Saturday, August 05, 2006

Bob strikes again

On September the 11th, 2001 I woke early in the morning, with a keen sense of anticipation.

If you find that sentence sinister, then you're not a true Bob Dylan fan. September the 11th, 2001 will be remembered for other reasons, but for months it had been eagerly awaited by devotees of his Bobness, because it was the release date for Love and Theft, the man's first new studio album in four years. For thousands of people who rushed out and bought the new disc, the ghastly images of September the 11th gained an instant soundtrack. And the lyrics of 'High Water (for Charlie Patton)', one of the strongest songs on the album, sounded like awful premonitions to those of us watching TV with our stereos turned up:

High water risin', six inches 'bove my head
Coffins droppin' in the street
Like balloons made out of lead

The words to 'Honest with Me', the second to last track on Love and Theft, would gain their own eerie significance after George Bush used September the 11th to launch a new American empire in the Middle East:

Some things are too terrible to be true...
I'm here to create the new imperial empire
I'm gonna do whatever circumstances require

Times were a changing, and not for the better, though the young Bob would no doubt have been impressed by the huge anti-war movement that rose out of the ashes of September the 11th to oppose Bush, as well by as the heroic resistance to US imperialism in Iraq, Venezuela, and numerous other parts of the Third World.

Now Bob has a new suite of songs in the can, and they're due for release less than two weeks before the fifth anniversary of Osama bin Laden's onslaught. Dylan has given his forty-fourth studio album the title Modern Times, which sounds rather ominous to me. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed on August the 29th...


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