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Someone explain to me why this album is so highly rated I just don't understand it. Lyrics are not enought for me it has to be listenable also and Bob Dylan is not very listenable. Velvet Underground is another band or artist who I can't listen to also.
Well Blond on Blonde is one of things that you just have to understand. I find the album very listenable, probably one of the most of Dylan's catalogue (excluding recent stuff and the two albums that preceded it). You'll never find more whimsical yet talented blues anywhere, especially astounding considering Dylan's situation at the time.
As a non-excellent vocalist myself I get a lot of encouragement knowing Dylan can make great albums without having a great voice (and also not care about it!). He showed that it's not what you have, it's what you do with it.
I'm going to--gasp--agree with jonmarck. I think. I listened to it the first time about 15 years ago, and just did not get it..."Rainy Day Women" was fun and there were some good songs, but it didn't really click.
Then, a couple of years ago, I got on a Dylan jag and started listening to his albums (starting with The Freewheelin') in order (I got as far as Desire). That's the perfect way to approach Blonde on Blonde, by seeing what led up to it. Although I still prefer both Bringing It All Back Home and Highway 61, I think I get what Blonde is about now; in 1965, Bob proved how effortlessly he could make great music. In 1966, he took that ability down to Tennessee and just messed around in the studio. Which is not to downgrade Blonde--it's a fine album, and while it's not among my favorites, I certainly see why it's rated so highly.
I don't know why, but I have never been bothered by his voice. When I first heard it as a kid I thought it was different but I never thought it was bad. The only time I thought it was awful was on his MTV Unplugged album.
The lyrics are fine, but if it was "only the lyrics" he wouldn't be Bob Dylan. He'd be Leonard Cohen.
Everyone criticizes Dylan's voice, but I honestly think he is one of the most influential vocalists of the last fifty years. I hear Dylan's voice all over the place these days.
Overrated for sure is Bob Dylan but Blonde on Blonde is not that bad to me. The Stones and the Who have put out better albums than him.
Woot, I agree with jonmarck and schleuse. Blonde on Blonde is a wonderfully crafted album, perhaps the most coherent of all Dylan albums, but it doesn't have the supersongs that Bringing It All Back Home and Highway 61 Revisited do. That being said, it doesn't have any songs less than great either. It takes a little time to get to appreciate it, but once you do.. it's amazing.
FYI: When this AM top albums first came out,Blonde On Blonde was the most acclaimed album of the 20th century.
As a vocalist-lover, I think Bob Dylan is a great one, because (along with Lou Reed) he managed to be a great singer without having a great voice.
That is very difficult to do.
Personally I rank Blonde on Blonde very high, probably second or third in BD's discography (Blood on the tracks being first), and it’ll be in my top 30 I guess.
The atmosphere on the album is really unique. It is more laid back than Highway 61 for instance (I love Highway 61 but the the all-garage approach with out-of tune guitars and harmonicas upset me a bit), and I prefer Robbie Robertson as a session guitarist than Bloomfield.
Sure, there are no smash hits but you'll find wonderful songs like Rainy Day, I Want You, Stuck inside… and last but not least, Sad Eyed Lady of the lowlands.
First of all, “Blonde on Blonde” is my favourite Dylan album. An album that closed a five-year burst of apparently endless inspiration and continuous progression. A very cohesive album recorded in NY and Nashville in scattered dates in the middle of that turbulent period when electric Dylan faced angry audiences night after night (by the way the scattered recording schedule was usual before “Pet Sounds”-“Sgt. Pepper’s” era).
Dylan not abandoned the automatic poetry of his previous two albums but he pointed toward more personal matters, writing songs about his relationships with different women (Joan Baez in “Visions of Johanna”, Eddie Sedgwick in “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat” or Sarah Lowndes in “Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands”). The lyrics were cryptic and the music was messy but this was not only part of the charm but maybe its main appeal. He tried to find a unique sound equidistant from pop-rock and roots-music and he succeeded. In Dylan’s own words: "The closest I ever got to the sound I hear in my mind was on individual bands in the Blonde on Blonde album. It's that thin, that wild mercury sound. It's metallic and bright gold, with whatever that conjures up. That's my particular sound.”
And in my opinion it includes a lot of, yes, supersongs: from the festive “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” to the deep “Visions of Johanna”, from the poppy “Absolutely Sweet Marie” to the bluesy “Obviously Five Believers”, from the angry “One of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)” to the moving “Just Like a Woman”. And a special mention to the beautiful “I Want You”.
Hmmm, it's been a while since I played the thing. Here we go.
Scleuse, if you ever decide to sample the post-Desire period, make sure to listen to Oh Mercy. He did some quite forgettable albums between Desire and Time Out of Mind, but also some criminally overlooked ones, I'd say.
First thing I liked about this album when I first heard it was Al Kooper's organ playing. His instincts towards what's going on around him magnifies whatever the music had to begin with. The music would've been difficult to get into, but Kooper played through it like he believed in it, and his playing seemed simple, so his playing was like a bridge to the rest of the album.
I guess it's a matter of taste. The first time I heard Dylan I was hooked, he is by far my favourite artist. As for his voice, I love it, it is a perfect vehicle to deliver his lyrics, I wouldn't have it any other way.
Blonde on Blonde deserves its place without question. As for it being listenable, it is, it always brings a smile to my face. Just give it time. Same deal with VU.
Highway 61 belongs in the top 3.
When I fist listened to BOB I could not get into it. Whether it was the out and out blues nature of the album or the nasal singing it just did not strike me as his other classics did. But time passed and I came back to it and eventually its quality broke through. Now if I ever think of turning it on I know i'm going to be enthralled. But it takes time and patience. After all if something requires great efforts of digging it must be something special.
Oh and yeah Rainy Day Women does suck!