Wednesday, August 23, 2006

6 Days and Counting...

...until the new Bob Dylan record. I am, um, excited about this record. Very excited.

In connection with the forthcoming release, this morning Rolling Stone updated its website and provided an excerpt of its exclusive interview with Dylan, which will be released in full in the September 7 issue of the magazine. The piece is written by Jonathan Lethem, a die-hard Dylan fan who also happens to be a fantastic novelist in his own right. His book, "The Fortress of Solitude," remains-- hands down-- the best work of fiction I have read in the last 10 years. If you're looking for some summer fiction, this is the book to read. It's a novel about, coincidentally, rock n' roll, adolescence, aging, Brooklyn, race relations, and superheroes. The NY Times this summer mentioned in passing that it just barely missed its reader's list of its top 25 works of fiction of the last 25 years. (The prize went to Toni Morrison, who probably deserved it). Not a bad near-miss for Lethem, who is only in his mid-30s...

Anyway, back to the Dylan. It comes out Tuesday and I am eager to hear it. My sole concern at this point is that none of the writers who are publishing articles about the new record seem to be talking about the music itself: does it sound like 2001's "Love and Theft?" Does it have some of the same schmaltzy ragtime that a lot of tracks on that record had? Or is it strictly blues-based? The critics seem to spend all their verbiage waxing poetic about Dylan's iconic, near-God-like status (Lethem included-- witness his line about how Dylan's is "the voice of a rogue ageless in decrepitude"), but not a lot of time describing the actual sound of his new record.

Is that because these critics haven't heard much of it? (Dylan is notorious about keeping his new records top secret). Or is that because there isn't that much to say about it?

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