Monday, February 22, 2010

World Gone Wrong -- Bob Dylan, 1993

Like millions of others, I consider Bob Dylan to be the greatest songwriter of all time. In every song, his words transport you from your world into his. It's like stepping into a painting--You don't just listen to a Dylan song; you become part of it.

To me, however, there is something about Dylan that I love even more than his words -- The Voice. That is why I've chosen World Gone Wrong as the first album to review here. It's easy to get away with saying he's the best songwriter ever; even people that only know a few of his songs won't dispute that. But, listening to this album - 10 songs that he did not write - let's you better appreciate how talented Dylan is as a singer.

These are songs full of sadness, remorse, despair and weariness --- and those are the cheery ones (jk). When he repeatedly sings the line "all the friends I ever had are gone" on Delia, he sounds like a man who has reached bottom for the last time and "might never, never get up". On Love Henry, he sings a song from a woman's point of view -- she's just killed her lover rather than face losing him to the woman who waits for him back home. Two Soldiers tells the story of two young men promising to deliver a message to each other's loved ones if either of them is killed in battle; problem is - they both die. Throughout the album, Dylan's voice rises and drops, winds and bends like a raspy old harmonica, squeezing every drop of pain out of these dark, lonely songs.

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