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Bob Dylan: Modern Times

Album Reviews:

Rolling Stone (pp.99-100) - 5 stars out of 5 -- "The mood is America on the brink -- of mechanization, of war, of domestic tranquility, of fulfilling its promise and of selling its dreams one by one for cash on the barrelhead....It is music of accumulated knowledge..."

Rolling Stone (p.102) - Ranked #1 in Rolling Stone's "The Top 50 Albums Of 2006" -- "MODERN TIMES is a groove album disguised as a poetry album..."

Entertainment Weekly (p.75) - "Intriguing, immediate, and quietly epic, MODERN TIMES must rank among Dylan's finest albums."

Entertainment Weekly (p.130) - Ranked #7 in Entertainment Weekly's "Top 10 Records Of 2006" -- "MODERN TIMES adds another glorious chapter to Dylan's late-career renaissance..."

Q (p.126) - Ranked #7 in Q Magazine's "100 Greatest Albums of 2006" -- "[I]t offered strident blues, wistful ragtime and shimmering ballads."

Uncut (p.72) - 5 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he emotional breadth is helped by one of Dylan's strongest singing performances....A Dylan who finally seems comfortable, and is ready to take things as far as it'll go."

No Depression (pp.97-98) - "[T]he album is both the most playfully sexual and profoundly spiritual from Dylan in decades."

Mojo (Publisher) (p.94) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[A] great deal of it is split between 12-bar treatises about love and lust and croonsome ballads about much the same themes, and one regularly gets the sense that its author might just be having a whale of a time."

Album Notes

It's arguable that at no point since his 1960s heyday has Bob Dylan been as celebrated as in the decade following his critically acclaimed 1997 album TIME OUT OF MIND. Numerous films, books, and albums--mostly Columbia's impressive archive series of reissues--have been part of a universal canonization of the singer and met with considerable enthusiasm by fans and critics alike. 2006's MODERN TIMES, the third album to have been released in nearly 10 years and part of a trilogy that also includes 2001's brilliant and upbeat LOVE AND THEFT, is easily deserving of such enthusiasm and is further reason for the formal veneration.

Musically, the album finds Dylan once again mining the stately traditionalist sound first heard on LOVE AND THEFT. Lazy blues numbers, piano-based songbook pop, and jumpin' country swing provide the backdrop for Dylan's continuing study of the vicissitudes of life, love, and death. Although he is certainly world-weary, a lot of life is lived in the verses of these songs and there is a dogged spirituality that provides, if not hope (a rather prosaic notion for Dylan by this point, to be sure), at least a means to finding contentment. Finally, a word about Dylan's voice here: while his singing has always been unconventional and never pretty in any traditional sense, in its raspy magnificence it is simply perfect for this timeless music.


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