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Blonde on Blonde is overrated


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Showing 1-25 of 37 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 30, 2013 12:38:07 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 30, 2013 12:40:23 PM PST
El Rey Lin says:
I had the same experience when I was growing up. I started off with "Bringing It All Back Home" and then "Highway 61 Revisited", which were both amazing. Everything I read said "Blonde On Blonde" was his true masterpiece, so I couldn't wait to get it.

What a letdown! The big difference between "Blonde On Blonde" and the two 1965 albums is that Dylan barely tries to sing on BoB. Yes, we know he doesn't have one of rock's greatest voices, but at least on the 1965 albums, we're listening to actual tunes where he is singing actual notes. Throughout BoB, he does this almost un-listenable half-talking/half-singing thing that ruins what might have been nice songs. Imagine if he'd actually sung "I Want You", "Stuck Inside of Mobile", and "Just Like A Woman" the way he sang on his previous two albums. They'd actually be classic, much-loved rock songs. But because he didn't even bother to make the effort to sing on BoB, we're left with very disappointing tracks that appeal mainly to rock critics fixated on the intellectual appeal of Dylan's lyrics.

I'm glad I found this thread, because the unanimous critical raving about this album has always puzzled me.

Posted on Dec 24, 2013 4:30:47 PM PST
Bob Dylan, is a lot of different guys and the guy who made Blonde On Blonde isn't the same as the guy that made Blood On The Tracks.....Or is he?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 21, 2013 7:45:25 PM PST
Hinch says:
ANY DAY NOW is a great album! I had never heard 'Sad Eyed Lady...' or been a Baez or Dylan fan before I heard that album in '69 or '70.

Posted on Jan 19, 2013 1:26:06 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 19, 2013 1:32:25 PM PST
alexwilbury says:
"Blonde on Blonde may be overrated to those who don't like a whole side of Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands."

Despite me being a huge Dylan fan, I never could "get" that song until I heard Joan Baez's cover. She almost had me in tears of joy with her rendition of the song! Dylan's version, however, still sounds goofy and self-indulgent to me. I guess a few of his songs just don't "work" until others do them, like Adele and "Make You Feel My Love" or The Band and "When I Paint My Masterpiece".

Posted on Jan 19, 2013 12:02:09 AM PST
Chet Fakir says:
Yes Blonde On Blonde is over rated. It's still a great album though, just not as good as The Times They Are a-Changin', Bringing It All Back Home or Highway 61 Revisited but it's better than a lot that followed until Blood On The Tracks. BOB is a self indulgent album and experimental which are not necessarily bad things.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 18, 2013 12:00:44 PM PST
Johnny Bee says:
Worth the price of admission for Visions Of Johanna (Album Version), alone. Terrific album!

Posted on Jan 18, 2013 9:36:39 AM PST
Nothing Mr. Zimmerman has done is over rated please

Posted on Jan 18, 2013 7:34:08 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 18, 2013 7:37:19 AM PST
vivazappa says:
Blonde on Blonde may be overrated to those who don't like a whole side of Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands.
Which I like a lot so NO it's not overrated.

Rainy Day, Mobile, Pill Box Hat, You Go Your Way and Sweet Marie...COME ON MAN!

Posted on Jan 7, 2013 1:03:06 AM PST
Arseface says:
I came here thinking this thread was about groupies.

Posted on Dec 28, 2012 8:36:05 AM PST
zlh67 says:
I get why some fans don't get "Blonde on Blonde" as it is a double-cd with a lot to take in and it goes some places the 2 albums before it don't go. But for me "Blonde on Blonde" is one of my favorites from him, probably my favorite album of his 60's work (for later works, I think I might like "Love and Theft" a little more...).

There are a few tracks on there I can take or leave, but most of the album makes my "Best of Dylan" playlist:

Rainy Day Women
Visions of Johanna
I Want You
Stuck Inside Mobile w/the Memphis Blues Again
Leopard-Skin Pill Box Hat
Just Like A Woman
Most Likely You Go Your Way...
4th Time Around
Obviously 5 Believers

The imagery of the lyrics in "Stuck" and the over-the-top vocal delivery along with the humor in "Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat" are unique to this album imo and those 2 tracks in particular make Blonde a fave album of mine. Rainy Day Women is so often misunderstood as a dopey (no pun intended) pro-marijuana song but like all Dylan's best work this one can be interpreted several different ways (another way being as an ode to peer pressure, ie, they'll "stone" you in the biblical sense in all kinds of different ways for not doing what "they" want, and that kind of pressure was something Dylan could relate to after he declined to be drafted as the leader of the 60's protest movement and after he was labeled a "Judas" for going electric instead of sticking more closely to his folk roots).

Like any album by any artist, it clicks with some and others just don't see its appeal. This one seems to be the one that divides his fanbase more than Hiway 61 or BIABH, but most consider it right up there with those 2 and so do I.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2012 9:35:35 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 27, 2012 9:36:50 AM PST
Not me...can't get into it. There are a few good songs but the rest are second rate Dylan. Nashville was a more complete finshed record to me whereas JWH sounds like outtakes.

Posted on Dec 27, 2012 8:11:57 AM PST
John Wesley Harding overrated? I know its recognized as being significant in the fact that after he healed from the motorcycle accident, his sound became more singular and roots-folk-rock from hanging out with the Band at the time(i.e. Basement Tapes). I've never felt Harding to be overrated, but maybe I haven't talked to enough Dylan fans? In a sense he returned to the more simplistic stylings of Another Side but from another side(pun intended). I mean, Wicked Messenger, Drifter's Escape, Watchtower, Dear Landlord, Frankie Lee, St. Augustine; there's something pastoral about the vibe of the record in its simplicities. I enjoy that record very much...

