Modern Times - Bob Dylan
Modern Times Image

Universal acclaim - based on 29 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 263 Ratings

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  • Summary: Dylan's first studio release since his 2001 hit 'Love And Theft' is his 44th album overall.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. Intriguing, immediate, and quietly epic, Modern Times must rank among Dylan's finest albums.
  2. Modern Times may not contain a single song that would rank among Dylan's all-time best, but it doesn't have to.
  3. 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]
  4. 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.
  5. Here Dylan has written a great part and acts it out beautifully. And, as usual, everything is out in the open but nothing, absolutely nothing, is revealed.
  6. It's hard to hear Modern Times' music over the inevitable standing ovation and the thuds of middle-aged critics swooning in awe. When you do, you find something not unlike its predecessor, Love and Theft.
  7. Whereas Chaplin's sharply drawn social comment is rightly considered a modern classic, Dylan's Modern Times -- sung in a strangely affected croak you'd expect to hear from Leon Redbone's grandfather -- comes off like a feeble anachronism in which our man cynically attempts to pass off public-domain blues and folk tunes as his own by changing a few words.

See all 29 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 17 out of 160
  1. 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. Expand
  2. Apr 26, 2012
    This review contains spoilers. 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
  3. Sep 7, 2010
    Not as great as Love and Theft, but Modern Times is a hell of a record. Dylan continues to let us know that he is back; quite a fun album. The times may be a changing but Bobby manages to stay his brilliant self Expand
  4. 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-
  5. Nov 9, 2011
    Spirit on the water says all what this album is about - "You think I'm over the hill, You think I'm past my prime,Let me see what you got..."
    Dylan emphatically proves he's still got plenty in the locker here. Following on strongly from Modern Theft, this is up there with the master songwriters best work. 10 tracks of the highest calibre. Country blues at it's best. His vocals are surprisingly good on this and the backing band he has here play a stormer as well.
  6. Jul 15, 2011
    Bought this album while living in California. Every time "Spirit on the Water" comes on, I'm taken right back to those highways that flow into San Francisco Bay. From beginning to end, this is what you've come to love about Dylan. His homage to earlier music is dead on and some of these gems could have been pulled from the 1920s. "Workingman Blues #2" is another highlight and "Ain't Talkin'" is already being hailed as another great Dylan work. Pick it up. Expand

See all 160 User Reviews

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