Bob Dylan's first new album in five years, the highly-anticipated Modern Times includes 10 new songs recorded this past winter, and features Dylan on the keyboard, guitar, harmonica and vocals, and accompanied by his touring band. Modern Times is seen as the third release in an outstanding triology along with Time Out Of Mind and Love and Theft and is set to be another groundbreaking record for the music icon.
At a time when the majority of those his age are drifting into retirement, 65-year-old Bob Dylan has put the capper on a three-record run that ranks with the best in his storied, 44-album career. Like Time Out of Mind
and Love and Theft
before it, Modern Times
is a rootsy, blues-soaked pool of the purest form of Americana--skipping the progressive bells or whistles for an understated backing by his touring band. Dylan's voice, which cracks, rasps and moans from the pop singer's pulpit, hasn't been this rich and emotive since 1976's Desire
. And while his lyrics prolong his steadfast allusions to a higher power and his own immortality, they are not without the Dylan mirth, as when he sings of tracking pop queen Alicia Keys from Hell's Kitchen to Tennessee in "Thunder on the Mountain," the album's opener, which teams with "Someday Baby" and "Rollin' and Tumblin'" (for which Dylan misguidedly claims writing credit) as the record's most fiery numbers. Still, it's the Dylan that tells of a slave-loving owner ("Nettie Moore"), brings New Orleans to the front burner ("The Levee's Gonna Break") and plays the part of an eloquent lounge singer ("Spirit on the Water," "When the Deal Goes Down" and "Beyond the Horizon") that makes Modern Times
sound just like old times. --Scott Holter
Dylan Classics and Collections