Sunday, April 21, 2013

From the Vaults Modern Times


Modern Times

Times change and don’t change.

So Dylan wrote in notes from his sole Egyptian Records release, a 1996 tribute to Jimmie Rodgers. That notion, that things change but don’t change, has been central to the set of records he began with Time Out of Mind [1997], continued with Love and Theft [2001], and adds to now with Modern Times.

As we out here in radioland tend to think of things as trilogies, it is now a trilogy. All and all, it’s been a grand return to form for Dylan. Modern Times stands with the previous two sessions like a Black Panther trackster at the Olympics - head down and fist up, getting a medal while the National Anthem plays. Maybe with an eye on the exit. The return to form is triadic.

Modern Times? Who knows? Maybe that’s the key. Have you noticed that what was pre-modern is now post-modern? But what about that Modern?! There is a rich sound here – and hell if it and its immediate antecedents aint likable to the rebirthed art Chaplin offered the world in his few sparse talkies, a resurge of genius long after his Silent Era heyday.

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