Poll--The Weakest Link: Bob Dylan TIME OUT OF MIND, Round 1

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Joey Self, Apr 20, 2017.

  1. NightGoatToCairo

    NightGoatToCairo "Oh Annie! Oh Annie! Oh Anusol!"

    Hampshire, UK
    I went for Love Sick :hide: and Highlands. I actually like Dirt Road Blues :shrug:

    I don't enjoy this album as much as Triplicate, "Love And Theft" or Modern Times.

    Please be gentle with me; I'm new to Dylan stuff x
  2. CRadtke

    CRadtke Well-Known Member

    Although I love Make You Feel My Love, I think that song doesn't fit in this album.

    I bought it on the year of the release and this has been one of my favorite Dylan albums ever since. Loved from the start and I still love this album.
  3. NightGoatToCairo

    NightGoatToCairo "Oh Annie! Oh Annie! Oh Anusol!"

    Hampshire, UK
    Note: I knew Bowie's cover of 'Tryin' To Get To Heaven' a long time before I heard the original.
  4. majorlance

    majorlance Forum Resident

    Collingswood, NJ
    Interesting! I think the rather "un-Dylan-like" production on "Love Sick" gets a wide range of reactions, though I believe it's one of the 3 best songs on the album (along with NDY and Highlands).

    And while I'm definitely a fan of TOOM, there's no question in my mind that Dylan painted his latter-day masterpiece with Love & Theft.
    NightGoatToCairo likes this.
  5. Dave Hoos

    Dave Hoos Down there by the train

    "Dirt Road Blues" and "Make You Feel My Love".

    Both these songs are okay, but everything else on the album is either very good or great. Neither are memorable, and I generally skip both of them.

    I bought the album around 2002-2003 (I know, I know), and I couldn't believe my ears when I played it. I think it's easily Bob's best since Blood On The Tracks, if not before. I play it at least once a month, usually in the car. I can never understand when I play it to someone and they'll say, "Yeah, it's okay", and I find myself thinking, "Can you not hear how ****ing great this album is? Seriously?"

    It's easily in my favourite 5 Bob albums. Maybe even No.2 or 3. Absolutely love it.
  6. goodboyfred

    goodboyfred Forum Resident

    I think Dirt Road Blues is a great song. It sounds like it could of been done by Charlie Patton in a much earlier time. I voted for Make You Feel My Love and Can't Wait. Great album which I bought on release.
  7. Jimmy B.

    Jimmy B. Forum Resident

    Dirt Road Blues and Make You Feel My Love.

    Oh no, too many votes for Highlands!
  8. extravaganza

    extravaganza Forum Resident

    San Diego, CA USA
    I bought this about a month after it came out, which was kind of a long time for me to wait before picking up a new Dylan album (exemption Under The Red Sky which took almost a decade.) 'Dirt Road Blues" is maybe my favorite so I am surprised at the lack of love for this here. "Make You Feel My Love" and "Can't Wait" my first two to go.
  9. fallbreaks

    fallbreaks Forum Resident

    Dirt Road and Till I Fell In Love.

    I bought it the day it came out, after thinking we might not ever get another album of Dylan originals, so I was glad to have anything. But I think the songs are unrelentingly dark, they're overproduced, and the album is too long by half. The darkness and pessimism on this album feels very posed, to me, like a lot of 90s music. The album has a slow, heavy sadness that I just don't really feel like spinning very often. But there are some great songs here. I probably rank this one a notch above Empire Burlesque.

    I prefer Love and Theft, which was his true return to form.
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
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  10. ianuaditis

    ianuaditis Evil Twin

    Haha, thanks. I had checked the boxes, typed the reply, hit 'post reply,' but evidently not the vote button. Should be fixed now.
  11. Joey Self

    Joey Self Red Forman's Sensitivity Guru Thread Starter

    I thought it might go out the first round.

    No shame in that in this set of stellar songs.

    Dave Hoos likes this.
  12. Joey Self

    Joey Self Red Forman's Sensitivity Guru Thread Starter

    I like having a wide range of fans in these discussion threads.

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  13. Sandinista

    Sandinista Forum Resident

    Dirt and Make to go.

