Bob Dylan – Bringing it All Back Home Review

An explosive collection of tracks is found on Bringing it All Back Home. Bob Dylan’s desire to incorporate electric music, move away from protest movements and spur on some new sounds marks his fifth studio album, a grand crashing together of so many details and discoveries. Dylan does not shed all of his old tricks though. His compatibility with the blues is still a keen and awakened feature, but not as pressing as it was in his previous four albums. Still, no artist can truly remove themselves from their roots. As hard as Dylan may try to do so with Bringing it All Back Home, he is not convincing anyone. Those blues roots are here to stay, and thankfully he doesn’t batter them away too much.

His focus is elsewhere. Moving away from that protest voice image and fixating on good, clean music, Bringing it All Back Home is arguably one of the greatest albums of all time, let alone of Dylan’s discography. Not a bad song in sight. Featuring the first Top 40 for Dylan in Subterranean Homesick Blues, a folk-like song for Maggie’s Farm and Dylan’s most poignant acoustic track, Mr. Tambourine Man, the album features some of the all-time greats. That doesn’t even touch upon the contemplative It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue or the reserved brilliance of Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream. Such a collection of intense and incredible songs should be no surprise. It is still a stunning collection. Eleven tracks that hope to extend the blur of electric and acoustic. Dylan does well to break down the idea that the two genres were fighting against one another.

Should it be any surprise that Bringing it All Back Home brings unity to the electric and acoustic debate? One side for each. Separate them out, but still include them with one another. Dylan plies his skills as a ballad writer with Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream, a six-minute epic that feels fun, loose and free. Most of the tracks featured here do feel that way. Fun and loose but completely noble in their stance as innovative brilliance. Closing out with It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue gives the album a stunning delicacy. Lyrically, the strongest collection of songs Dylan had contributed in one place. His previous works had their highlights, but Bringing it All Back Home is beyond the pale.

These are tracks that have personal poignancy to them. It is the first Dylan album that can be considered truly perfect. His previous instalments were close, but Bringing it All Back Home, in comparison, is leagues above the rest. How can it not be? Mr. Tambourine Man echoing out of the speakers is a wondrous experience. A strong album not just because of the tracks featured on it but because of what Dylan sets out to do. He manages that distance between himself and the Voice of a Generation tagline while also incorporating new sounds. It is a completely personal, unique experience for those listening in. What they’ll hear is change. A step in a new direction for an artist whose later career was defined by sporadic change.

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