Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Bob Dylan is #1

I noticed that Bob Dylan's new album, Modern Times debuted at #1 on the Billboard album charts this week. Johnny Cash's posthumous release, American V: A Hundred Highways achieved a similar feat earlier this year. This tells me two things: #1 mostly old people are buying albums these days, and #2 the recording industry is in big trouble.

The reviews for Dylan's new album have been ecstatic. Those of you who know me, or have read much of the content on this blog, know that I enjoy playing the role of the contrarian. But I have no contrarian take to offer on Modern Times. I haven't been able to listen to the album as closely as I'd like, but as far as I can tell it is every bit as good as the reviews suggest. If you haven't picked it up already, I highly recommend it, along with another album of geezer rock, Tom Petty's Highway Companion, and Richard Thompson's wonderful DVD/CD set 1,000 Years of Popular Music.


Anonymous said...

I haven't heard the new Dylan yet but I did find his recent comments on the recording industry interesting.

His comment "“I don’t know anybody who’s made a record that sounds decent in the past 20 years, really,” may sound extreme, but he seems to be just as critical toward his own recordings.

While I can't say I agree 100%, I do believe he has a point. I find more often than not, new cd releases sounding pretty awful. Dylan says "Static"? Well, maybe not that far off really in some cases.

secretchimp said...

That's my comment above -- not anonymous

Pete Bilderback said...

I can't agree 100% with Dylan's comments, but I think he is pointing to a real problem. The biggest problem with pop music recordings these days is the over-use of compression. In the quest to make everything "louder" all the dynamic range has been taken out of recordings. This effect can easily be seen if you import an audio track into a program that creates a visual image of the sound. Many CDs push this to the point of clipping, which sounds very, very bad especially in the digital domain.

Dylan's new CD sounds pretty good sound quality wise.