    First heard it upon release - didn't really like it much at the time.
  14. NightGoatToCairo

    NightGoatToCairo "Oh Annie! Oh Annie! Oh Anusol!"

    Hampshire, UK
    Whilst were on this album...Highlands is a long last track. Like other long last tracks on CD's, does anyone else have issues with ripping these types to iTunes? Popping, skipping, glitches etc. I've had it with a few different artists and titles now.
  15. Maranatha5585

    Maranatha5585 Forum Resident

    Down South
    I am sitting this one out...
    There is NO weakness on this masterpiece.
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  16. Parachute Woman

    Parachute Woman Hail Hail Rock 'n Roll

    Dirt Road Blues and Till I Fell in Love with You. Sad to see Make You Feel My Love getting so many votes. Love that song.

    DQ: First heard it a few years ago. Liked it right away but knew it would be a grower. It was.
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  17. IbMePdErRoIoAmL

    IbMePdErRoIoAmL lazy drunken hillbilly with a heart full of hate

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  18. Tim Wilson

    Tim Wilson Forum Resident

    Palm Springs, CA
    I completely slept on this one. Not sure why. I was busy I guess. :laugh: I loved Love and Theft, but what hepped me to this one was the version of "Cold Iron Bound" on the 2002 tour. THAT blew me away, so I picked this up the next day. It felt transitional to me, on the way to something special, which we of course got with L&T, but the highlights are very high indeed. It's been way too long since I listened to this, so I'm going to enjoy the opportunity for reappraisal.

    In fact, I'm doing a little homework, and re-reading the 2012 interview Bob gave to Mikal Gilmore, one of my favorites. The topic was Tempest, which Gilmore likened to TooM as "one of your bigger works". Bob replies:

    Well....the Time Out of Mind record, that was the beginning of me making records for an audience that I was playing to night after night. They were different people from different walks of life, different environments and ages. There was no reason for these new people to hear songs I'd written 30 years earlier for different purposes. If I was going to continue on, what I needed were new songs, and I had to write them, not necessarily to make records, but to play for the public.

    The songs on Time Out of Mind weren't meant for somebody to listen to at home. Most of the songs work, whereas before, there might have been better records, but the songs don't work. So I'll stick with what I was doing after Time Out of Mind, rather than what I was doing in the Seventies and Eighties, where the songs just don't work.

    That album was plainly received as a turning point. It began a sustained winning streak. Everything since then is a body of work that can stand on its own.

    I hope it can. It should connect with people. The thing about it is that there is the old and the new, and you have to connect with them both. The old goes out and the new comes in, but there is no sharp borderline. The old is still happening while the new enters the scene, sometimes unnoticed. The new is overlapping at the same time the old is weakening its hold. It goes on and on like that. Forever through the centuries. Sooner or later, before you know it, everything is new, and what happened to the old? It's like a magician trick, but you have to keep connecting with it.

    What jumps out me from that interview is Bob's intent to make songs to play live, because playing the old songs wasn't working anymore. This is another topic, but BOY HOWDY did these songs come alive on stage!

    Anyway, Dylan and Gilmore had also talked about Time Out of Mind in an earlier interview just after the release of Love and Theft that was more connected with how hard TooM was to make, and Bob's frustration with how people misread it as dark and obsessed with mortality.

    Time Out of Mind plays as an album made with purpose and vision, with a consistent mood and set of themes. Was it, in fact, an album you approached with forethought, or was its seeming cohesiveness incidental?

    What happened was, I'd been writing down couplets and verses and things, and then putting them together at later times. I had a lot of that — it was starting to pile up — so I thought, "Well, I got all this — maybe, I'll try to record it." I'd had good luck with Daniel Lanois [producer of the 1989 album Oh Mercy], so I called him and showed him a lot of the songs. I also familiarized him with the way I wanted the songs to sound. I think I played him some Slim Harpo recordings — early stuff like that. He seemed pretty agreeable to it, and we set aside a certain time and place. But I had a schedule — I only had so much time — and we made that record, Time Out of Mind, that way. It was a little rougher. . . . I wouldn't say rougher. . . . It was . . . I feel we were lucky to get that record.


