1001 Albums #50

Bringing It All Back Home is the fifth studio album from Bob Dylan. I cannot tell you how excited I was when I saw another album of his on the list. I was surprised that the book and other critics skipped his two albums from 1964 The Times They Are a-Changin’ and Another Side of Bob Dylan. It seems they were not well loved. I will skip them for now, but return to them at a later date.

Dylan fans were not happy with his direction, especially on this album. He decided to do an electric side and an acoustic side. For some reason people hate when artist/musicians change from what they usually do. Yet, if the artist does not grow, then fans will disappear and they will no longer be on top of the world.

We could look at someone who is not very talented as an example. Taylor Swift sang country music in the beginning of her career. It was probably the only way to break into the music industry because they listen to almost anything. Little by little Swift switched over to mainstream pop and left country behind. She is more famous now than she was in the beginning when she did only country. If she had stuck with country music, then she would not sell as many records.

Back to the real artist, Bob Dylan. It took a couple listens to decide how much I liked it. It is not exactly the same Dylan as The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.Subterranean Homesick Blues” the opening song is Dylan’s first Top 40 hit. It came with a video which was ahead of its time about 17 years. The video has inspired many artists and has been replicated many times. The television series Lost and one of my favourite bands INXS paid homage to Dylan’s video.

1988’s video of Mediate from INXS
Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues

Mr. Tambourine Man” is the most surprising song. I thought it was created by American rock band The Byrds. I hated the song. I did not like the harmonies. I did like the electric sound compared to Dylan’s folk version, but I hate the way Dylan says “man” throughout the song. This song is my least favourite song on this album.

Standout songs are “Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream“, “She Belongs to Me“, and “Love Minus Zero/No Limit“. I believe this album is one that grows on the listener. It is like when you fall in love. The more you listen to your new friend, the more intrigued you become until one day you are in love. I suggest a few listens before deciding it you hate or love it.

Dylan’s decision to be personal was brave. It is difficult to put yourself out there for your fans and critics to tear apart. Unless you are Taylor Swift. She loves to rip apart her myriad of love affairs for the public consummation. Unfortunately, she does like to take responsibility for her part.

Personally, I like the electric side and the more personal side of Dylan. Protesting is great, but it would become tiresome if you only stood on the pulpit preaching to the people from a distance and never letting them in. Eventually, people will not want to hear what you are saying if you are not real with them.

Bringing It All Back Home feels uneven compared to The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. It might be for the fact that there are two distinct sides of it. I think I would have rather one whole electric album, but that might have turned his fan’s into people who cry when their feelings are hurt and then shout when they do not get their way and feel the louder they shout the more right they are about their anger. The album is amazing, but not quite as amazing as I hoped it would be. 9/10.

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