compare with http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9ppFNiKx0s
personally i think that there is no comparison; your experience may vary and if so i am not trying to attack you
Comparisions are odious. The critical factor here is recognition of the inescapable fact that Dylan's vocal capabilities have declined dramatically. Anyone who pretends otherwise is a fool. The key question for each listener is do they still enjoy what they hear. If yes then carry on buying the records and attending the shows, if no, move on. Dylan is trying to fight against the passage of time. He won't win but he can try. The only fools in this parade are the people who castigate others who still get pleasure from Dylan's efforts. Benny is a living tragedy. A person dedicated to telling others what they should think.
Tellmemomma, it is clear that things have changed and as much as everybody would like Dylan to sing 'She Belongs to Me' like he did in the sixties, it ain't going to happen. No matter how many times people discuss this it all comes down to individual perceptions. Longing for the past is as much of a waste of time, as it is discussing this subject. Benny obviously has nothing much to do, otherwise a rational person who dislikes what he hears would simply give up criticising an artist he used to like and get a new hobby.
Let it be noted by moderators - et al - that I have been referred to here as 'a living tragedy'. By someone who has consistently responded to many of my posts in a very condemnatory and insulting manner.
Oh, that delicious ironing again.
To answer your points though, senor10 (can you please explain how you chose that username - I'm intrigued. There's no agenda - I'm always interested in why and how people choose their internet pseudonyms):
- I do not have 'nothing much to do'. Quite the opposite - I am sitting here at work with a huge pile of stuff to do, It is a very boring pile of stuff though, and this is preferable.
- You posit that 'a rational person who dislikes what he hears would simply give up criticising an artist he used to like and get a new hobby'.
You make a number of assumptions here that need questioning.
First of all, criticism in its technical sense can be both positive and negative. There is no weight given to either side of the scale, rather it confers the meaning that one is actively and consciously commenting upon the observed object. We are therefore actually all critics of Bob Dylan and his work in here.
Secondly, you imply that I somehow used to like Bob Dylan but now don't. Do you really understand what that means? Look - Bob Dylan as an artist exists at all times through his recorded output combined with our personl experience of his art. For most of us, the studio albums and bootlegs and youtube videos are the bulk of how we get our fix. The attending of concerts is minor to that, in terms of time actually spent pursuing this 'hobby' (your term - I find it pretty reductive myself). Now, here's the thing - Bob Dylan the person is of no real concern to me. I couldnt give a monkeys mostly who he is as a human being, what he does from day to day, what he wears, how he combs his hair etc. I have a deep appreciation for how he has lived parts of his life, and respect for elements of his character as gleaned through some books and my own observations etc. But thats all just the tiny tip of the iceberg (new album reference, folks!) of what keeps the guy beating in my mind. No - its the work he has produced that impacts on me, that constitutes my fascination, that absorbs my intellect and guts simultaneously. Do you understand? I'm talking about the 50 years of songs that he has recorded in the studio and performed live. I'm intimate with these - to a greater or lesser degree, of course, depending on which dates - because I have listened to them, absorbed them. I continue to do this, to keep myself up to date with the art the man is producing. Yes, I said art - even if I personally dislike something, I dont deny him the the right to call it art and himself an artist.
The logic of this is that you cannot with any grain of truth say that when i comment negatively on a performance of 'She Belongs To Me' from this week, that I am criticising an artist I used to like. Its a mix up of terminology that confuses issues rather than clarifies them. Instead, it would be much more accurate to say I am criticising negatively a piece of work by an artist whose past works I appreciate more. The tense is important here - there is no past tense in loving what Bob Dylan did in 1965 or 1976. It exists outside of time because technology allows me instant access, a front row seat, a spot at the mixing desk, whenever I choose. Do you get that? The constriction you deliberately employ in claiming I 'used to like' Bob Dylan is insulting and a fallacy. It misses the whole point.
The whole point being this: I am just as qualified as anybody here to comment on any performance from Bob Dylan that is put in front of me. This is a forum where a thread has been started inviting us to do just that. And, guess what? Because I have heard lots of other performances of this song before, my brain automatically places this new one in a hierarchy of quality. If it didn't, I'd just be a receiver with no filter or processing behind it. The stuff would pass through me and I'd have no purchase on it beyond the moment of response. There would be no experience behind judgement. Yes, experience behind judgement - I'll say it again, because it seems to me that one strand of argument against me and others saying they dislike a ModBob performance is that we are pissing on the parade of others who do enjoy it. To which I say this: when all I read is a stream of positive comments about everything, when the usual suspects line up in a thread to rave about how brilliant and on fire the band and singer are, just as they do for everything, it makes me imagine a dog in a car with its head out the window, its tongue lapping as it goes past. Its pure sensation without context, expressed emotion without evaluation. Am I jealous that there are some people here who can listen to anything - literally, any thing -that Bob Dylan does and declare it genius? Yep, of course - it must be nice to be that dog in that car. But while I'm envious of that ability to have no comparative judgement, the self-same lack of critical analysis and nailing colours to the mast of 'Yeah, ok, he did that, but he did it better here, and here, and over there etc' really gets my goat. I've thought about why, and I think it ultimately comes down to this: what does it mean for previous work if every new object has the same gushing praise heaped up on it? What, for example, does it qualitively mean to have a thread about 'Visions of Johanna' from Sheffield 1966 next to one about 'She Belongs To Me' from Germany 2012 and see them both fill up with the same words?
That’s what winds me up, I think – the fact that my own comparative judgement is only reflected by the views of a few here, not the majority. Not so much that others might vary in the degree of their negativity or positivity, but that really there is so little variance, such a blanket conformity of love.
And again I have asked myself what this lack of light and shade in certain sections of this forum might indicate; what is the underlying impulse that drives this shoaling of fish in one direction?
The only answer I can come up with is that there must be a lot of members of this forum for whom the person Bob Dylan and the art produced by him are inseparable. I definitely get the sense that their ‘hobby’ goes beyond just listening to the music in isolation – it seems that the music is almost secondary to the wider picture of love for the man. How else to explain the minutiae of descriptions about what his trousers look like, about being able to follow his plane journeys on a virtual map, about what he eats, his portable toilet habits, that weird and scary ‘Visions of Bob’ thread etc?
Fair enough, I guess – from that perspective, this place is no different to a, oh I dunno, a Matthew Mcconaughey fangasm/stalker site (not that I’ve checked, but I assume – shudder – that such places exist). That pappy celebrity thing, where the fourth estate tries to trick us into thinking we have more in common with complete strangers than we do our own families.
But thats not what I’m about, and what concerns me is that the love of this Bob Dylan bloke bleeds over and dominates and colours the love and appreciation of his art. The two are linked inexorably, for sure, and there is some value in context of creation, but in my aesthetic, you must at some point try and divorce the two if you are to get a good sense of what is important. Art must stand for itself, by itself. Roland Barthes’ ‘Death of the Author’ and all that debate implies.
If you look at what you wrote, Senor10: The critical factor here is recognition of the inescapable fact that Dylan's vocal capabilities have declined dramatically. Anyone who pretends otherwise is a fool. The key question for each listener is do they still enjoy what they hear. If yes then carry on buying the records and attending the shows, if no, move on. Dylan is trying to fight against the passage of time. He won't win but he can try. The only fools in this parade are the people who castigate others who still get pleasure from Dylan's efforts.
This is again a confusing mix of messages. You can’t talk on the one hand about enjoying what you hear and on the other about Dylan fighting the ageing process and not have your thoughts on the latter influencing the former. This is common round here – there seems to be a compensatory respect for Dylan still being out there, still touring, still performing that is casting favourable light all over the appreciation of the work being done. I understand that - its like Dylan is Grandpa still trotting out his wartime songs at Christmas – a part of you groans, but is swamped by the fact that you love him, and so you applaud and feel warm inside. I sincerely think that for some here, Bob Dylan is another family member like that, that it is impossible for them to separate the songs from the person and from their feelings about that person.
Thus there are those who quite blatantly will go on record here as saying that as long as the old guy is still on a stage, they will go and see him. That somehow, the very fact of his still performing is in itself of value. Or, that they somehow ‘owe’ him that out of duty, for what he has given them.
I’m not so heartless I don’t see why that view might arise – we’re all in the same handcart heading to death, after all, and there is something profound in those who keep fighting to the last drop of life. And paying one’s respects to those who have influenced or contributed to one’s inner richness is a noble act.
It’s a complex equation, granted, this looking at art and the artist and disentangling the two. One one hand, you have the view echoed by de Kooning when he said "There's no way of looking at a work of art by itself. It's not self-evident—it needs a history, it needs a lot of talking about; it's part of a whole man's life."
Against which I would argue that ultimately, Art cannot be anything but self-evident. By its very expression, it exists outside of its creator and is something else entirely. That ‘She Belongs To Me’ is not Bob Dylan, its not those musicians, its not the smartphone it’s captured on, the screen that presents it to you, the speakers that play the music. It has its own legs, and it moves independently. How you interpret the sensory data it provides you with though - that is your issue and yours alone.
So here it is – I can see others’ stance being valid for them, but at the same time I also completely disagree and defend my right to do that. I’ll call you an idiot in your thread, if you call me one in mine. Deal?
Last word goes to a song lyric:
She reads too many books
She got new movies inside her head
She reads too many books
She got movies inside her head
She wants me to walk out running
She wants me to crawl back dead
You need a different kinda man, babe
One that can grab and hold your heart
Need a different kind of man, babe
One that can hold and grab your heart
You need a different kind of man, babe
You need Napoleon Boneeparte
- Hero Blues