    Well, I didn't go into it with the idea that this was going to be a finished album. It got off the tracks more than a few times, and people got frustrated. I know I did. I know Lanois did. There were myriad musicians down there. At that point in time, I didn't have the same band I have now. I was kind of just auditioning players here and there for a band, but I didn't feel like I could trust them man-to-man in the studio with unrecorded songs. So we started to use some musicians that Lanois would choose and a couple that I had in mind: [keyboardist] Jim Dickinson; [drummer] Jim Keltner; [guitarist] Duke Robillard. I started just assembling people that I knew could play. They had the right soulful kind of attitude for these songs. But we just couldn't . . . I felt extremely frustrated, because I couldn't get any of the up-tempo songs that I wanted.

    Don't you think a song like "Cold Irons Bound" certainly has a drive to it?

    Yeah, there's a real drive to it, but it isn't even close to the way I had it envisioned. I mean, I'm satisfied with what we did. But there were things I had to throw out because this assortment of people just couldn't lock in on riffs and rhythms all together. I got so frustrated in the studio that I didn't really dimensionalize the songs. I could've if I'd had the willpower. I just didn't at that time, and so you got to steer it where the event itself wants to go. I feel there was a sameness to the rhythms. It was more like that swampy, voodoo thing that Lanois is so good at. I just wish I'd been able to get more of a legitimate rhythm-oriented sense into it. I didn't feel there was any mathematical thing about that record at all. The one beat could've been anywhere, when instead, the singer should have been defining where the drum should be. It was tricky trying to steer that ship.

    I think that's why people say Time Out of Mind is sort of dark and foreboding: because we locked into that one dimension in the sound. People say the record deals with mortality — my mortality for some reason! [Laughs] Well, it doesn't deal with my mortality. It maybe just deals with mortality in general. It's one thing that we all have in common, isn't it? But I didn't see any one critic say: "It deals with my mortality" — you know, his own. As if he's immune in some kind of way — like whoever's writing about the record has got eternal life and the singer doesn't. I found this condescending attitude toward that record revealed in the press quite frequently, but, you know, nothing you can do about that.​

    The language in Time Out of Mind seems very stripped down, as if the songs don't have the patience or room to bear any unessential imagery.

    I just come down the line too far to make any superfluous song. I mean, I'm sure I've made enough of them, or that I've got enough superfluous lines in a lot of songs. But I've kind of passed that point. I have to impress myself first, and unless I'm speaking in a certain language to my own self, I don't feel anything less than that will do for the public, really.

    "Highlands" strikes me as the album's most singular song. It begins in a place of isolation; it tells a story but rambles. It's poignant as hell, but it's also very funny — especially the conversation it portrays between the narrator and the waitress in the cafe. And by the time we get to the end of it, we don't know if we're in a place of desolation or release.

    That particular song, we worked with a track that I had done at a sound check once in some hall. The assembled group of musicians we had down at the studio just couldn't get it, so I said, "Just use that original track, and I'll sing over it." It was just some old blues song I always wanted to use, and I felt that once I was able to control it, I could've written about anything with it. But you're right — I forgot that was on that record.

    You know, I'm not really quite sure why it seems to people that Time Out of Mind is a darker picture. In my mind, there's nothing dark about it. It's not like, you know, Dante's Inferno or something. It doesn't paint a picture of goblins and goons and grotesque-looking creatures or anything like that. I really don't understand why it is looked at as such a dark album, really. It does have that song "Highlands" at the end.

    In the end, are you happy with Time Out of Mind? After all, it was seen as not merely a return to form for you but also as a real extension of your gifts — and as your most powerful work since 1975's "Blood on the Tracks."

    Well, you know, I never listen to my records. Once they're turned in, I'm done with them. I don't want to hear them anymore. I know the songs. I'll play them, but I don't want to hear them on a record. It sounds superficial to me to hear a record — I don't feel like it tells me anything in particular. I'm not going to learn anything from it.

    It was during the final stages of the album that you were hit with a serious swelling around your heart and were laid up in the hospital. You've said that that infection was truly painful and debilitating. Did it alter your view of life in any way?

