Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Gene Weingarten breaks down Bob Dylan

A few weeks back in his Washington Post chat, Gene Weingarten polled the readers about Billy Joel's "Piano Man." He asked his readers to rate the best and worst lines in the song, among other questions about its merits. In Tuesday's chat, Gene tried the same trick with Bob Dylan's "Ballad of a Thin Man," from Highway 61 Revisited. Gene's analysis is about halfway down the transcript -- search for the phrase "Okay, the poll". I'd never really thought about the meaning behind this song, and I'm not saying Gene's got it right, but when I listened to it on the way home today and thought about what he wrote, he's got a pretty good sense of the song. The discussion of the song, and by extension Bob Dylan's talent, reminded me that Highway 61 Revisited is quite possibly one of the best albums ever recorded, and certainly one of my favorites. Has any artist ever had as productive a stretch as Dylan had in the mid-1960s, when he released Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, and Blonde on Blonde back-to-back-to-back? I don't know if there's a bad song on any of those three albums.

No comments: