*Don’t worry. This isn’t one of those full on record reviews. It’s just a quick thought.
I love Bob Dylan as much as the next guy. He’s a great songwriter and has done a lot of fantastic things in his career. I’m struggling to understand something, though.
Have you heard the album Nashville Skyline? It’s one of my favorites. I rebought it a couple of years ago for a road trip with the band after having lost my copy somewhere sometime. I ripped it into the computer and it has sit in my iTunes for a couple of years, rarely listened to. After putting everything I need to listen to on my iPod, I always put the iTunes on shuffle to help me select a few records that I may have forgotten. In this way, Nashville Skyline ended up on the iPod.
When it came on in the van, Wrall asked, “what the hell is this?”
“This is Bob Dylan. For some reason, he put on this voice for this record. You know it, though; just think of ‘Lay Lady Lay’.”
We marveled at the fact that he actually sings these songs. Often, he employs a shouting/speaking methodology when singing, but on this record he really sings. I’m sure there is all kinds of research and speculation as to why he put on a completely different voice for this record, but I know nothing of that. I do know that this exchange happened just now when that record appeared again through the magic of shuffle:*
Me: “What the hell?”
Wrall: “If he could sing like that all along, then why was he messing with that other thing.”
Me: “The only thing that saves this is if he finally learned to sing by 1969 when this record came out. But then he pretty much went back to that other thing after this record was done, so…”
So, I gotta ask… Bob Dylan, how you gonna go to school like that?
*By the way, shuffle is not random. It’s an algorithm based on what you’ve listened to a lot and things. The annoying part about that is that if you’ve been shuffled accidentally into something that you don’t love, it will prefer that something more later on. We need something in iTunes like the internet radio services have, where you click “like it”, “love it”, “don’t play again”, “play rarely”, etc. to keep this under control.**
**And another thing: get it together iTunes, and digital music world. We need digital booklets that are easy and interface efficiently with this software. I’m not quitting on CDs until that’s a reality.