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April 20, 2010 6:51 AM   Subscribe

The Answer, My Friend. Your own personal Best Bob Dylan Album calculator.
posted by shakespeherian (59 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
It looks like my favorite is Bob Dylan. I can buy that.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:54 AM on April 20, 2010


It got me down fast, I love Self Portrait, though I know I am in the minority.
posted by afu at 6:57 AM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I got Christmas in the Heart. I'm going back to bed.
posted by Catseye at 7:00 AM on April 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I got Another Side, which I quite like, but my favorites are Bringing It All Back Home, Blood on the Tracks and Time Out of Mind, depending what mood I'm in.
posted by Kattullus at 7:04 AM on April 20, 2010


It took me forever to find the path to my actual favourite: Blood on the Tracks.
posted by rocket88 at 7:08 AM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is fucking awesome.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:08 AM on April 20, 2010


Not bad, I only had to backtrack twice before reaching Street Legal.
posted by otio at 7:13 AM on April 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


42.
posted by Artw at 7:17 AM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


No one fessing up to Saved, huh?
posted by shakespeherian at 7:23 AM on April 20, 2010


This only works if you already know your favorite Bob Dylan album.
posted by Sfving at 7:44 AM on April 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


What about those of us who think that Bob Dylan is a wonderful songwriter but should have given his work to people who can actually, you know, sing?
posted by Concolora at 7:46 AM on April 20, 2010


I will fess up to saved* a few weeks out of any year. That album is incredible. His lyrics are as good as many of the old gospel standards, and the performance and production of the record is really fun and energetic, but not in a mid '80s sort of way like his weaker pop stuff from the decade.

(*he says "Nicodemus" not "naked penis")
posted by JBennett at 7:50 AM on April 20, 2010


WTF, Self-Portrait? 'I don't believe you... you're a liar!'

My faves are pretty much the same as Katullus', with maybe Desire in there somewhere.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:50 AM on April 20, 2010


Concolora. That's lame. Everyone does Dylan covers. Nothing's stopping them. I love all of Bob's voices.
posted by JBennett at 7:51 AM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Another Side of Bob Dylan. I really only like one track off that, which is "I Shall Be Free, No. 10." If we're talking about that period, I like The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan much more.

My actual favorite is the stereotypical one, which is Highway 61 Revisited. Nothing he's done since touches that, though Blood on the Tracks comes close.
posted by blucevalo at 7:56 AM on April 20, 2010


No one fessing up to Saved, huh?

On Safari, when I get to Saved, there's no «Back link. I spent 10 minutes looking for Blonde On Blonde, only to repeatedly end up at Saved and have to start over. Draw your own conclusions.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 7:59 AM on April 20, 2010


I got Planet Waves, which is not in my top six (Freewheelin', Bringin', Highway 61, JWH, BotT and Love & Theft).
posted by jeffen at 8:00 AM on April 20, 2010


As somebody that only knows Bob Dylan and his work in passing, I would have appreciated an actual tool that gave me a roadmap to accessing this huge body of work, instead of a bunch of in-jokes for Dylan fans that spat out his Christmas album at the end.

(I kinda liked the Christmas album, if only for its sheer over-the-top WTFness).
posted by Shepherd at 8:01 AM on April 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


It picked Desire for me. I'm kind of more partial to Blood on the Tracks, but I'll take it.
posted by ColdChef at 8:04 AM on April 20, 2010


Alvy Ampersand: WTF, Self-Portrait? 'I don't believe you... you're a liar!'

I have a friend whose taste in music is pretty much impeccable, she schooled me in The Who, The Jam and The Small Faces, for instance, but her favorite Bob Dylan album is Self Portrait. Now, I like Self Portrait, but as a collection of interesting bits and bobs, not as a whole, but she really, really likes it. So there are people who do really like that album.
posted by Kattullus at 8:07 AM on April 20, 2010


I'm a Blood on the Tracks/Bringing It/H61 man myself, but I couldn't find my way to any of those.

