similar to the way we regard Dylan as the single divinely inspired author of Blind Willie McTell? It's possible though that Dylan used the Hebrew Bible in much the same way as he may have later used Timrod - he was short of inspiration, and here's a heap of words to recast. But there's a palpable sense of purpose here : John Wesley Harding doesn't seem like plagiarism because the Bible is such rich source material for so many artists, and there seems to be nothing sneaky about using it - Dylan is openly trying to write a Biblical Rock Album.
In Empire Burlesque almost entire songs seem to have been composed using lines from Humphrey Bogart films. I find this quite a charming thing to have done, and the gap between a Dylan song and a Humphrey Bogart film is so great that this doesn't seem to be exactly plagiarism to me. However, it does seem to me to be the actions of someone who is finding it hard to come up with songs. But maybe he just wanted to try something different. He could apparently come up with Dark Eyes on the spur of the moment.
However, as Sphinx points out "synthesizing lines from a popular travel guide and passing them off as remembrances in a book that was marketed as a memoir" is fairly obviously an act of deception. It is worth pointing out that the author of Confessions of a Yakuza didn't mind Dylan using his lines for his songs, though he'd have appreciated some acknowledgment. But would he have objected if Dylan had incorporated those lines into a novel?
I don't like the way Dylan uses other texts on "Love and Theft" and Ain't Talkin' - but I do love the songs.
Oh, and just quickly - Dylan does do a lot more than just reference Neil Young and Erica Jong in Highlands - he does the turn up the sound joke - and Erica Jong is a brilliant choice to round off the fantastic conversation between the narrator and the waitress. The use of Young and Jong is one of the very many very good things in Highlands.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue December 29th, 2009, 16:51 GMT 
Promethium Member
User avatar

Joined: Fri June 27th, 2008, 20:28 GMT
Posts: 17309
Location: Maybe it isn't a tour, maybe he's just lost.
sphinx wrote:
It seems rather disingenuous to suggest that Dylan could accidentally have incorporated entire phrases and sentences from sources like Confessions of a Yakuza and that Frommer's Guide (or whatever it was) into a work like L&T or Chronicles, given the frequency with which they occur. Similarly, ripping off old songs by the likes of Johnny and Jack, note-for-note, part-for-part, right down to the bloody solo, seems appreciably different to patterning a new original song's chord progression after an existing one. The folk process is vital and real, but I'm afraid it's too often invoked as a kind of excuse, or apology, for Dylan's recent outright and quite inexcusable theft.

I mostly agree with the things LJ has said in this discussion, but I take exception to what appears to be his somewhat flippant stance regarding copyright law. As a working artist who has been burned by thieves in the past, I have a personal stake in ensuring that certain restrictions are upheld in order to protect those with a vested interest in a given intellectual property. Is it acceptable for Dylan to plagiarize significant portions of an in-print novel written by a man who is alive and owns the text in question? How about synthesizing lines from a popular travel guide and passing them off as remembrances in a book that was marketed as a memoir? It should go without saying that this type of scenario is significantly different from making obvious references to canonical blues lines originally written by Robert Johnson, Blind Willie MacTell and their contemporaries.

This is not a wise old grandfather passing pearls of accumulated wisdom on to the next generation; this is an old man bereft of new ideas who is opening his mouth and saying things due only to force of habit.


First, I never said Dylan appropriates by accident. What we were talking about is a tradition of appropriation that existed BEFORE the rise of the romantic notion of "the author" as "creative genius."

In other words, there were songs, etc., long before anybody really cared WHO came up with them because the importance of the INDIVIDUAL was understood differently.

Second, regarding copyright, again, we're talking about the historical evolution of the IDEA of copyright. The idea that it's possible to "own" an idea. In that history, and in my opinion, Thomas Jefferson had the most balanced understanding of it. An idea is fundamentally different from an object. If you make a chair, it's your chair. You can leave it to your children and they can leave it to theirs ad infinitum. Jefferson, and others, differentiate between physical property and intellectual property in a manner that recognizes that all ideas come out of a cultural stream, owing their existence to countless earlier variations, permutations, etc.

Jefferson believed that someone should be able to profit from their ideas for a reasonable (i.e., relatively short) period of time, after which the idea goes back into the stream (public domain). The notion that an idea IS no different than a chair and ownership should be unlimited was first proposed by Sonny Bono when he was a congressman. You either then, in effect, side with Thomas Jefferson (author of the US Constitution) or Sonny Bono ("I Got You, Babe").

