Blonde on Blonde – Bob Dylan (1966)

Album no. 64/1001

Nobel prize winner Bob Dylan is back with more songs than ever. Is one of us really excited? Yes. Is the other one heartily sick of Bob? Also yes. If you like disagreements you will probably like this review.

This was a double album on release, so there’s a lot to get through. There are a lot of lyrics here, and this album was regarded as Dylan ‘combining traditional blues with modernist literary techniques’ even before he was given the Nobel prize. If that’s a bit too wanky for you, it’s also got the ‘everybody must get stoned’ song on it. Something for everybody!

Have you listened to this album before?

NK: Yesssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss.

CL: No. But Ned says I might like this one the best from Bobby. So I guess we’ll see.

Standout track

NK: I’ve listened to this quite a few times, and it’s really hard to pick a favourite track. I think it has to be between ‘One Of Us Must Know (Sooner or Later)’ and ‘I Want You’. ‘One Of Us Must Know’ is quicker than you think and quite rocking once you get to the chorus, ‘I Want You’ is a great love song with really fun guitar.

CL: Did I really need to hear a song about getting stoned that goes for 4 minutes and 37 seconds? I don’t think so. This has not started well for me.

NK: I think my favourite track on this is ‘One Of Us Must know’. BUT I also love the long ballads, ‘Visions of Johanna’ and ‘Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands’. And ‘Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again’ was my favourite when I first heard this. Easily the hardest album to pick a favourite song so far.

CL: And it has not ended well either. This was AWFUL. LONG BALLADS IS RIGHT. IT’S SO LONG. GOD IT’S LONG. I HAVE HAD IT WITH HIS STUPID VOICE. SOMEONE MAKE IT STOP PLEASE. IT JUST KEEPS GOING.

When would be the best time to listen to this?

NK: Al Kooper, the guy who played organ on this album, said about ‘Blonde on Blonde’ that:

“nobody has ever captured the sound of 3 AM better than that album. Nobody, even Sinatra”

I agree with Al, but I also think it’s good if you’ve got to cook a roast or drive to Melbourne.

CL: IT’S STILL GOING. THE ALBUM IS STILL GOING. THE BEST TIME TO LISTEN IS WHEN YOUR MUSIC DEVICE IS BROKEN AND NO SOUND COMES OUT. THANKS.

Why has this album been included on the list?

NK: This is the album that Dylan said got closest to the sound he heard in his mind. ‘…that thin, that wild mercury sound. It’s metallic and bright gold…’ This is the third Dylan album with electric instrumentation, and he nailed it this time. The music is just as odd and interesting as the lyrics, the songs vary wildly in subject matter, length and mood, it was one of the first double albums in rock music. I quite like this one.

CL: IT SHOULD HAVE STAYED AS ONE ALBUM. THIS IS SELF-INDULGENT DRIVEL. IT HAS BEEN INCLUDED BECAUSE BOB DYLAN IS A MYSTICAL BEAST WHO HAS CLEARLY BRAINWASHED EVERYONE EXCEPT ME.

NK: So you agreed with the Nobel prize?

Will you be listening again?  

NK: Yes.

CL: WELL, CONSIDERING THE ALBUM STILL ISN’T FINISHED, I’LL PROBABLY DIE BEFORE I GET A CHANCE TO LISTEN TO IT AGAIN BECAUSE IT GOES FOR A MILLION BILLION HOURS.

NK: I’m looking forward to Blood On The Tracks.

CL: I wish I could just go back and listen to Bobby’s first album – those halcyon days… because everything I’ve heard since then has not been good. I have NOT enjoyed any of them. MAYBE whenever we have to listen to any more Bob Dylan albums, I’ll just put The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan on and review that each time? That might be better.

Rating

NK: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.

CL: This is possibly one of the worst things I’ve ever heard. I’m removing it from my iTunes without delay. It was offensive to my eardrums.Yeah, I hated this.

Listen to Blonde on Blonde on Spotify or buy it in iTunes.

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