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At a time when the majority of those his age are drifting into retirement, 65-year-old Bob Dylan has put the capper on a three-record run that ranks with the best in his storied, 44-album career. Like Time Out of Mind and Love and Theft before it, Modern Times is a rootsy, blues-soaked pool of the purest form of Americana--skipping the progressive bells or whistles for an understated backing by his touring band. Dylan's voice, which cracks, rasps and moans from the pop singer's pulpit, hasn't been this rich and emotive since 1976's Desire. And while his lyrics prolong his steadfast allusions to a higher power and his own immortality, they are not without the Dylan mirth, as when he sings of tracking pop queen Alicia Keys from Hell's Kitchen to Tennessee in "Thunder on the Mountain," the album's opener, which teams with "Someday Baby" and "Rollin' and Tumblin'" (for which Dylan misguidedly claims writing credit) as the record's most fiery numbers. Still, it's the Dylan that tells of a slave-loving owner ("Nettie Moore"), brings New Orleans to the front burner ("The Levee's Gonna Break") and plays the part of an eloquent lounge singer ("Spirit on the Water," "When the Deal Goes Down" and "Beyond the Horizon") that makes Modern Times sound just like old times. --Scott Holter
Dylan Classics and Collections
The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan
The Times They Are A-Changin'
Bringing It All Back Home
Highway 61 Revisited
Blonde on Blonde
Blood on the Tracks
No Direction Home: The Soundtrack
Biograph (Box Set)
Bootleg Series 1-3: Rare 1961-1991 (Box Set)
First new album in 5 years featuring 10 new songs
Japanese release of Bob Dylan's forty-fourth original album. 10 tracks. Sony. 2006.
- Blues you can use
Contemporary music's great romantic realist tells us it may be "Modern Times" but the battle remains the same - The human heart in conflict with itself (as William Faulkner called it).
Longtime fans will be glad to know Dylan's story-telling abilities and rebelliousness haven't dimmed a bit. Every one of the 10 songs is way longer than 3:05, yet another instance of Dylan giving corporate radio the back of his hand. Master Bob is going to say his piece and that's that. And - he whispers to the suits and others in "Ain't Talkin'" - "Some day you'll be glad to have me around."
"Workingman's Blues No. 2" is a classic - no other way to describe it. Dylan stacks the crumbling of the American economy and the fading of national promise alongside personal relationship difficulties in a very poignant way.
Our artist does similar in "The Levee's Going to Break," marrying an obvious Hurricane Katrina news reference to individual and national recklessness.
Religious and cultural references - "Darkness on the face of the deep" from the Book of Genesis appears in "Spirit on the Water" and "In the Still of the Night" from the Platters and the annals of classic R&B/rock gets into "When The Deal Goes Down" - bump up against us and are quickly gone, true to the pace and experience of modern life. Dylan scatters them discreetly, avoiding being "a man who thinks in slogans," as George Orwell once put it.
Dylan sounds briefly like one of Orwell's smiling totalitarians in "Someday Baby" when he sings "I keep recycling the same old thoughts." Then we realize that conformists don't think this deeply. The artist is merely reflecting what King Solomon said centuries before about the human condition - there's nothing new under the sun.
- mojo working!
This one grew on me. Yup, Dylan still got his mojo working.
- Why is this so overrated?
I'm a HUGE Dylan fan and really just don't get this and all the hype. "Time out of Mind" was a mood, songs were generally good...same with "Love and Theft". On Modern Times it just seems that there are re-worked blues songs. Bob Dylan KNOWS what he's doing...he has songcraft ability. He can do much better. He can even sing much better...he just doesn't choose to. Dylan himself said never to give the public your full 100% effort. On this album he's giving about 25%. Of course, I bought the deluxe edition....that just means he has my ear (and my wallet). Honestly it just isn't that great. ...more info
- excellent seller and product
Item as described and received in a timely manner... an excellent buying experience!...more info
- Turn Around