Lastly, you really DO miss that when you go on about MT and TTL like you do that you're describing YOURSELF when you say "this is a man bereft of new ideas who is opening his mouth and saying things due only to force of habit." :lol:


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue December 29th, 2009, 16:58 GMT 
Promethium Member
User avatar

Joined: Fri June 27th, 2008, 20:28 GMT
Posts: 17309
Location: Maybe it isn't a tour, maybe he's just lost.
I really believe that this review of Modern Times is 100% on the money in expressing what makes it among the best records of Dylan's long career. It's by Thom Jurek at the All Music Guide site:

When Bob Dylan dropped Time Out of Mind in 1997, it was a rollicking rockabilly and blues record, full of sad songs about mortality, disappointment, and dissolution. 2001 brought Love and Theft, which was also steeped in stomping blues and other folk forms. It was funny, celebratory in places and biting in others. Dylan has been busy since then: he did a Victoria's Secret commercial, toured almost nonstop, was in a couple films -- Larry Charles' Masked and Anonymous and Martin Scorsese's documentary No Direction Home -- and published the first of a purported three volumes of his cagey, rambling autobiography, Chronicles. Lately, he's been thinking about Alicia Keys. This last comment comes from the man himself in "Thunder on the Mountain," the opening track on Modern Times, a barn-burning, raucous, and unruly blues tune that finds the old man sounding mighty feisty and gleefully agitated: "I was thinkin' 'bout Alicia Keys/Couldn't keep from cryin'/She was born in Hell's Kitchen and I was livin' down the line/I've been lookin' for her even clear through Tennessee." The drums shuffle with brushes, the piano is pumping like Jerry Lee Lewis, the bass is popping, and a slide guitar that feels like it's calling the late Michael Bloomfield back from 1966 -- à la Highway 61 Revisited -- slips in and out of the ether like a ghost wanting to emerge in the flesh. Dylan's own choppy leads snarl in the break and he's letting his blues fall down like rain: "Gonna raise me an army, some tough sons of bitches/I'll recruit my army from the orphanages/ I've been to St. Herman's church and said my religious vows/I sucked the milk out of a thousand cows/I got the pork chop, she got the pie/She ain't no angel and neither am I...I did all I could/I did it right there and then/I've already confessed I don't need to confess again."

Thus begins the third part of Dylan's renaissance trilogy (thus far, y'all). Modern Times is raw; it feels live, immediate, and in places even shambolic. Rhythms slip, time stretches and turns back on itself, and lyrics are rushed to fit into verses that just won't stop coming. Dylan produced the set himself under his Jack Frost moniker. Its songs are humorous and cryptic, tender and snarling. What's he saying? We don't need to concern ourselves with that any more than we had to Willie Dixon talking about backdoor men or Elmore James dusting his broom. Dylan's blues are primitive and impure. Though performed by a crackerjack band, they're played with fury; the singer wrestles down musical history as he spits in the eye of the modern world. But blues isn't the only music here. There are parlor songs such as "Spirit on the Water," where love is as heavenly and earthly a thing as exists in this life. The band swings gently and carefree, with Denny Freeman and Stu Kimball playing slippery -- and sometimes sloppy -- jazz chords as Tony Garnier's bass and George Receli's sputtering snare walk the beat. Another, "When the Deal Goes Down," tempts the listener into thinking that Dylan is aping Bing Crosby in his gravelly, snake-rattle voice. True, he's an unabashed fan of the old arch mean-hearted crooner. But it just ain't Bing, because it's got that true old-time swing.

Dylan's singing style in these songs comes from the great blues and jazzman Lonnie Johnson (whose version of the Grosz and Coslow standard "Tomorrow Night" he's been playing for years in his live set). If you need further proof, look to Johnson's last recordings done in the late '50s and early '60s ("I Found a Dream" and "I'll Get Along Somehow"), or go all the way back to the early years for "Secret Emotions," and "In Love Again," cut in 1940. It is in these songs where you will find the heart of Dylan's sweet song ambition and also that unique phrasing that makes him one of the greatest blues singers and interpreters ever. Dylan evokes Muddy Waters in "Rollin' and Tumblin." He swipes the riff, the title, the tune itself, and uses some of the words and adds a whole bunch of his own. Same with his use of Sleepy John Estes in "Someday Baby".. Those who think Dylan merely plagiarizes miss the point. Dylan is a folk musician; he uses American folk forms such as blues, rock, gospel, and R&B as well as lyrics, licks, and/or whatever else he can to get a song across. This tradition of borrowing and retelling goes back to the beginning of song and story. Even the title of Modern Times is a wink-eye reference to a film by Charlie Chaplin. It doesn't make Dylan less; it makes him more, because he contains all of these songs within himself. By his use of them, he adds to their secret histories and labyrinthine legends. Besides, he's been around long enough to do anything he damn well pleases and has been doing so since the beginning.