(Q to any other BotT afficiados, that I tried to investigate on the internet the other night: In 'L,R,atJoH' the line "Be careful not to touch the wall, there's a brand new coat of paint" - clue or red herring?)
posted by Flashman at 8:17 AM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I got Freewheelin' which is right (my favorite along with Blood on the Tracks)
posted by rmless at 8:25 AM on April 20, 2010


What about those of us who think that Bob Dylan is a wonderful songwriter but should have given his work to people who can actually, you know, sing?

Who would care what you think?
posted by philip-random at 8:25 AM on April 20, 2010


What about those of us who think that Bob Dylan is a wonderful songwriter but should have given his work to people who can actually, you know, sing?

Uh oh.

*hears distant sound of gates opening as the hounds are released*

There's gonna be blood on the ... oh never mind.
posted by freecellwizard at 8:29 AM on April 20, 2010


What about those of us who think that Bob Dylan is a wonderful songwriter but should have given his work to people who can actually, you know, sing?

Bob Dylan's voice, like coffee, scotch, truffles, Cassavetes, and all other necessary things, is an acquired taste.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:41 AM on April 20, 2010 [8 favorites]


Concolora: “What about those of us who think that Bob Dylan is a wonderful songwriter but should have given his work to people who can actually, you know, sing?”

He can clearly sing. Listen to New Morning.

He just sometimes chooses not to sing.

By the way, this calculator seems to be defective, as I can't seem to find a path to New Morning, which is clearly Dylan's greatest record.
posted by koeselitz at 8:45 AM on April 20, 2010


What about those of us who think that Bob Dylan is a wonderful songwriter but should have given his work to people who can actually, you know, sing?

Well I got Another Side, which is great (though my favorite is still Blonde on Blonde) and also serves as basically a list of songs that others would cover later, plus "It Ain't Me Babe."
posted by Navelgazer at 8:49 AM on April 20, 2010


I have a friend whose favorite Bob Dylan album is the I'm Not There soundtrack.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:50 AM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


The whole "Bob Dylan can't sing" canard is always ridiculous to me, because to believe that Bob Dylan can't sing, you have to have avoided every single album he released in the 1970s. And given that he'd fucking Bob Dylan, that's actually rather difficult.
posted by koeselitz at 8:51 AM on April 20, 2010


Another result for Another Side, here...
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:52 AM on April 20, 2010


By the way, this calculator seems to be defective, as I can't seem to find a path to New Morning, which is clearly Dylan's greatest record.


You can cheat with the raw XML. New Morning is <branch id='1.1.1.1.2.2.2.2.1.2.2.1.2.4.2'>. The top level is the first '1', follow the oher numbers down the tree.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 8:53 AM on April 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


Bob Dylan's voice, like coffee, scotch, truffles, Cassavetes, and all other necessary things, is an acquired taste.

And as such requires maturity to fully grasp.
posted by philip-random at 8:55 AM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


My idea of a good time consists of:
Playing campfire songs or analyzing poetry.
Confusing, alienating, and utterly disappointing others.
Nearly getting arrested in a moment of half-senility while trying to locate Bruce Springsteen’s childhood home.


I have to choose just one?
posted by Hypocrite_Lecteur at 8:57 AM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


So there are people who do really like [Self-Portrait].

Oh, I don't doubt that. I'm not opposed to it in any way and there's more than a couple tunes on it that I enjoy, I was just miffed that I only got to click the thingy twice before ending up with an album that I wouldn't place in my top five or ten.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:07 AM on April 20, 2010


I just saw an ad for a Jakob Dylan album. I'm never logging out again.
posted by box at 9:22 AM on April 20, 2010


Yeah, this is a funny site, but Bob deserves a more nuanced version of this system. It could actually be useful to new listeners and more entertaining for fans.

I wound up on Together Through Life, which is good, but not even close to a favorite of mine. I never found Blonde on Blonde, New Morning, Blood on the Tracks, or Time out of Mind.

