Title: Blood On The Tracks
Artist: Bob Dylan
Had since: 2005
How I got it: A Greek fellow by the name of Spiros Katsas sent me a bunch of CDs one time. This was one of them.
Why I have it: Because it's Dylan. He's kind of necessary.
I actually never cared much for Dylan. I had Highway 61 Revisited on cassette once, and it was good. I used to have Bringing It All Back Home and Blonde On Blonde and a random bunch of tracks from his Greatest Hits CD too.
All good stuff, right? Right (Except Blonde On Blonde -- I couldn't get through that one). His albums are so full of classic songs that it starts to seem absurd in a way that's comparable only with the Beatles, but in his case it's more impressive because he was just one guy.
Maybe that's what put me off of him for so long. His legacy is so weighty, it's like there's no way to just sit back and listen to this music on its own terms, removed from the context of rock history and groundbreaking lyricism and the man's own enigmatic public image. Just how do you approach the greatest songwriter of the 20th century? How do you accept that a guy with such an ugly singing voice created such beautiful songs?
Anyway I'm over most of that now. This is the album that sort of helped the puzzle come together for me a bit. Each song is outstanding in its own right and demonstrates his range as a songwriter, which is weird considering every song is basically about the same thing, but that's part of the appeal. This guy was just a master at capturing very specific emotions and distilling them into song form. The songs on this album convey everything from contented resignation to fond reminiscing to bitter venom to guarded optimism -- all the emotions people go through when a relationship ends.
That's the Dylan that interests me. If you're turned off by the idea of him, like I was back when I associated him with his political/protest songs, think of him as more of a humanist. It's impossible to listen to an album like this and not feel like he tapped into something universal. That's what we look for in music (and most art forms) anyway -- connection.