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2012 5:39:29 AM PST
JWH...now there's an overrated album. Nashville is one of my faves.

Posted on Dec 27, 2012 1:12:48 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 27, 2012 6:00:35 PM PST
Hinch says:
My favorite Dylan albums: John Wesley Harding, Blood On The Tracks, Desire, all his early albums up to and including Bringing It All Back Home, Slow Train Coming, Good As I Been To You. Least favorites: Nashville Skyline, New Morning.

Posted on Dec 26, 2012 11:19:53 PM PST
Not at all! I love it!

Posted on Dec 26, 2012 9:54:09 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 26, 2012 10:09:59 PM PST
alexwilbury says:
"@indydefense: I don't see how Blonde is any less than what was found on HWY 61 or Bringing it all Back Home. All 3 are equally related and natural progressions within his career at that time."

The difference for me is the other two parts of the trilogy have a very aggressive and streamlined feel to them. And although they do have some filler songs, the filler manages to feel essential, unlike Blonde on Blonde, where the filler drags the whole album down. I know some people might want to burn me at the stake for saying this, but I actually rank Self-Portrait higher than Blonde on Blonde, as it is a more pleasant and enjoyable listen for me than Dylan whining his way through "One of Us Must Know" or doing a boring Beatles impression on "4th Time Around".

"I did rent it. From what I recall it was interesting. Only saw it once...I'd really like to check out Renaldo and Clara the infamous 4 hour film that he made during Rolling Thunder. I've caught snippets of footage thru Youtube but snippets only. I don't think Bob is very proud of what was eventually the final product and unless I missed the boat, there's no official release of this film."

I've always felt that, like Elvis and The Beatles, Dylan needs to stick to what he does best: music. However, he did do some interesting film editing on "Eat the Document"; Dylan's editing on that makes Michael Bay's look like Kubrick's in its rapidness and randomness.

"@Buck Buckaw: but you see, that's the thing--to me the music on BOB sounds anything but being driven right off the cliff. More like to bed with a nice glass of warm milk. ;) "

Bingo. You and I are in a small minority among Dylan fans!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2012 9:41:10 PM PST
Oh no doubt.

The calliope sound that runs through the album can get very testing.

I think he was trying to piss off as many folksters (and others) as he could.

Amphetamine will do that to ya.

Posted on Dec 26, 2012 9:27:52 PM PST
@Buck Buckaw: believe me, I've tried to get into what others see about it. I've read many lyrical analyses of how daring and "Zen-like" Dylan was on this album. Subverting identities, submitting questions with no answers, daring to parody Lennon, etc. I sort of see a kind of "edge of cliff" feeling to the words, where he leaves it all hanging, but I'd appreciate it more if it came with music I actually liked.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2012 9:23:37 PM PST
Funny, I get the opposite impression, but that might be some of the reason why we are so far apart on this album.

But in saying that, I'm probably not the person to best defend this album.

Posted on Dec 26, 2012 9:17:38 PM PST
@Buck Buckaw: but you see, that's the thing--to me the music on BOB sounds anything but being driven right off the cliff. More like to bed with a nice glass of warm milk. ;)

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2012 9:15:31 PM PST
This is Dylan with his foot jammed down on the peddle.

He was driving the music so hard that for some he drove it right off the cliff.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2012 7:20:49 PM PST
@BuckBuckaw: it's not so much that "Blonde On Blonde" is sprawling (I love the White Album to pieces!), but that the musical style of many of the songs just does not appeal to me. The rock'n'roll on BIABH and H61R was very focused, rollicking, rhythmic, and prickly, with a bit of a 50s retro feel but with Dylan's contemporary lyrics and attitude on top. It moved and grooved; it *rocked*. The rock style on "Blonde On Blonde" is this kind of meandering, laid back, rootsy thing with (IMO) unmemorable melodies, plodding rhythms and Al Kooper's organ attempting atmospheric fills that wander on and on...and on. Even songs that are a bit more sprightly (ie. "I Want You") run catchy melodic ideas well into the ground.

Lyrically, it's an interesting set with some arresting themes and imagery, but I don't think the words are as mindblowing and insightful as the fans do (with a few exceptions). "Johanna" isn't the only thing that's good on it--there are a few others on it I can listen to. But overall I find it hard-going compared to the previous two, almost a chore to get through to the end, as if I have to force this "good" music down my throat like brussel sprouts or something. When I start yawning about five minutes in, I know it's a bad sign. Again, I realize my opinion of the album is in a small minority. However, even those who claim the album is as good or better in quality than BIABH and H61R, would have to admit that musically, it is in a somewhat different style. That difference is basically where I part ways with the rest of you.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2012 7:01:35 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 26, 2012 7:02:03 PM PST
Oh, I've got that on boot.

Talk about ramshackle, but it has some great footage from his "Rolling thunder tour".

I saw that tour. One of the BEST darn shows I've seen, and I was up a tree in the rain.

"One more cup of coffee before I go
Into the valley below."

Great stuff.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 26, 2012 6:58:46 PM PST
It's the other side of "I'm not there" for me. Sort of Dylans own version of his mythology.

Posted on Dec 26, 2012 6:45:51 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 26, 2012 6:48:43 PM PST
I did rent it. From what I recall it was interesting. Only saw it once...I'd really like to check out Renaldo and Clara the infamous 4 hour film that he made during Rolling Thunder. I've caught snippets of footage thru Youtube but snippets only. I don't think Bob is very proud of what was eventually the final product and unless I missed the boat, there's no official release of this film.
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Discussion in:  Rock forum
Participants:  15
Total posts:  37
Initial post:  Dec 26, 2012
Latest post:  Dec 30, 2013

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