But I guess this wasn't made for rabid Dylan fans like myself. Still, it makes for good conversation.
posted by JBennett at 9:26 AM on April 20, 2010


Hey, a Dylan thread! If all the dylanologists are here already, I might as well save me an AskMe: I'm going to be seeing Bob live next month, does anyone know what his current set sounds like?
posted by Dr Dracator at 10:06 AM on April 20, 2010


I couldn't figure out how to get to Blood on the Tracks, which is far and away my favorite. It did get me to Self Portrait, though, my second favorite. It was my first ever Dylan album: I rescued it from my older brother's closet when I was 11. I have loved it ever since even though it made no sense at all to me for the first five or so years that I listened to it obsessively (with Dylan, the sex, the drugs, the rock and the roll, they help with the comprehension) and I'm fairly sure it may have warped me permanently on any number of levels. What more can one ask?
posted by mygothlaundry at 10:06 AM on April 20, 2010


If you want to see his recent set lists with reviews (sometimes a little too forgiving) go to Bob links and scroll down a bit.

As an observation, the more chainsaw-ish nature of his voice these days guarantees a good number of walk-outs during every show
posted by jeffen at 10:16 AM on April 20, 2010


I saw him in November, 2008. I wasn't quite as jazzed* as this reviewer was, but to be fair, I'm not really the concert-going type. Still, a solid show, I think.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:29 AM on April 20, 2010


Er, -*.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:29 AM on April 20, 2010


Is he not doing that bad Tom Waits impersonation voice now?
posted by Artw at 10:44 AM on April 20, 2010


Nashville Skyline has been my favorite Dylan album as long as I can remember.

Of all the Dylan albums my dad had (and that I subsequently took when moving out of the house), it was the only one where Bob looked happy. I think that's probably why I liked it so much.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:59 AM on April 20, 2010


I saw that same show as Mr. Enthusiasm linked to above and it was pretty rocking (plus having two lesser-performed favourites like "I Believe In You and Blind Wilie McTell in the set list was excellent) but Dylan's voice, such as it now is, kept fading in and out which put a damper on things.
posted by jeffen at 11:00 AM on April 20, 2010


Mr. Enthusiasm?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:13 AM on April 20, 2010


Failed to land on Love and Theft. I just kind of realized off-hand the other day that it's the Dylan album I most like to listen to all the way through, at least in the spring of 2010.

Give or take a couple of songs, that Together Through Life is still real nice to put on, too.

My kid loves John Wesley Harding and the acoustic side of the Royal Albert Hall show, I thought because they're gentle (mostly) and help him fall asleep, but he has picked up all the words. "What's 'Ja make him run' and why did he ask her for some?", etc.

Never been a "desert island disc" sort, because I get tired of most records pretty quick. One nice thing about appreciating Dylan is that there's something for just about whatever mood or situation, and I still come across things that are New To Me, not being a collector or completist.
posted by kenlayne at 11:44 AM on April 20, 2010


kenlayne: My kid loves John Wesley Harding and the acoustic side of the Royal Albert Hall show, I thought because they're gentle (mostly) and help him fall asleep, but he has picked up all the words. "What's 'Ja make him run' and why did he ask her for some?", etc.

When I was a kid my dad would play me (and also later my sister) Bob Dylan songs on his guitar and sing as lullabies. There's no way I can ever be objective when it comes to Dylan, he's been a part of my life as long as I remember. He's almost like an uncle, more than just a recording artist anyway.
posted by Kattullus at 12:00 PM on April 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


The BEST Dylan album is Highway 61. I don't believe this can really be refuted as the Lord God Himself ordained it.

My favorite on the other hand keeps changing. Most recently, I'd have to say, Hard Rain ... just cuz.
posted by philip-random at 12:53 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


A friend once said that the main difference between Mariah Carey and Bob Dylan is that Mariah Carey has a great voice but is a very poor singer, whlie Bob Dylan doesn't have a great voice, but he actually sings very well.

One of the more accurate observations I've ever heard.
posted by Dr. Wu at 1:25 PM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


PS. It's hard NOT to choose Blood on the Tracks, but New Morning and Slow Train Coming are my dark horses. But, really, how can you pick just one?
posted by Dr. Wu at 1:26 PM on April 20, 2010


> Nashville Skyline has been my favorite Dylan album as long as I can remember.

