Sunday, January 17, 2010

Bob Dylan's "Blood On The Tracks"- 35 years later

Bob Dylan - Blood on the Tracks

Bob Dylan
Blood on the Tracks
Rating:**** or **** 1/2

Today marks the 35th anniversery of Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks. The album, today, is still considered one of Dylan's best. For me, it's my second favorite of his albums (behind Highway 61 Revisited). The album may be best known for its somewhat depressing songs of love and hate. At the time the album was made, Dylan was separating from his wife Sarah. Dylan later said that none of songs were based on his life and that they were inspired by the short stories of Anton Chekhov. The album was recorded during the fall of 1974. Before the album's release, bootlegs of the sessions leaked (supposedly making it a great time for bootleggers). From start to finish, Blood on the Tracks is a work of art. All the songs are filled with so much emotion that it can even get to the listener sometimes.

The album opens with the upbeat but depressing "Tangled Up in Blue". The song tells the story about a man meeting a woman and how they met again. The dimensions of the song make it memorable. If there is anything uplifting on this album, it's probably this song. "A Simple Twist of Fate" and "You're A Big Girl Now" are both powerful songs lyrically while "Idiot Wind" is a cold-hearted song about anger. The way Dylan sneers the song's lyrics make it sound believable (Eediot wind/It's a wonder that you still know how to breathe). Years later Dylan's son Jakob said the song sounds like his parents arguing. "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go" is short and sweet but "Meet Me in the Morning" sounds great musically. "Lily, Rosemary, and The Jack of Hearts" is often called the weakest of the songs off the album but I disagree. Dylan has always been a great storyteller. This is a good example but don't expect "Like A Rolling Stone" or "Ballad of a Thin Man". It's different from everything else off the album but that doesn't mean it's bad. "If You See Her, Say Hello" is a nice soft song while "Shelter from the Storm" is a fantastic melodic piece. Ending the album on the subject of inclement weather, "Buckets of Rain" is another good song.

When it comes to Bob Dylan albums in the 1970's, Blood on the Tracks is probably his best from what decade. If you don't own this now, go and pick it up.

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