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Modern Times

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iTunes Review

For most of his life, Bob Dylan has tried to claim for himself the worn-down wisdom and authenticity of his musical heroes, and at age 65, he may finally believe that he's earned the right to join them. Recording with his road band on the self-produced Modern Times, he's again grappling with matters of faith, love, mortality, and the relentless passage of time, scattering hard-won morsels of insight, brazenly, gleefully poaching from the blues canon and sprinkling in his own peculiar perceptions. A mix of blues, rave-ups, introspective folk, and Tin Pan Alley pop, much of the album finds Dylan in the role of conflicted preacher, warning his minions of the cruel fate that awaits them without offering a pathway to salvation. "The world has gone black before my eyes," he sings on the delicate, poignant "Nettie Moore," before adding, "I'm beginning to believe what the scriptures tell." On the mournful "Ain't Talkin'," he explains: "I practice a faith that's long abandoned, ain't no altars on this long and lonesome road." It's a strange, hopeless sort of spirituality. Dreamy, Hoagy Carmichael-style shuffles like "Beyond the Horizon" and "When the Deal Goes Down" provide a welcome counterweight to the more prickly concerns. Modern Times is a gripping hour inside the psyche of a wise man who, despite a lifetime of searching, finds no sufficient answers to life's biggest questions — a man with no direction home.

Customer Reviews

Nathan Couch Calls it "Riveting!"

Now... I may not be a professional critic, but I do know that this is one of his best albums. His voice is getting better and the lyrics are phenominal. If you are a newer dylan fan I wouldn't reccommend this album without you hearing his older stuff unless you want to hear what he has to say about our "Modern Times" which is very true. Granted, you can't get the retro-dylan out of his newer stuff but he sounds happy, and ultimately he's doing what he wants to do which I credit him for. Get this!

He just keeps getting better . . .

. . . like red wine and Nancy Wilson. I've been a Dylan fan since the time when you said Dylan and people thought you meant Dylan Thomas. Bob just keeps getting better. Say what you will about his 65 year old voice but he's lost the mumbles of his earlier years and the listener actually can understand what he's saying. That helps with a singer/songwriter who's all about lyrics. Besides, what's a 65 year old voice in someone whose soul and heart are ageless? Not all original comps? That's fine. He's the only Shakespeare we have and so he's earned the right to do whatever he wants to do and that includes Victoria Secret commercials and shilling for iTunes. I'm grateful to the Universe for giving us Bob Dylan.

Sing a Little Bit of these Workingman Blues

I've somehow got labeled a musical snob, here’s an admission for those: I’m not a Bob Dylan guy. His voice is just an acquired taste I’ve never acquired. I will concede he’s a great songwriter but his songs are always better when performed by others like Jimi Hendrix with All Along the Watchtower, Eric Clapton with Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door and The Byrds with Mr. Tambourine Man. But for those that are Dylan guys, then I have the album for you with his just released Modern Times. The album is a follow up is essentially the third in a trilogy of albums dating back to 1997’s Time out of Mind and also includes 2001’s Love and Theft (which had the unfortunate release date of 9/11) but I think that since I hadn’t heard the previous two, it won’t be like watching Return of the Jedi before the previous Star Wars movies. Modern Times starts off with the great Thunder on the Mountain that inexplicably name drops Alicia Keys multiple times to much effect and the song comes off like a folksy version of Johnny B. Goode. When the Deal Goes Down is a heart touching song which is heighten but the beautiful video with Scarlett Johansson. In the hands of lesser lyricist, When Levee’s Gonna Break would come off as a cheesy indictment of Katrina, but in Bob’s hand it instead invokes early last century folk songs. Then there is the actual last century folk song, Rollin’ and Tumblin’ that updates to much success (but not as good as Clapton’s version for his MTV Unplugged set). Be warned that the album clocks in at just over an album with only ten song (the shortest song comes in at 4:55), but Dylan is able to craft long song without making them tedious. Now if only Capton will cover some of the songs.


Born: May 24, 1941 in Duluth, MN

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Bob Dylan's influence on popular music is incalculable. As a songwriter, he pioneered several different schools of pop songwriting, from confessional singer/songwriter to winding, hallucinatory, stream-of-consciousness narratives. As a vocalist, he broke down the notion that a singer must have a conventionally good voice in order to perform, thereby redefining the vocalist's role in popular music. As a musician, he sparked several genres of pop music, including electrified folk-rock and country-rock....
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