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How Did Bob Dylan Get So Weird?

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  • How Did Bob Dylan Get So Weird?

    Interesting (imo) read from the recent New York Magazine.


    If Bob Dylan is a question, maybe this is the answer. Given the chance, Dylan will give the audience his art, unadulterated, as he creates it, and nothing more. He believes it’s a corruption of his art to be directed by someone else’s sensibility. In its own weird way, isn’t this one sacred connection between artist and audience? It might be nicer if he did things differently. It might be more palatable, more commercially successful. (He might be somewhere by now.) This is what ties together his signal creations, his ongoing shows, and even the wretched albums of the ’80s and ’90s; what he does might be sublime and ineffable or yet also coarse and unsuccessful; it is what it is, defined by where it comes from, not what it should be. Even his remoteness is a by-product; it’s what he deserves after having given his all. Call the work art, call it crap, call it Spanish boots of Spanish leather, but in the end it’s the creation of an artist who defies us to ask for something more.

  • #2
    I should add that I don't think it brings anything new to the discussion, and it takes a lot of words to get to a conclusion many have already reached, but it's not a bad summary of some of the key points in reaching that conclusion.

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    • #3
      Good stuff/thanks for posting!

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Lit View Post
        I should add that I don't think it brings anything new to the discussion, and it takes a lot of words to get to a conclusion many have already reached, but it's not a bad summary of some of the key points in reaching that conclusion.
        Overlooking your overt negativity, which is such downer, I love your follow-up addendum.

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        • #5
          "We think of Dylan in a pantheon of great rock stars, at or near the top of a select list that includes the Stones, Springsteen, maybe U2, but not too many other active artists. But he behaves much differently. He’s released more albums than Bruce Springsteen in the past 25 years and played more shows than Springsteen, the Stones, and U2 combined. Yet he hardly ever does interviews and does virtually nothing to publicize his albums or tours. For someone who seems to be in such plain sight, he remains hidden, present but opaque, an open book written in cipher. Normal questions don’t seem to do him justice. You want to ask: What is Bob Dylan? Why is Bob Dylan? After listening to him since I was a kid and seeing him live for—gulp—nearly 40 years, I think I’m beginning to figure it out."

          perhaps another artist.....Neil Young.....you never know what you are going to get......and I like it that way....hope to see Bob again in the fall....

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          • #6
            Originally posted by innertube View Post
            perhaps another artist.....Neil Young.....you never know what you are going to get......and I like it that way....hope to see Bob again in the fall....
            I agree. They are similar in that and other ways.

            In movies, I think of Woody Allen in a similar way. Always putting out his art, good or bad, as a reflection of where he's at now. Not trying to make a final, definitive or "perfect" statement about anything. Just creating.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by 20-20 View Post
              Overlooking your overt negativity, which is such downer, I love your follow-up addendum.
              I usually call him Negative Nelly when we hang out.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Lit View Post
                I agree. They are similar in that and other ways.

                In movies, I think of Woody Allen in a similar way. Always putting out his art, good or bad, as a reflection of where he's at now. Not trying to make a final, definitive or "perfect" statement about anything. Just creating.
                yes...yes....where they are at right now...may not be there the next day....like the wind....right or wrong....or is there right or wrong..??..not trying to make a hit or anything else just their art...look at NY current show from just the other night....no longer promoting his record....just trying to say something for today...??....



                2014-08-03
                Skeppsholmen, Stockholm, Sweden
                Stockholm Music & Arts

                w/ Crazy Horse


                1. Love And Only Love
                2. Powderfinger
                3. Standing In The Light Of Love
                4. Days That Used To Be
                5. Living With War
                6. Love To Burn
                7. Name Of Love
                8. Blowin' In The Wind
                9. Heart Of Gold
                10. Barstool Blues
                11. Psychedelic Pill
                12. Cortez The Killer
                13. Rockin' In The Free World
                ---
                14. Who's Gonna Stand Up And Save The Earth?

                not that he does it like Bob or anyone else.....what do I know..??

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by innertube View Post
                  yes...yes....where they are at right now...may not be there the next day....like the wind....right or wrong....or is there right or wrong..??..not trying to make a hit or anything else just their art...

                  Agree, especially in the studio. Live though, both Neil & Bob tend to play a lot of fan favs along with the newest stuff. Though I do remember Neil's Greendale tour. Ouch! I noticed a lot of folks checking the time rather regularly as the show WORE on. Most seemed t stick it out however, and we were rewarded with a short but intense set of favs at the very end. His FarmAid shows are usually like that as well.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ohio View Post
                    I usually call him Negative Nelly when we hang out.
                    Only because I told you I didn't like being called Debbie Downer.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Lit View Post
                      Only because I told you I didn't like being called Debbie Downer.
                      True dat

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                      • #12
                        I like Bill Wyman (the writer) but kinda thought the piece was lame. Better question to ask might be: When did being a Dylan FAN become weird? Answer might be another question: When wasn't it weird? And why shouldn't it BE weird?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Baconwrapped View Post
                          I like Bill Wyman (the writer) but kinda thought the piece was lame. Better question to ask might be: When did being a Dylan FAN become weird? Answer might be another question: When wasn't it weird? And why shouldn't it BE weird?
                          Yeah, hence my addendum. At this point I feel like Greil Marcus has already attempted to ask and answer every good and bad question about Dylan, so I tire of the exercise quickly and just read these types pieces looking for historical or anecdotal tidbits that I didn't know, or that I knew and forgot. Marcus lost me on the over-analysis a long time ago, and now I just like to see and hear where Bob is at for myself. I still find him a tremendously interesting and compelling character.

                          Mercifully, at least Wyman used a lot fewer words than Marcus usually does.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Lit View Post

                            Wait a minnit. First he says " it might be more commercially successful " and then cites "the wretched albums of the '80s & '90s.
                            How does the guy measure success?
                            Didn't Dylan win a Grammy in the '90s?
                            Yes, I thought so.

                            I don't think Dylan is weird.
                            What I find weird is people getting paychecks for writing fluff like the above.

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                            • #15
                              I only go to his shows if I like the opener. 0/6 for Dylan. Not a hero for his live shows. If he could, he'd retire. I can't save money, either, so we both continue...

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