Modern Times expresses emotions and comments upon everything from love ("When the Deal Goes Down," "Beyond the Horizon") to mortality ("The Levee's Gonna Break," "Ain't Talkin") to the state of the world -- check "Workingman's Blues #2," where Dylan sings gently about the "buyin' power of the proletariat's gone down/Money's getting shallow and weak...they say low wages are reality if we want to compete abroad." But in the next breath he's put his "cruel weapons on the shelf" and invites his beloved to sit on his knee. It's a poignant midtempo ballad that walks the line between the topical songs of Cisco Houston and Woody Guthrie to the love songs of Stephen Foster and Leadbelly. One can feel both darkness and light struggling inside the singer for dominance. But in his carnal and spiritual imagery and rakish honesty, he doesn't give in to either side and walks the hardest path -- the "long road down" to his own destiny. This is a storyteller, a pilgrim who's seen it all; he's found it all wanting; he's found some infinitesimal take on the truth that he's holding on to with a vengeance. In the midst of changes that are foreboding, Modern Times is the sound of an ambivalent Psalter coming in from the storm, dirty, bloodied, but laughing at himself -- because he knows nobody will believe him anyway.

Dylan digs deep into the pocket of American song past in "Nettie Moore," a 19th century tune from which he borrowed the title, the partial melody, and first line of its chorus. He also uses words by W.C. Handy and Robert Johnson as he extends the meaning of the tome by adding his own metaphorical images and wry observations. However, even as the song is from antiquity, it's full of the rest of Modern Times bemusement. "The Levee's Gonna Break" shakes and shimmies as it warns about the coming catastrophe. Coming as it does on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, it's a particularly poignant number that reveals apocalypse and redemption and rails on the greedy and powerful as it parties in the gutter. There are no sacred cows -- when Dylan evokes Carl Perkins' exhortation to put "your cat clothes on," it's hard not to stomp around maniacally even as you feel his righteousness come through. The great irony is in the final track, "Ain't Talkin'," where a lonesome fiddle, piano, and hand percussion spill out a gypsy ballad that states a yearning, that amounts to an unsatisfied spiritual hunger. The pilgrim wanders, walks, and aspires to do good unto others, though he falters often -- he sometimes even wants to commit homicide. It's all part of the "trawl" of living in the world today. Dylan's simmering growl adds a sense of apprehension, of whistling through the graveyard, with determination to get to he knows not where -- supposedly it's the other side of the world. The guitar interplay with the fiddle comes through loud and clear in the bittersweet tune. It's like how "Beyond the Horizon" uses gypsy melodies and swing to tenderly underscore the seriousness in the words. It sends the album off with a wry sense of foreboding. This pilgrim is sticking to the only thing he knows is solid -- the motion of his feet.

Modern Times portrays a new weird America, even stranger than the old one, because it's merely part of a world consumed by insanity. In these ten songs, bawdy joy, restless heartache, a wild sense of humor, and bottomless sadness all coexist and inform one another as a warning and celebration of this precious human life while wondering openly about what comes after. This world view is expressed through musical and lyrical forms that are threatened with extinction: old rickety blues that still pack an electrically charged wallop, porch and parlor tunes, and pop ballads that could easily have come straight from the 1930s via the 1890s, but it also wails and roars the blues. Modern Times is the work of a professional mythmaker, a back-alley magician, and a prophetic creator of mischief. He knows his characters because he's been them all and can turn them all inside out in song: the road-worn holy man who's also a thief; the tender-hearted lover who loves to brawl; the poetic sage who's also a pickpocket; and the Everyman who embodies them all and just wants to get on with it. On Modern Times, all bets are off as to who finishes the race dead last, because that's the most interesting place to be: "Meet me at the bottom, don't lag behind/Bring me my boots and shoes/You can hang back or fight your best on the frontline/Sing a little bit of these workingman blues." There is nothing so intriguing as contradiction and Dylan offers it with knowing laughter and tears, because in his songs he displays that they are both sides of the same coin and he never waffles, because he's on the other side of the looking glass. Modern Times is the work of an untamed artist who, as he grows older, sees mortality as something to accept but not bow down to, the sound that refuses to surrender to corruption of the soul and spirit. It's more than a compelling listen; it's a convincing one.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue December 29th, 2009, 17:17 GMT 

