Rough and Rowdy Ways

5 out of 5

SKU: B0884BK38T Category:

Description

‘Rough and Rowdy Ways’ is Bob Dylan’s first album of original material in 8 years and his first since becoming the only songwriter to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature, in 2016. Its 10 tracks include the three new songs released this spring: the album’s lead-off track, “I Contain…

Reviews

  1. Emperor Aquaman

    Whoa, was not expecting this. I intentionally avoided listening to Murder Most Foul (and the other recently released songs) during the shutdown, was biased toward trying to hear things in a proper album context. And fortunately the album was announced not too terribly long after, so I decided to wait.Listened tonight for the first time to all of this – wow, again, I was not expecting this. There’s a lot I haven’t yet digested, but Dylan sounds good. Authoritative. The sound works well with his words and tone, no obnoxious arrangements (can’t say the same for Tempest!). I like this band. There’s “meat” to these lyrics, much to chew on for a long time to come. Love the themes. Lot of ideas worth reflecting on. Nice delivery. No gimmicks. The name-checking is a bit much (hearing Alicia Keys mentioned back in 2006 was interesting, but in the years since this approach has lost some novelty), but doesn’t detract too much. This album probably could’ve used more tempo in some places, but I’m not sure yet how much this will really detract long-term either.This album feels like it has weight. It has value. Has the potential to be timeless. I love Dylan but I can’t say that about all of his albums. Hard for me to imagine someone really listening to this a few times and not getting something out of it.Much gratitude to Bob Dylan for continuing to create, record, and release his art to us. Anyone who’s ever liked Dylan should pick this up.

  2. Dr. Debra Jan Bibel

    Whoa, was not expecting this. I intentionally avoided listening to Murder Most Foul (and the other recently released songs) during the shutdown, was biased toward trying to hear things in a proper album context. And fortunately the album was announced not too terribly long after, so I decided to wait.Listened tonight for the first time to all of this – wow, again, I was not expecting this. There’s a lot I haven’t yet digested, but Dylan sounds good. Authoritative. The sound works well with his words and tone, no obnoxious arrangements (can’t say the same for Tempest!). I like this band. There’s “meat” to these lyrics, much to chew on for a long time to come. Love the themes. Lot of ideas worth reflecting on. Nice delivery. No gimmicks. The name-checking is a bit much (hearing Alicia Keys mentioned back in 2006 was interesting, but in the years since this approach has lost some novelty), but doesn’t detract too much. This album probably could’ve used more tempo in some places, but I’m not sure yet how much this will really detract long-term either.This album feels like it has weight. It has value. Has the potential to be timeless. I love Dylan but I can’t say that about all of his albums. Hard for me to imagine someone really listening to this a few times and not getting something out of it.Much gratitude to Bob Dylan for continuing to create, record, and release his art to us. Anyone who’s ever liked Dylan should pick this up.

  3. John Dunneback

    An album of new Bob Dylan tunes is a special event. The 2020 opus is a two-disc release consisting of the 9-song Rough and Rowdy Ways and a 17-minute disc of Murder Most Foul. Except for the rousing Goodbye Jimmy Reed [the electric blues songwriter and guitarist,1925-1976], the songs and arrangements are delivered in various slow blues rhythms with dark tones or as freeform narrations. Throughout the album, the dazzling, cryptic, poetic mind of Dylan with a plethora of cultural references keeps us engaged trying to keep up. Dylan opens with I Contain Multitudes, a title and approach taken from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. The religious False Prophet leads to a Dr. Frankenstein-inspired My Own Version of You. A radical shift to the romantic is next with I’ve Made Up My Mind to Give Myself to You, played as if the final dance at an Offenbach ball. The sinister allusion of Black Rider, a vengeful agent, becomes more acute in our pandemic moment. Mnemosyn is the mythological goddess of memory and mother of the nine Muses, but in Dylan’s hands she sings of the chain of historical events and our place in it facing death. Crossing the Rubicon, meaning passing the point of no return, is another hint of an underlying theme of the album, transition, as Dylan is age 79. Key West, the final track of disc 1, is subtitled Philosopher Pirate (referring to Pirate Radio broadcasts of yesteryear), but takes on a different location, ultima Thule and the unknown, distant, religious shore of immortality. Murder Most Foul is an epic. The death of JFK and the 1960’s are the historical, superficial references; however, the tune looks back deeper to the seismic loss of American optimistic innocence and the rise of contemporary doubt. Our current year of 2020 is another transition point, and Dylan’s album could not come at a more appropriate time.

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