Average User Score: 8.5Apr 26, 2012This review contains spoilers, click expand 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… Expand