Joined: Fri October 26th, 2007, 00:49 GMT
Posts: 116
His lifting lines and melodies from musical sources rarely bother me because it largely seems the point of the recent albums -- a celebration of this cultural history. Perhaps he should have noted his sources, but his motives don't seem particularly deceptive to me. You can shrug off the title of Love & Theft all you want, but it doesn't change the fact that it perfectly signposts the intent and spirit of the album.

The literary thefts are more dubious and, quite frankly, they do bother me. But only because it feels creatively dishonest. The argument that he's damaging the financial potential of the sources themselves seems absurd. Timrod and Ovid are not being hurt by Dylan stealing a few scattered lines from their work. Even the still-living author of the Yakuza book has said he doesn't object to Dylan's use of some of his lines -- and he's probably sold more copies of his book as a result of Dylan's now-publicized plagiarism than he would have otherwise. Regardless, having a handful of (mostly ordinary) lines cherrypicked from an entire novel is not going to hurt it's sales. It just isn't, and trying to argue that it would is a silly attempt to try and intensify the severity of what Dylan has been doing.

And I would also like to hear sphinx's recording of Mordern Times pt. II, for what it's worth.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue December 29th, 2009, 18:07 GMT 

Joined: Mon September 10th, 2007, 17:11 GMT
Posts: 1379
BuilderofRainbows wrote:
And I would also like to hear sphinx's recording of Mordern Times pt. II, for what it's worth.


The tally's at two, sphinxy. Your bluff has been called.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue December 29th, 2009, 18:08 GMT 

Joined: Wed April 22nd, 2009, 03:33 GMT
Posts: 554
slocastro wrote:
I say this with all honesty:

So do it.

Rewrite ten old songs and record them and share them with us, because I'd be very interested to see if it has the same effect on me that Modern Times did.


I'm afraid you've missed the point entirely. I have no interest in listening to even one more "cut-and-paste" album, let alone making one. My argument is that fussy simulacra are not much to write home about in the first place, and that Dylan's insistence on continuing to explore them is rewarding his listeners with diminished returns. At this point, we really don't need another song in which Dylan tells us he's "listening to [Bono, I guess]" at a particular volume and "reading [Bukowski, let's say]" on his tour bus. And if the song sounds like his last handful of records, I'm afraid it's doubly true that we have no use for it.

Fans of Dylan in the '00s argue that he's mining a shaft rich with culture and history; really? If it's so rich, why then must the great man stoop to repeating himself ad nauseam these days? Why has the most inventive and puckish songwriter of our time been reduced to using an increasingly feeble and utterly predictable combination of formula and theft to create his songs? Occam's Razor would suggest he's simply in a creative rut. I tend to agree, even if I'm one of the few critics of Dylan's work who seems to realize that the present is his most creatively bankrupt period bar the '80s. If there's an original thought out there, he could use it right now.

Quote:
Modern Times is an album, not just a collection of songs, and the entire vision of the project can't be broken down easily. Sure, there are musicians playing competently but that's only part of it. Yes, it is a very careful album, all the way down to each vocal line. He obviously spent a lot of time honing the sound and that's mostly what makes it differ from L&T. It's like an orchestrated rock band, which may sound on paper like a terrible idea, but in execution these songs are played so carefully and lovingly that it can't help but charm me.


What is the "vision" of the project? Seriously, I've never been more disappointed by a Dylan album than I was by MT. I remember being absolutely convinced that there must be more to it than what I noticed during my first listen, but nothing was revealed, if you'll pardon the expression. Successive listens revealed only the astonishingly shallow depths of the record. The songs are nothing but pure artifice, the language (whether original or sourced verbatim) is clumsy and hits with a dull thud (that wretched line about wounded flowers dangling from vines, "more frailer than flowers," the laughably terrible one about how "the buying power of the proletariat's gone down," etc.) and the music is tepid and geriatric. It sounds like it wants to capture the bustling energy of L&T, right down to the production, but if fails in every capacity. Likewise, it seems intent on rustling up themes, but apart from the increasingly cartoonish conceit that Dylan is a weary troubador inhabiting an apocalyptic America, there are none.

