|Dylan at Azkena Rock Festival (Wikipedia)|
Bob Dylan is possibly the greatest singer-songwriter ever, considering the number of the songs he has written and their quality, the mark he has left in music history or the legend he has built around his persona.
It seems that today no journalist would think of challenging his supremacy, and all of his last productions seem to leave them all in awe.
But which are the man's best songs? Let's give this tricky exercise a try, and select what in our opinion are the best Bob Dylan songs.
- "Like A Rolling Stone". You can't get around this one. The lyrics, the flow... Here, Bob Dylan invents "modern rock" with the help of his thin, wild mercury sound. The chaotic instrumentation of the track underlines this story of the decline of a model. Just listen to that incredible organ that ponders through the choruses.
- "Mr. Tambourine Man". In this one, Bob Dylan creates a whole new image for himself: after having been considered as a protest singer, he evolves into the Arthur Rimbaud of American Folk Music and changes the focus of his lyrics from the outside to the inside. "I'm ready to go anywhere, I'm ready for to fade, into my own parade, cast your dancing spell my way, I promise to go under it."
- "Not Dark Yet". Bob Dylan is getting old, with a "sense of humanity [that] has gone down the drain." But he is not dead yet. This song is from what is considered to be the album that sealed his comeback to the forefront of music: Time Out Of Mind. The latter's warm reception actually gives the following line tremendous depth and irony: "I can't even remember what it was I came here to get away from."
- "Love Minus Zero/No Limit". This is the perfect example to remind us that Dylan is not just a fantastic writer of lyrics, but also a great composer of tunes. And that one of the foundations of his art is rhythm. This song gives us one of his career defining quotes: "There's no success like failure, and [... ] failure's no success at all."
- "If You Ever Go To Houston". This song captures what Bob Dylan has always been since he changed the course of popular music: a musician trying to embody the heart of American music. The best line of the song being: "If you ever go to Austin, Fort Worth or San Antone, find the bar rooms I got lost in, and send my memories home."
While most consider that the best Bob Dylan songs belong to the sixties, I think it is clear that the songwriter still has a lot to offer. Keep in mind that his latest album is not entitled"The Tempest" but just "Tempest" ...
If you like real music like Bob Dylan's music, and think that he is not dead yet, than you might also want to check out Frans Schuman. He has recorded his first two albums with just a guitar and a harmonica. Some are folk songs, and some have a slightly different feel. But I think you might like it. Click here to download a copy of his latest single for free.
Cheers, Johnny Clark.
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