Modern Times - Bob Dylan

Universal acclaim - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. 100
    Love And Theft was quite unlike any other pop album--apart, that is, from Modern Times, its direct and audacious sequel. [Sep 2006, p.72]
  2. His third straight masterwork. [7 Sep 2006, p.99]
  3. Perversion packed with allusions -- forgotten titles, purloined and paraphrased sources, pilfered public records and archives. This is what steeps the songs in American history instead of planting them in psycho wards, clinics, and retirement homes.
  4. Modern Times may not contain a single song that would rank among Dylan's all-time best, but it doesn't have to.
  5. Now, more than at any time since his first few folk albums, he sounds like a traditionalist. He's walking down that same road that Sonny and Cisco and Leadbelly walked down.
  6. The entire construction is a thing of grace -- conservative, and new under the sun.
  7. Intriguing, immediate, and quietly epic, Modern Times must rank among Dylan's finest albums.
  8. The slow-building atmospherics of Dylan's 1997 comeback album have given way to some of the most immediately accessible tunes in his catalog.
  9. 90
    It radiates the observant calm of old masters who have seen enough life to be ready for anything--Yeats, Matisse, Sonny Rollins. [Sep 2006, p.139]
  10. What makes the music so compelling is not its frame of reference... but the flair and originality with which it's put across. [Sep 2006, p.70]
  11. Might be the most upbeat feel-bad album of 2006.
  12. This swinging, sometimes mournful, often tender set of 10 songs proves an easy album to, well, love. [25 Aug 2006]
  13. Modern Times is a record of both giddy songwriting peaks and overall uniformity, a record whose music ultimately delivers and enriches its well-bred messages of realism and religion, work and devotion, the certitude of decay and the decay of certitude.
  14. The biggest disappointment here is that Modern Times is probably Dylan's least-surprising release in decades-- it's the logical continuation of its predecessor, created with the same band he's been touring with for years, fed from familiar influences, and sprinkled with all the droll, anachronistic bits now long-expected.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 263 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 17 out of 160
  1. Jan 29, 2014
    An accessible record with master class song-writing, Dylan has never failed at writing a great song. His vocals are painfully gruff, and commands your attention with each track. It's a patient listen, took me a few times to really feel it, and delve my way through each track.

    All In All, Modern Times is a great record, and another one of Dylan's masterpieces. A-
    Full Review »
  2. Aug 2, 2013
    The best Dylan album of the 2000s and possibly the best of his career so far. I prefer listening to it on vinyl, Spirit on the Water sounds a completely different song when on vinyl. Full Review »
  3. Apr 26, 2012
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. In creating 'Modern Times' Dylan has drawn upon traditional American music and has created a conservative album similar to his two previous studio albums. Despite misgivings that may arise from Dylan fanatics who have yet to hear the album and fear that its preservative nature renders the album irrelevant or worst of all boring, it takes just one listen to disprove this. 'Modern Times' is an attempt to make an observation about the state of the current world (hence the title) without making any specific references (except for the infamous mention of Alicia Keys in the opening track that says more about the 64 year old's music from his zenith era than it does of Keys and contemporary popular music ) to society. The lyrics are typical of Dylan in that they are cerebral and in fused with religious themes. However this album is not the mind bender of Dylan's landmark 1965-1966 albums and the lyrics and tunes are more simplistic. The relative simplicity of the lyrics makes this album more commercially appealing than a majority of Dylan's former albums but this doesn't mean that the lyrics have been dumbed down for the sake of a cheap and easy sell to the masses. Instead this means that the album is more accessible than is common with Dylan recordings and that the messages have merely been sugarcoated. Of course not all of the songs on this album detail Dylan's impressions of the world. This album is a combination of songs that are a loose commentary on the world ('Thunder on the Mountain', 'Workingman's Blues #2', 'The Levee's Gonna Break' and 'Ain't Talkin'), songs about relationships ('Spirit on the Water', 'Someday Baby'), a combination of both ('Rollin' and Tumblin', 'Nettie Moore') and a theme that must be close to Dylan's heart at the time of recording; aging and death (Beyond the Horizon). Although all of these themes seem to be entwined with one another across the album particular songs give particualy themes more prevalence than others.The affect that the album impresses upon the listener is that it is expertly done.The tone, the spirit, the singing, the music and above all the lyrics are as engaging and exciting as some of the man's best work.

    My rating: A+ (Perfection)

    Strongest song: Workingman's Blues #2
    Weakest song: When the Deal Goes Down
    Full Review »