I said elsewhere that "Modern Times" was better than "Time Out of Mind." But, I was wrong. This record gets more tedious with each listen. The band is competent but unadventerous. Please, Mr. Garnier, how about an interesting bass line with some nice harmonic overtones or high-register melodic lines (like the triplets on "Mississippi")? An endless parade of six minute two-step and blues songs without bridges or 'B' sections; some fine lyrics, as expected, but much writing that is unexceptional. And the singing? Now, I happen to think that Mr. Dylan is the best white blues singer that ever walked down a sidewalk in L.A., NYC or Yazoo, MS. But his voice has deteriorated significantly from his majestic "Love and Theft". There are maybe one or two "great" songs here: Workingman's Blues #2 is for sure, one such. But, the turnarounds after each verse and chorus (of "boots and shoes"--well sung!)are so amateurish that I'm nearly shocked that "Jack Frost" didn't ask the band to go back and redo them. Dylan has completed his trilogy, paid homage in the last to Muddy Waters and Sleepy John Estes...and is, likely, searching for another direction and source of inspiration. His deep exploration of "wierd marginalized erase-trace" America has been a great artistic journey for the ages, rivaling the surrealist-amphetamaniac(sic) period of the mid-60s and the tattered-troubadour greatness of the mid-70s. "Modern Times" feels like Dylan has already thrown out an eye for what's ahead and left a disembodied ghost (pardon the pleonasm) to sweep up the soundstage and close the door. So...what is next???? I'm betting on a prophetic painted-face violin-driven plea from Mt. Zion for sobriety and against the seductivenss of false-peace and forgetfullness. Tour coming: Europe beware! You will be called to the fire again. And after Auschwitz, will you--the 'bride'--dare again to flee from your vows? I'm afraid you already have. And Dylan knows it too!...more info
- Better as he ages
This is better than Dylan has done in a long time!!...more info
Wow. I could listen to this over and over. The songs have a depth that can make you cry. wait, I have!...more info
- Bob Dylan excellence
We've come to expect nothing but "outstanding" from Bob Dylan and he continues to deliver above our expectations. This is another example of his versatility and sustaining power in the field of music....more info
- Dylan Endures
This album shows that creativity and taking risk remains strong with Dylan as displayed in the wide spectrum of music he gives us.... hillbilly rock, country, folk, etc. Thunder on the Mountain is literally a great "driving" song..... crank'er up!...more info
- Come On
Come on, this is Dylan! Album #44 is sensational. The excellence doesn't stop. The Zim keeps going....more info
- A master piece
Un gran disco que cierra la trilog®™a iniciada con Time out of mind (1997) y Love and theft (2001), ambos galardonados con Grammys y producidos por el propio Dylan haciendose llamar Jack Frost.
What can I say that hasn't already been written and read, Bob Dylan is the greatest poet of our time...I LOVE THIS MAN and his art!...more info
Transport yourself into Bob's bizarro-world and you will find that Modern Times means nothing is modern and everything is retro. In this new disc, Bob has morphed into a cowboy-western band leader who is intent on crossing many music genres and paying homage to many other artist styles. It works beyond expectation. This album is poetry in motion. It is unusually subtle and subdued for such a powerful piece of art. It is quite simply Bob's best album in thirty years.
Modern Times features ten long tracks and covers a lot of ground. It begins with what is destined to be the most popular song on the album, Thunder on the Mountain, which is a classic Bob Dylan tune that includes interludes of guitar riffs paying tribute to Chuck Berry and all the great guitarists of the Fifties. The disc also includes two good tunes, Spirit on the Water and Nettie Moore, with vocal sounds remarkably similar to Leon Redbone. In the latter song, Bob even admits to being in a "cowboy band." The ultimate cowboy-country tribute goes down in the song When The Deal Goes Down which I like to call "the best song Willie Nelson never wrote."
The musicians used on this new album do an incredible job mixing and matching with Bob. He has praised them in an interview as his best band ever. Although we have come to expect faint praise in media interviews, we never expect that from Bob and he has evidence on this disc to support his assertion. All my bias toward The Band aside, this new band does a better job of synchronizing with Bob for his purposes. The result is marvelous. Check out the very subtle riffs on Someday Baby and you will hear a great band playing as if Bob had asked them to play the "Allman Brothers-on-Valium."
Two other classics grace this disc. One is Workingman's Blues #2. This pays homage to Merle Haggard and is one of the most beautiful songs ever written by Bob. The other is Ain't Talkin' where Bob pays homage to himself by crafting another subtle classic tune. This great song caps off the disc and leaves us all wondering how it is possible for this man to write and perform great songs for thirty-five years. The very good most recent albums of Time Out of Mind and Love and Theft were not aberrations, merely preludes to this incredible Modern Times....more info
- Songs Unresolved and Puzzlingly Short
Very nice of Amazon to make this album available for free on its web site, but once I set it up with Windows Media I immediately became very disappointed. The songs fade in so quickly and seemingly right in the middle of a line, then, after thirty seconds or so, fade out just as quickly--often just as Dylan is about to resolve a thought or give a punchline.