I wouldn't argue that it's his best album, but it's definitely my favourite. When I was in high school I had a job at a golf course, and if it didn't rain often enough one of my tasks was running the (totally antiquated, even back then) sprinkler system at night. This consisted of driving a golf cart around and manually changing sprinkler heads by hand until all of the greens and tees had been watered. I usually started at 9 PM or so and finished up around three in the morning, and while I had mixed feelings about the job one of the nice things about it was that you could wear a Walkman while you made your rounds. And let me tell you; of all the tapes I went through that summer, Nashville Skyline made for the best soundtrack to riding around a deserted golf course as the sun set.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:59 PM on April 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


I tried hard to engineer things to get to Blood on the Tracks but it took me forever. I didn't know he used unknown backing musicians from Minnesota. But now I do! And the phrasings of the questions and answers made me laugh.

plus having two lesser-performed favourites like "I Believe In You and Blind Wilie McTell in the set list was excellent

He did Blind Willie McTell live??? Holy crap!

What about those of us who think that Bob Dylan is a wonderful songwriter but should have given his work to people who can actually, you know, sing?

Whenever I hear this I recommend Dylan's version of Moonshiner from the bootleg series. I don't understand anyone who could listen to this and say Dylan can't sing. (I will admit that for me today his voice doesn't have much range, but I'm interpreting you to mean he couldn't ever sing, which honestly is just wrong.)
posted by onlyconnect at 5:36 PM on April 20, 2010


I recommend Dylan's version of Moonshiner from the bootleg series. I don't understand anyone who could listen to this and say Dylan can't sing.

The one I go for is "One More Cup Of Coffee" (from Desire). Just listen where his voice goes in that first verse. Beautiful and chilling.

Can't find it on Youtube but I notice someone's got it posted here.
posted by philip-random at 6:42 PM on April 20, 2010


Oh, and Bob Forest's take on Moonshiner (from the I'm Not There soundtrack) is pretty damned riveting as well.
posted by philip-random at 6:44 PM on April 20, 2010


I was looking at one of my pal's CD collections the other day, and I noticed that he only had two Dylan albums--Blood on the Tracks and Time Out of Mind. How does that even happen?
posted by box at 6:53 PM on April 20, 2010


"True or false: The best Bob Dylan albums feature at least one song exposing in great detail the tribulations of a non-fictional, downtrodden, African-American protagonist."
posted by danb at 8:55 PM on April 20, 2010


My dark horse is Empire Burlesque. OK, it has that awful synth/drum business, and nearly derails "When the Night Comes Falling from the Sky", but didn't stop the latter from becoming one of my favorite Dylan tunes. Although it was memorably done live once by a blues guitarist who showed up on WXRT one day -- something I really wish I could have had a recording of.

Oh, and one of my favorite couplets is on that album: "You could ride like Annie Oakley, and you could shoot like Belle Star." Of course, each of those individuals was known for the other's listed skill, so either it's an egregious slip by a meticulous folk data-miner, or an unexpectedly subtle put-down in an otherwise incendiary breakup song.

Anyway, Blood on the Tracks (if "When the Night" is any clue) is my favorite album, although Dylan once said "A lot of people tell me they enjoy that album. It's hard for me to relate to that. I mean, it, you know, people enjoying the type of pain, you know?" OK, I raise my hand. I think I'm over that now, though, so if I relisten to everything my choice might change.
posted by dhartung at 11:39 PM on April 20, 2010


Oh, and not that anybody asked, but if you count compilations, my favorite Dylan album is The Bootleg Series, volume 1. If not, it's The Basement Tapes. If you don't think The Basement Tapes is a Dylan album, then it's Another Side of Bob Dylan.
posted by box at 7:06 AM on April 21, 2010


Am I the only one who got The Times They Are a-Changin’? It's probably correct.
posted by obloquy at 12:02 AM on April 22, 2010


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