A Review of Bob Dylan’s First Three Albums

 

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Bob Dylan’s early music is of course very good. His songs flow smoothly and are filled with various and complex ideas and feelings. But in those first five albums the music is also very rough. From his first album, the self-titled Bob Dylan, to his third album, Times They Are A-Changing, Dylan uses only a guitar; a harmonica and his own voice and each of those instruments are not used gently. Dylan’s Harmonica is loud, sudden and verging on grating, his voice leaves much to be desired, and most of the guitar playing on the three albums is sloppy and brittle sounding.

And yet, despite all of these drawbacks to Dylan’s performance, on Bob Dylan, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan and Times They A-Changing, Dylan manages to pound out some very beautiful melodies.

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If you look at a song like, “Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance” off of The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, a song that is very rough in its instrumentation, you can hear a melody that comes through that rough instrumentation and even though it isn’t the most technical or pretty song that has ever been written, it does evoke some emotion through its core melody. This I think is what made Bob Dylan such a successful musician.

Now, of course, there are some more soft, beautiful songs on these first three albums, “Girl From The North Country” or “Boots Of Spanish Leather” or even “Song To Woody” is a little slower and a little softer, but even in those songs the simplicity of Dylan’s song writing shows itself very plainly, he does not layer his melodies and he adds very little electronic effects to the songs his albums. The song writing itself seems to be the number one priority in Bob Dylan’s music.

This priority pays off because even on these first three albums, that could all be considered to be classics in there own right, there are a couple songs that stand out, to me, as some of the greatest songs in Rock and Roll history, songs like, “Baby, Let Me Follow You Down” and “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” and “The Times They Are A-Changin’” and “Masters of War”. If not the albums themselves, these songs stick out to me as past indications of what Bob Dylan would be doing next.

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And I Thank You, I Thank You for Doing Your Duty

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Some of my personal favourite Leonard Cohen songs

Leonard Cohen is a Canadian artist. That means a lot to me. He truly created some profound art. I loved discovering him and I loved how prolific he was. Today is a sad day.

  1. Everybody Knows – This song, a little more important now than ever before, rocked me when I was a teenager. It was exactly the sort of amazing mysterious song that you need to uncover when you’re a young. With the heavy backing melody mixed with the uplifting strings and Leonard Cohen’s deep voice, it is a very unique and wonderful song.
  1. So long, Marianne – I love the slow, offbeat rhythm guitar in this song. I love the lyric, “I thought was some kind of gypsy boy”. I love the background singers of the chorus. I love how it is a little sad and mostly uplifting. I love the violin and the experimentation.
  1. Teachers – Often Leonard Cohen songs can be powerful and forceful and none of them come at you like teachers. The powerful themes of self love and self harm are delivered to you with a cacophony of the tapping acoustic guitar.

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  1. One of Us Cannot Be Wrong – There are so many emotions to feel when I listen to this song. So many that are so deep.
  1. All Singers Must Die – Yes, it is a little morbid, but this song is really interesting and very poetic and a little funny and it is always worth a listen.
  1. The Smokey Life – a song of the seventies, maybe a little influenced by Motown. This song is so loving.
  1. Dance Me to End Of Love – This song is like a nightmare carnival, but also it’s also really fun? One of my favourite Cohen songs, Dance Me To The End Of Love shows his originality and creativity as an artist.`
  1. The Captain – Various Positions was such a weird album. This is one of the songs that made it that way. It seems kind of like a song that would open a children’s program or something? But then it is really heartfelt and profound? It is freaky and great.
  1. If It Be Your Will – One of the most Leonard Cohen of the Leonard Cohen songs. It is sparse and solemn and so full of love and yearning. The Melody of the guitar makes me feel so many things and I love it.
  1. Anthem – I love this song if only for the line, “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” Leonard Cohen is a poet.

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That’s it for now. Listen to his music and enjoy his art and be happy. Thanks for reading.

An Artist’s Compass: A Review of MY WOMAN

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In one of the first posts on this website I reviewed the album Burn Your Fire For No Witness by Angel Olsen. In my review I raved about the style and tone Olsen managed to create with that album. And only now, three months later and a month after its release am I getting around to review her next album MY WOMAN. Continue reading “An Artist’s Compass: A Review of MY WOMAN”

Uplifting This Time: A Review of Preoccupations

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A couple of weeks ago I wrote a review of an album called Viet Cong by a band called Viet Cong and today I am going to review an album called Preoccupations by a band called Preoccupations. Is there any symbolism in the fact that these are the same bands and this is there second album? I don’t know but if you read this review you just might find out.

Continue reading “Uplifting This Time: A Review of Preoccupations”

Sound Expansion: A Review of Mourn’s Ha, Ha, He

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In 2014 Mourn released their first, self-titled album. In June of this year they released their sophomore album, Ha, Ha, He. Today I’m going to review Ha, Ha, He. Continue reading “Sound Expansion: A Review of Mourn’s Ha, Ha, He”

Will the Real Rap God Please Stand Up: A Review of Eminem’s Rap God

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Rap God is a song that I find myself going back to quite often. Not only is it catchy and impressive, but also there is some meaning in it that is hard to overlook. So today, I’m going to review one of my favorite Eminem songs, Rap God. Continue reading “Will the Real Rap God Please Stand Up: A Review of Eminem’s Rap God”

The Penultimate Point of Destruction: A Review of The Beatles’ Abbey Road

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There is only one thing to talk about when you talk about this album and that is its second half. Continue reading “The Penultimate Point of Destruction: A Review of The Beatles’ Abbey Road”