The problem starts with the opening number, the promising "Thunder on the Mountain," whose cryptic lyrics, "You brought me here and now you're running me away/The writing on the wall..." left me confused and unsatisfied. Same goes for "Rollin' and Tumblin'," a rollicking number that, just when you get into the rhythm, fades out and leaves you hanging. By the end I was left feeling so completely baffled and unsatisfied that I vowed never to listen to the album again. Maybe this is some kind of new approach to musicmaking that I'm just too old to appreciate, but I prefer songs that start with an intro and end with some kind of resolution. Dylan is a living legend and should give himself more than thirty seconds to develop a theme. ...more info
- Modern Times is a modern classic
Don't worry: no matter what the title may imply, Modern Times is not Dylan attempting to update his music to fit current trends. He has yet to do that. Instead, Modern Times is for the most part a bluesy album: he even rewrites a few blues classics ("Rollin' and Tumblin" becomes, well... "Rollin' and Tumblin'"; "Someday Baby" is a slightly different "Trouble No More" with the "Hip Shake"/"La Grange" riff, and "Levee's Gonna Break" is little more than a rewrite of "When the Levee Breaks"). "Rollin'" is energetic, but it's also probably the weakest moment on a generally strong record - original blues songs like the wrenching "Workingman's Blues #2" and hard-rockin' "Thunder on the Mountain" (love the guitar solo!) are the two indisputable highlights, and they're perfectly contrasted by jazzy country-blueses such as "Spirit on the Water", "Beyond the Horizon" and "When the Deal Goes Down". The country songs here are all among the greatest Dylan ever did in the genre, though to be fair none of them are "Lay, Lady, Lay" - "Horizon" is a bit too long, but only by about a minute or so. And while Dylan's melodies are normally nothing worth getting excited about, I love the melody (and the lyrics, and everything else) found on "Nettie Moore". In fact, I think "Nettie Moore" is my favorite song on this album - it hasn't gotten the hype of songs like "Thunder on the Water", "Workingman's Blues #2" or "Spirit on the Water", but it's a fabulous folk song and I will definitely stick up for it. Give it ten years; this'll be one of Dylan's classic songs. You see if it isn't. Oh yeah, and "Ain't Talkin'" has the best lyrics found on this album. And I really like the song's dark, doomy atmosphere too, with the violins and such. Plenty of albums by awful artists came out in 2006, and it's nice to hear Dylan (who's twice the age of most members of My Chemical Romance - third behind the Eagles and Green Day as the band I unnecessarily insult the most in my reviews, by the way) showing them all up. This is his best in a very long time....more info
- LOVE this album!
Bob's done it again. For fans of "like a rolling stone" a MUST hear is Sandra Bernhard's cover in her "Everything Bad & Beautiful" album! Plus you get a great monologue tribute to Bob! A must HAVE.Everything Bad & Beautiful...more info
- Pleasing in every way
If you're looking for talent, look no further. Bob Dylan proves his artistic skill yet again--even surpassing his own excellent previous works. This collection of musical arrangements is as diverse as it is consistently excellent. The lyrics are variously thought-provoking, romantic, funny, witty, gentle, challenging, warm, engaging, symbolic, and interesting.
My newest fantasy: being seated on a trans-Atlantic flight beside Bob Dylan. I would keep my mouth shut and my ears open. This old guy is brilliant....more info
I was playing this in a public area and somebody who was obviously a bit schizophrenic came up to talk to me. He told me that Jesus had come down to him and told him that Bob Dylan was the greatest song writer of all time. He told me some other stuff too but... well unless you believe that the third bootleg album is the key to stopping all wars, ending all hate and destroying catholicism -- don't ask -- you probably don't really need to know exactly what he said.
The thing is you really don't have to be crazy to enjoy this album. When I first bought it, I thought to myself, ok this isn't bad, but it isn't great. But the more I listen to it, the more I enjoy it; and it keeps getting better and better. Right now it is my second favorite Dylan album (right after Blood on the Tracks). Dylan's voice is very raspy but it is clear (certainly clearer -- and mellower -- than, say, Tom Waits.) The lyrics while not as poignant, surreal and metaphorical as his early work, are in a way more settled, mature and reflective.