I am quite convinced that the critical consensus regarding MT will be reversed given another decade or two. The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was allowing a turd of this magnitude to become one of the most critically praised records of this decade.


Last edited by sphinx on Tue December 29th, 2009, 18:11 GMT, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue December 29th, 2009, 18:10 GMT 

Joined: Wed April 22nd, 2009, 03:33 GMT
Posts: 554
slocastro wrote:
BuilderofRainbows wrote:
And I would also like to hear sphinx's recording of Mordern Times pt. II, for what it's worth.


The tally's at two, sphinxy. Your bluff has been called.


My "bluff?" Seriously? Can you people even read? I never threatened to make another lousy cut-and-paste album. Quite the contrary, I was arguing that MT has left us with one too many to begin with. This ain't rocket science, guys.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue December 29th, 2009, 18:14 GMT 

Joined: Wed April 22nd, 2009, 03:33 GMT
Posts: 554
BuilderofRainbows wrote:
His lifting lines and melodies from musical sources rarely bother me because it largely seems the point of the recent albums -- a celebration of this cultural history. Perhaps he should have noted his sources, but his motives don't seem particularly deceptive to me. You can shrug off the title of Love & Theft all you want, but it doesn't change the fact that it perfectly signposts the intent and spirit of the album.

The literary thefts are more dubious and, quite frankly, they do bother me. But only because it feels creatively dishonest. The argument that he's damaging the financial potential of the sources themselves seems absurd. Timrod and Ovid are not being hurt by Dylan stealing a few scattered lines from their work. Even the still-living author of the Yakuza book has said he doesn't object to Dylan's use of some of his lines -- and he's probably sold more copies of his book as a result of Dylan's now-publicized plagiarism than he would have otherwise. Regardless, having a handful of (mostly ordinary) lines cherrypicked from an entire novel is not going to hurt it's sales. It just isn't, and trying to argue that it would is a silly attempt to try and intensify the severity of what Dylan has been doing.

And I would also like to hear sphinx's recording of Mordern Times pt. II, for what it's worth.


It's available in stores now, actually. It's called Together Through Life, but you might also see it listed as L&T pt. III. Anybody who expects Dylan's next record to break with this lineage is basically kidding himself at this point. Like I said, he's become utterly predictable.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue December 29th, 2009, 18:19 GMT 

Joined: Wed April 22nd, 2009, 03:33 GMT
Posts: 554
Long Johnny wrote:
sphinx wrote:
It seems rather disingenuous to suggest that Dylan could accidentally have incorporated entire phrases and sentences from sources like Confessions of a Yakuza and that Frommer's Guide (or whatever it was) into a work like L&T or Chronicles, given the frequency with which they occur. Similarly, ripping off old songs by the likes of Johnny and Jack, note-for-note, part-for-part, right down to the bloody solo, seems appreciably different to patterning a new original song's chord progression after an existing one. The folk process is vital and real, but I'm afraid it's too often invoked as a kind of excuse, or apology, for Dylan's recent outright and quite inexcusable theft.

I mostly agree with the things LJ has said in this discussion, but I take exception to what appears to be his somewhat flippant stance regarding copyright law. As a working artist who has been burned by thieves in the past, I have a personal stake in ensuring that certain restrictions are upheld in order to protect those with a vested interest in a given intellectual property. Is it acceptable for Dylan to plagiarize significant portions of an in-print novel written by a man who is alive and owns the text in question? How about synthesizing lines from a popular travel guide and passing them off as remembrances in a book that was marketed as a memoir? It should go without saying that this type of scenario is significantly different from making obvious references to canonical blues lines originally written by Robert Johnson, Blind Willie MacTell and their contemporaries.

This is not a wise old grandfather passing pearls of accumulated wisdom on to the next generation; this is an old man bereft of new ideas who is opening his mouth and saying things due only to force of habit.


First, I never said Dylan appropriates by accident. What we were talking about is a tradition of appropriation that existed BEFORE the rise of the romantic notion of "the author" as "creative genius."

In other words, there were songs, etc., long before anybody really cared WHO came up with them because the importance of the INDIVIDUAL was understood differently.

Second, regarding copyright, again, we're talking about the historical evolution of the IDEA of copyright. The idea that it's possible to "own" an idea. In that history, and in my opinion, Thomas Jefferson had the most balanced understanding of it. An idea is fundamentally different from an object. If you make a chair, it's your chair. You can leave it to your children and they can leave it to theirs ad infinitum. Jefferson, and others, differentiate between physical property and intellectual property in a manner that recognizes that all ideas come out of a cultural stream, owing their existence to countless earlier variations, permutations, etc.

Jefferson believed that someone should be able to profit from their ideas for a reasonable (i.e., relatively short) period of time, after which the idea goes back into the stream (public domain). The notion that an idea IS no different than a chair and ownership should be unlimited was first proposed by Sonny Bono when he was a congressman. You either then, in effect, side with Thomas Jefferson (author of the US Constitution) or Sonny Bono ("I Got You, Babe").

Lastly, you really DO miss that when you go on about MT and TTL like you do that you're describing YOURSELF when you say "this is a man bereft of new ideas who is opening his mouth and saying things due only to force of habit." :lol:


Remind me how you feel about live concerts in general, again, LJ; I can't seem to remember. Also, nobody on the forum can seem to remember whether you love or hate the NET. Any thoughts on Dylan's recent live activity? I can't say for certain that I've ever seen you comment on the matter.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue December 29th, 2009, 18:35 GMT 

Joined: Fri October 26th, 2007, 00:49 GMT
Posts: 116
sphinx wrote:
Anybody who expects Dylan's next record to break with this lineage is basically kidding himself at this point. Like I said, he's become utterly predictable.


I actually agree with this, though probably not to the same extent as you. I think his repeating ideas he already mined to perfection in L&T to be lazy and disappointing, and I think TTL is one of the most superfluous and disposable albums he's ever recorded. I just find your claim that "we can make our own Dylan record with a minimal amount of effort" to be rather extravagant, even when taken as hyperbole. Evidence to the contrary is more than welcome, though.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue December 29th, 2009, 20:33 GMT 

Joined: Mon September 10th, 2007, 17:11 GMT
Posts: 1379
sphinx wrote:
Remind me how you feel about live concerts in general, again, LJ; I can't seem to remember. Also, nobody on the forum can seem to remember whether you love or hate the NET. Any thoughts on Dylan's recent live activity? I can't say for certain that I've ever seen you comment on the matter.


Nice move sphinxy :)

Seriously though, it took me just under four years to "get" Modern Times. Every single time I listened to it I was on the whole disappointed but felt like there was something there that I was missing. Then once it hit me I couldn't get enough of the album.

I think you know what the vision of the album is, it's just that you don't agree with it. And that's fine. There are people I've met who at first seemed obnoxious and narcissistic whom I eventually adored. The same may be true for you with this album. Maybe not. I'm not going to try to convince you of its quality because that's just about impossible, the same way you won't be able to convince me otherwise. You hear lazy blues shuffles and I hear master musicianship at work. There are really no objective qualities to attach to it other than the music and lines are lifted. Some people it bothers, some people it doesn't. I'm part of the latter group and you're not. I'm not sure where else to go from here.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue December 29th, 2009, 22:23 GMT 

Joined: Wed July 30th, 2008, 01:43 GMT
Posts: 735
Location: on the scene missing
sphinx wrote:
Anybody who expects Dylan's next record to break with this lineage is basically kidding himself at this point.

Just not true! - it may be another record in that mould, or it may be of another type entirely - as it is, CITH was entirely unpredictable - and his next album of original material may well actually be original material! Anyone who looks at Dylan's discography will see he has never been predictable for long - I agree with a lot of the criticism of Dylan's later work, but the idea that he'll carry on down the same old track is only one possibility. Given his extraordinary capacity for transformation I prefer to think he's still got something up his sleeve. As it is, it's only been 8 years since his last very good album. A little faith wouldn't go amiss ...!


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue December 29th, 2009, 22:54 GMT 
Promethium Member
User avatar

Joined: Fri June 27th, 2008, 20:28 GMT
Posts: 17309
Location: Maybe it isn't a tour, maybe he's just lost.
sphinx wrote:
Remind me how you feel about live concerts in general, again, LJ; I can't seem to remember. Also, nobody on the forum can seem to remember whether you love or hate the NET. Any thoughts on Dylan's recent live activity? I can't say for certain that I've ever seen you comment on the matter.


