Bringing It All Back Home review by Bob Dylan

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  • Released: Mar 22, 1965
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 9.4 (17 votes)
Bob Dylan: Bringing It All Back Home
1

Sound — 10
The first tone we hear on "Bringing It All Back Home" offers nothing new: the rough, harsh-played acoustic rhytm guitar, played by Bob himself. Only a few seconds later, however, an electric lead guitar joins, a synthesis, which not only featured on none of Dylan's albums before but on no other album by any artist. What follows is a high tempo outburst of absurd poetry and driving R'n B: "Subtarrenean Homesick Blues" the opening song of "Bringing It All Back Home", an opening song that leaves you breathless, due to it's almost ridiculous pace, volume and absurdity. This is basically the recipe for the first side of "Bringing It All Back Home": an acoustic guitar playing simple folk and blues patterns in ligthning speed and an electric backing band playing loud r n' b. The results are songs that are loud, funny, caustic and powerful. The only exception are the ballads "She Belongs To Me" and "Love Minus Zero/No Limit". They are, however, not partcularily emotional but played in a very causual way, similar to the Rocksongs. The second half of the album contains only acoustic songs, which show a more familiar Dylan: harsh rhytmguitar playing and great vocal melodies, all of these songs are among his best. They are very serious and emotional unlike the rocksongs.

Lyrics — 10
Dylan has already shown on "Another Side Of..." that he didn't felt comfortable with the older protest lyrics. Instead he started writing absurd-surreal poems, which basically were the lyrics for his best years (65-66). Many results are more than satisfying: the lyrics of these albums are simply amazing and often philosophical, almost every song of "Bringing It All Back Home" offers some nihilistic lines (Nietzsche would have been proud of many of them).

Overall Impression — 10
There are times in the history of pop music, when an artist, regardless of the quality of his music, releases something never heard before. "The beginning of a new era" unleashed by the release of a record. There are lots of well-known examples: The Sex Pistols "Anarchy In The UK", Radioheads "OK Computer" or Pink Floyds "Dark Side Of The Moon". All of these records were responisble for a change of direction in the current music scene. None of them, however, was nearly as important as Bob Dylan's "Bringing It All Back Home," regardless of the quality of the music. The reason for this is as simple as logic: It is the album the contains the most "the first album that." So here's a list of all "firsts" in "Bringing It All Back Home", that changed pop music forever. "Bringing It All Back Home" is the first "real" album in (pop)music history. Just look at what was released before and after "Bringing It All Back Home": before 1965 there was no outstanding album at all, only hardcore-fans will be able to listen to a studioalbum of Frank Sinatra, Little Richard or Johnny Cash without having to skip any song or getting the feel to get bored by the album, singles were the prefered medium. But after the release of "Bringing It All Back Home" other artist would soon lay more focus on producing albums, the Beatles with "Rubber Soul" and later the Rolling Stones with "Beggar's Banquet" (only naming the most popular examples). "Bringing It All Back Home" was the first album "in pop" that can really be considered outstanding. Dylan already before filled his albums with fine songs instead of focusing on singles - but these albums can't really be considered "Pop"-recordings. The first record in (pop)music history that can be taken serious from an artistical point of view. Records released before where basically very simple in terms of content: "I wanna hold your hand" or "I wanna be your man," of course anyone can write lyrics like that, straightforward and highly naive. But "Bringing It All Back Home" is as far away from naivit as can be. The meaning of songs like "Subterrenean Homesick Blues" or "Gates Of Eden" are much debated, even today. the first (pop)album that combined acoustic and electric instruments. Yes, this is by far the most important "first" in this list, because it was never done before but endlessly done after the release. the first (pop)album without any moral. Sounds quite strange, we're talking about the "spokesman of a generation", after all. But "Bringing It All Back Home" is an album full of nihilistic sentences and songs, which is a significant influence to many songs of the Beatles and The Velvet Underground, and thus basically to any punkrock group and most modern rock'n roll groups as well.

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Who66
    yep, this album has some of his best lyrics. The second one does seem to say that BIABH was the first album ever to feature electric guitars, which of course isn't true. Otherwise good reviews though criticizing your government does not make one a communist and communism itself is far from intrinsically evil.
    biggy06605
    yep, this album has some of his best lyrics. The second one does seem to say that BIABH was the first album ever to feature electric guitars, which of course isn't true. Otherwise good reviews though criticizing your government does not make one a communist and communism itself is far from intrinsically evil.
    What it means is not "the first album ever to feature electric guitar". It means the album ever to feature both acoustic and electric playing in unison and playing together to tell a story. More like Electric guitar improvising along the acoustic guitar. And this is quite true actually, because after 1965, that became the medium in pop music.