Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Reviews:: Jakob Dylan Seeing Things

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I'm as shocked as anyone, but I am thoroughly enjoying the new record from Jakob Dylan. I hated the Wallflowers and honestly never paid Jakob much mind. But when I heard Rick Rubin was going to be on the knobs for Seeing Things, I was interested to see how he was going to guide Jakob. Would we travel a vast, desolate landscape full of emotions and gentle guitar picks or see Rubin filling out the arrangements, resulting in a huge solo rock record.

Thankfully - although most of his former fans would probably differ in opinion - we get the former. Dylan offers up a collection of stripped down, political tracks destined to find ring true in the ears of the working man. Rubin simply embellished the subtleties, let Jakob's voice steal the spotlight and the results are terrific. Given his name and father's legacy, I can see why Jakob was reluctant to jump into folk tales (even after this release he says his songs aren't social commentaries more just ideas and words), but his voice really works well with the messages he presents and he sidesteps the tendancy to name names and place places.

His words seem timeless; "I know that soldiers are not paid to think, but something is making us sick" or "of snow covered beaches, junkyards of diesel and bombers named after girls" are the type of images that could be from 1940 or 2008. It's a simple representation of a society at war, and that's what adds the weight to these soft songs.

The record moves like so many of us, trapped in despair at the state of the world but trying our hardest to believe that it can and will get better. The "light making it's way on up the mountain" shines brightly, but every day the mountain seems to be getting more and more unclimbable. We've become a culture of slogans and familiar imagary, one that holds onto hope while living in a situation that gets worse and worse every day and surprisingly, Dylan seems to voice this better than most.


Posted at 9:22 AM by ack :: 1 comments

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At 7:00 PM, Blogger Sammy did sayeth:

I was just as surprised as you probably were in liking this album. His past with the Wallflowers brought on some apprehension at first but I thoroughly enjoyed it once I got past by initial hangups. Good stuff, indeed.


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