Don't like 'em. Don't speak for everybody on the forum (especially when you do a bad enough job just speaking for yourself); don't care much for the NET. Not fond of the DLs of the last tour (would probably be even less fond if I'd heard any).

Don't you pay attention? I can't believe you don't remember what I th..... Oh, wait! You were being funny! Like Adam Sandler.

[a lot like Adam Sandler :shock: ]


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed December 30th, 2009, 01:31 GMT 

Joined: Wed April 13th, 2005, 14:09 GMT
Posts: 4074
Location: the mountains I got lost in
wow. this WAS a great thread until...


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed December 30th, 2009, 01:44 GMT 

Joined: Wed April 22nd, 2009, 03:33 GMT
Posts: 554
...somebody showed up and dared to pierce the veil of lazy apologetics by actually being honest about the staggeringly apparent differences that separate Dylan's classic work from his recent work? I disagree, obviously.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed December 30th, 2009, 02:40 GMT 

Joined: Wed January 7th, 2009, 06:06 GMT
Posts: 215
sphinx wrote:
...somebody showed up and dared to pierce the veil of lazy apologetics by actually being honest about the staggeringly apparent differences that separate Dylan's classic work from his recent work? I disagree, obviously.


Funny thing is, I actually think these "appropriations" are wildly inventive. It's not like they are completely obvious to the average fan, and when they are pointed out it makes me listen even that much more closely.

It's seems like he's 'sampling' the past to come up with something new. If it is entirely purposeful, and I am not convinced it is, then it isn't lazy, it is brilliant.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed December 30th, 2009, 02:50 GMT 
User avatar

Joined: Wed December 20th, 2006, 01:25 GMT
Posts: 127
Location: Melbourne
sphinx wrote:
It's available in stores now, actually. It's called Together Through Life, but you might also see it listed as L&T pt. III. Anybody who expects Dylan's next record to break with this lineage is basically kidding himself at this point. Like I said, he's become utterly predictable.


Overbearing sense of self importance? Check.

Taking five paragraphs to say what could be said in one? Check.

Claiming every recent Dylan album is the same as its predecessor? Check.

Hi Clinton, I almost didn't recognise you.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed December 30th, 2009, 04:30 GMT 
Promethium Member
User avatar

Joined: Fri June 27th, 2008, 20:28 GMT
Posts: 17309
Location: Maybe it isn't a tour, maybe he's just lost.
debaser wrote:
sphinx wrote:
It's available in stores now, actually. It's called Together Through Life, but you might also see it listed as L&T pt. III. Anybody who expects Dylan's next record to break with this lineage is basically kidding himself at this point. Like I said, he's become utterly predictable.


Overbearing sense of self importance? Check.

Taking five paragraphs to say what could be said in one? Check.

Claiming every recent Dylan album is the same as its predecessor? Check.

Hi Clinton, I almost didn't recognise you.


:lol: Perfect.

If he's over 14 then we've figured out where "Arrested Development" got its name!
Image


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed December 30th, 2009, 13:48 GMT 

Joined: Wed April 22nd, 2009, 03:33 GMT
Posts: 554
Yeah, it is easier to be a wiseacre than to address difficult-to-refute charges, isn't it?


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed December 30th, 2009, 14:03 GMT 
User avatar

Joined: Wed December 20th, 2006, 01:25 GMT
Posts: 127
Location: Melbourne
sphinx wrote:
Yeah, it is easier to be a wiseacre than to address difficult-to-refute charges, isn't it?


Difficult to refute charges? Get over yourself. It's an opinion. You act like you're bringing some great wisdom down from mountain top. You just take this shit way too seriously.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed December 30th, 2009, 14:36 GMT 

Joined: Mon September 10th, 2007, 17:11 GMT
Posts: 1379
debaser wrote:
sphinx wrote:
Yeah, it is easier to be a wiseacre than to address difficult-to-refute charges, isn't it?


Difficult to refute charges? Get over yourself. It's an opinion. You act like you're bringing some great wisdom down from mountain top. You just take this shit way too seriously.


So true sphinxy. How the hell am I or anyone else supposed to "prove" that MT is a fine album? Seriously man, get a grip.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 133 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6  Next

All times are UTC


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Ghost Of Lectricity, GoinToAcapulco, TheBoiledGutsofBirds


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group