I picked up Modern Times at the local phonography shop on the way home from work, listened straight through while baking cookies with little Banjo, and have been jumping around randomly from cut to cut while making fresh tomato sauce for tonight’s dinner. Now I’ve taken it out of the CD player and brought it down to the computer so I can keep listening while I type.
“Workingman’s Blues #2” is definitely the keeper here: moody, beautiful tune with nifty, funny-angry lyrics – “The place I love best is a sweet memory/It’s a new path that we trod/They say low wages are a reality/If we want to compete abroad.”
“Spirit on the Water” is damn good, too.
So far, I’m calling it better than **Love and Theft ** but not quite up to Time Out of Mind.
I got it and I’m… underwhelmed. I actually revese the OP’s call, I’m saying a shade below “Love and theft” but a shade above “Time out of Mind” - but then TOOM never wowed me the way to seemed to do the rest of the world.
Good Points - “Thunder on the Mountain” rocks like a motherjumper and is ominous yet funny as hell in places
Dylan’s singing is phenomenal on every cut
“Nettie Moore” is a great blues song
“Ain’t Talkin’” is one of the BEST songs he has ever written
**Bad Points ** - Nothing new to say musically or lyrically since “Love and Theft”
after the first track, the band is nothing more than highly competent and sympathetic - there is none of that madcap fire there was on “Love and Theft” and the backing on “The Levee’s gonna break” sounds a little perfunctory, even
dull songs. “Rollin’ and Tumblin’” is a chore, and I disgaree with Ike -
“Workingman Blues” starts out like a re-write of his single suckiest song ever, “Union Sundown” and then goes on forever. “Levee’s gonna break” sounds like it took 5 minutes to write.
some of the songs do go on a bit. “Spirit on the water” is a nice song but shouldn’t be the second track on the CD. “Nettie Moore” should be a lot further forward in the sequence.
Perhaps I will like it more after a few listens. By no means is this a return to “Empire Burlesque” levels of suckitude, but I can’t help but think if Bob had just loosened up a bit, we would have had a more enjoyable record
On second listen I may have been a little harsh there. I still don’t think it’s great, it’s just a song that doesn’t have a lot to say but does it in an entertaining way. And Dylan does sing it right purty.
I won’t get to hear it for another week or so. I ordered my copy (the version with the bonus DVD–what kind of “bonus” is it if you have to pay extra to get it, anyway?) from CD Universe, along with all the new Pete Townshend reissues.
You know what I play over and over again - that line where he’s singing about Alicia Keyes (WHY is he singing about Alicia Keyes?) and he says “she was born in Hell’s Kitchen, I was living down the line” - I love the way he shuffles that lyric out, syncopating the first phrase and drawing the second out.
It’s exceptionally good. I’m not sure I can judge it against his recent output yet; I miss the more rawkin’ sound of Love & Theft occasionally, but what he’s got going on Modern Times is equally good: the band are utterly in step with each other, smooth, confident; a wonderfully relaxed yet powerful sound. Workingman Blues is definitely one of the keepers; I’ve also been seriously digging Nettie Moore, and Ain’t Talkin’ has to be one of the spookiest and most menacing things he’s done. All in all, better than Time Out of Mind (I agree that it’s somewhat overrated) and, when the scores are tabbed, a tie with Love and Theft.
I was in such a hurry I dumped it from iTunes. I’m glad I did. Now if only I can get my new iPod to work. :mad:
Anyway, I’m on my second listen and I like everything at least a lot. Most of it even more that a lot.
“Beyond the Horizon” is growing on me. Much of Dylan’s work needs to do that.
“Nettie Moore” struck a chord on first listen. It’s like a well written story. And I can’t help but sing along with “The Levee’s Gonna Break”.
Good stuff, all of it.
'Scuze me, I gotta lissen.
Oh yeah, the band’s great. They’re total pros, and they stay out of Dylan’s way.