    No. No, because it didn't! You can't even say something like, "Well, you were in the wrong place at the wrong time." Even that excuse didn't work. It was like I learned nothing. I wish I could say I put the time to good use or, you know, got highly educated in something or had some revelations about anything. But I can't say that any of that happened. I just laid around and then had to wait for my strength to come back.

    Do you think that the proximity of your illness to the album's release helped account for why reviewers saw so many themes of mortality in Time Out of Mind?

    When I recorded that album, the media weren't paying any attention to me. I was totally outside of it.

    True, but the album came out not long after you'd gone through the illness.

    It did?

    Yes. You were in the hospital in the spring of 1997, and Time Out of Mind was released in autumn that same year.

    OK, well, then it could've been perceived that way in the organized media. But that would just be characterizing the album, really.​

    (Both of these interviews are worth reading in complete. Really wonderful stuff. These are just the parts about this album.)

    I know we'll get to this later, but this is to me also a key album to talk about what got left off the final release, and changes along the way. As Bob himself acknowledged in accepting the Grammy for Album of the Year (his first!!!!!), he thanked Columbia's Don Ienner who encouraged him to put the album out "even though his favorite songs aren't on it."

    For all that I prefer what came next, I do think it deserves all the praise it got, including three Grammys (the others were for Best Contemporary Folk Album, and Best Male Rock Vocal Performance for "Cold Irons Bound"). It's also the one that kicks off my favorite phase of his career. As much as I've been living in and loving the 54 disk extravaganza of the Big Blue Cutting Edge bootleg series and the live '66 box for the last little while, I'll take Time Out of Mind through Tempest Bob every time.

    So while I don't prefer it to Love & Theft, I do prefer it to Blonde on Blonde and Highway 61 Revisited. One of his pinnacles, and one of the best by anyone in the past 20 years....and we are in fact just a couple of months shy of 20 years!
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
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  19. Joey Self

    Joey Self Red Forman's Sensitivity Guru Thread Starter

    Fair enough--but please come in for the discussion of this album you (and I) believe is a masterpiece.

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  20. tonyc

    tonyc Well-Known Member

    The Billy Joel version got a lot of mileage for awhile as being his last "new" radio single.
  21. Crispy Rob

    Crispy Rob Cat Juggler

    Oakland, CA
    Love this album and the way a lot of the songs take up and repurpose lines from old folk and blues songs. I made a hard choice and voted against "Dirt Road Blues," even though it is a pretty good example of why I like this album, just not quite as strong as the rest. The easy choice was Make You Feel My Love, which I've never liked all that much and always felt a bit out of place on this album.

    I can't recall if I picked this one up right on release day, but definitely got it at least pretty soon after it came out, and played it a ton over the next couple years. It's my favorite album of Dylan's in the years since Desire.
  22. HenryFly

    HenryFly Forum Resident

    I'm an estranged ex-fan, but it still hurts me that my favourite track is not doing well at all. People hear all wrong:rolleyes:
    Please try harder to get 'Dirt Road Blues' guys. It pays off, trust me
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  23. stewedandkeefed

    stewedandkeefed Came Ashore In The Dead Of The Night

    Most of what I would have said was rather eloquently stated earlier by RayS. TOOM is probably the Bob record that had the biggest impact in career terms during my long, strange Bob trip except Blood On The Tracks was my first album but I had no idea back in 1975. He went from selling 250.000 to two mill. It had impact. It was also my divorce album. Someone passed me an advance cassette. I knew the moment I heard "Love Sick" I was in deep trouble so it resonated with me as I would within time be "thinking about that girl who won't be back no more".
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  24. Syd Avett

    Syd Avett Forum Resident

    Dirt Road Blues and Highlands for me but I love this album.

    DQ: I bought it fairly quickly after release. I don't recall actually buying it but I sure do Love And Theft as that release day was 09/11/2001 and like everyone else I was in shock listening to it.

    But Time Out Of Mind brings back good memories, it was Dylan strong and relevant and the world was good for awhile.
  25. moonshiner

    moonshiner Forum Resident

    Dirt road & Million miles

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