'Considered, elegiac and richly allusive, this austere gem may be Dylan’s best album in 40 years' Bryan Applyard , Sunday Times july 2020
This is his first album since Tempest 2012. I read a wonderful review – “So Bob, you’re 80 next year; what have you to say for yourself?“ the overall effect is austere, serious and pared down. It is a mesmeric and magnificent piece of work.
"The songs vary from romantic to surreal. His rhyming is as ingenious, playful and varied as ever.” Lyrically Dylan is operating at a peak not seen since his albums Blood on the Tracks and Blonde on Blonde.
SONGS: Key West (Philosopher Pilot)/ Black Rider/ Crossing the Rubicon/ I sing of love/ I sing of betrayal,/ I Contain multitudes/ False Prophet/ My Own Version of You. And the Lovely romantic ballad – I have made up my mind to give myself to you. Dylan writes, “Can you tell me what it means to be or not to be.’
Another link – the assassination of John F Kennedy at the center of Murder most foul, and in a sense of the center of entire album, suggesting, as it does, a dark cloud, which may be death or may be Trump, from which there is no escape.
On the Lyrics on Murder most Foul - “Visiting morgues and monasteries/ looking for the necessary body part” with Freud and Marx looking on. Plus others - Edgar Allan Poe, William Blake, the bluesman jimmy reed, Elvis, Presley, Allen Ginsberg, jack Kerouac, Dizzy Miss Lizzy, Tom Dooley. This is an assertion that culture comes first, history is a footnote; a long one, but a footnote nonetheless. Culture, like the individual, contains everything, right or wrong, good or bad. Everything is double-edged.
"Whitman was similarly obsesses with the assignations of his friend Abraham Lincoln. His two most famous poems – ‘Oh Captain! My Captain! – “When Lilacs last in the Dooryard Bloomd” – are about the terrible moment..
"The album celebrated the noble conviction – Whitman’s conviction – that you can’t sing about anything without singing about everything. With this album Dylan announces himself as Whitman’s child. As a way of saying we contain, like Whitman all contradictory possibilities.
“I’m not what I was; things aren’t what they were.” Back to when he told journalists, you cant put me in a box.” The backing is sparse but precise, and beautifully exact in its evocation of genres – ballad, blues and so on.. also a kind of list of American musical forms.” Whitman’s attempted to contain the entire country.