Frankly, I can't testify to the Truth regarding my transient buddy's statement that Dylan is the Greatest Songwriter Ever. But then I don't have a Jesus coming down to speak to me all personal-like; so he may very well be. What I can say it that I enjoy this album and perhaps that is all that is really necessary....more info
- Great album
This is an incredible album. I can listen to the entire thing from beginning to end without skipping any songs. This is great listening from a true artist with an astonishing length of reference for lyrics. If you like something mellow to drive and listen to on long trips, this is the album for you....more info
Fall deeply in love with "Spirit on the Water". I have to play it at least once very night. Of course, other songs are great too! A must-have on any CD rack. ...more info
- Bob Blues Dylan
I love this recording! although I am NOT a Dylan fan, how could you ignore such a genius? This recording is strong from start to finish. Very bluesy,raspy Bob. The music stays in your head and brings a smile when it should come onto the radio. A real pleaser!...more info
- Modern Times
This is fabulous! Every single song is brilliant - this has to be the best thing Bob has recorded since "Blonde on Blonde". I saw his concert in Sydney without having heard "Modern Times". Now I wish I was back there with the knowledge of these newer songs. I listened to the preview songs on Amazon and just had to get the CD immediately - which is pretty much how Amazon dispatches their CDs - even to Australia. Forget the "4-6 weeks" - I always get deliveries within 10 days, and usually cheaper than if I had time to trawl the shops here. I love the way you can listen, then buy, online. It's another life since I had to wait for the latest vinyl album to arrive from overseas! Thanks, younger generation! hehehe...more info
- Still the greatest of all time
At 23 years old I am not your typical Bobhead, I own all 30+ Dylan albums including bootlegs. I have been to several Dylan concerts over the last few years. Dylan has come out with 3 studio albums the last 10 years all critical successes. With Modern Times Dylan was the oldest artist to reach number one on the Billboard 200 chart. Out of the three this is my least favorite. I loved Love and Theft and liked Time Out of Mind. Love & Theft was loud, funny and all around great. Time Out of Mind was a little depressing but had amazing lyrics. Modern Times is a mix between the two albums. To be completely honest I only liked three songs on this album: Thunder on the Mountain, Spirit on the Water and Workingman Blues #2. Someday Baby gets better with every listen so maybe I will put that one on there too. But who cares? It's Dylan....get the cd already....more info
- THE BEST
BOB DYLAN DOES IT AGAIN....
YOU HAVE TO GET THIS......more info
- Hard To Understand
The music for Modern Times, although a little ragged around the edges and not as tight as it could be, is really very pleasant and quite enjoyable. I must say that I was extremely disapponted that the CD insert did not contain the words to the songs. I have listened to it numerous times, as has my family, and there are just a whole bunch of places that we can't even begin to figure out the lyrics. I'm sure Dylan has lots to say, and we've certainly tried to figure out what that might be, but just exactly how much of a treasure hunt do we have to go on here? ...more info
Such an artist can only continue to evolve the way Dylan does. Sit back, relax, and listen to the genius....more info
- At last - Dylan I can listen to!
I've not been a fan of Dylan's albums as I could never get past his voice! Love his music, his lyrics etc, but that voice just grated so much that one listening a year would be enough. Now at last, on this album he has found a quality that works for me. Over the past year, I have listened to this album many times and can still listen to it. It's obviously not his best work, but it's damn fine - and listenable, and that makes it one very special Dylan album for me.
Love the title track - but it sort of makes me a bit sad and nostalgic when I listen to it as I'm sure I can hear John Lee being channeled. ...more info
- Great record
The effort seems a bit like a continuation of Love and Theft. Similar old timey feel, similar borrowing of genres. Love and Theft, however, is a much better record. Better tunes and better wordplay overall. I believe Love and Theft is one of the Masterpieces of modern popular music. Modern Times is merely one of the best records made in the last 5 years.
- Dylan in top form
This exceptionally melodious album opens with the catchy up-tempo track Thunder On The Mountain with its lilting beat which is followed by Spirit On The Water, a tender love song, also tuneful and engaging with nice touches of harmonica. Rollin' And Tumblin' with its snatches of jangling guitar is a succulent slice of folk rock.
One of the highlights on this impressive work with its outstanding songs is the melancholy When The Deal Goes Down, a philosophical musing on the journey of life, on mortality and loyalty, with a beautiful melody and moving poetic lyrics, like the track Where Teardrops Fall on Oh Mercy.
The tempo picks up again for Someday Baby, a rhythmic pop number, before the mood turns serious for Workingman's Blues, a flowing ballad, and then somber turns to sad on the poignant Beyond The Horizon with its redemptive imagery.
There is another stirring love song in the form of Nettie Moore, a slow soulful number with clever lyrical twists and a spiritual undertone, whilst The Levee's Gonna Break is another rhythmic up-tempo track with a gripping melody, and the album concludes with the bluesy Aint' Talkin', a long atmospheric excursion.
The powerful songs on Modern Times are delivered with guitars, bass, cello, piano, percussion, drums, violin, viola and mandolin for a rich, full sound and Dylan's voice sounds great. I highly recommend this brilliant album which is on a par with his best work of recent years such as Time Out of Mind.
- As good as Dylan gets
Its a shame that so many folks become closed minded to new music at a certain age. This is as good as anything Dylan has ever done, but because of the above it won't be remembered as well....more info
- Modern Times
And Bob has definitely kept up with the modern times . . .
Good songs, good music. This is a keeper!...more info
- Modern Times
This is not the Dylan of the 60's (or 70's or 80's). A lot of the growl in his voice is gone and there is a lyric quality to it. The songs have a lilt, a rhythm and lift, to them that is infectious. The lyrics are as good as anything Dylan has written. It is one to listen to over and over again....more info