There are lots of things to like and lots of things to say about Bob Dylan. But I’d like to single out something that isn’t said enough about him. He makes great noise. In some ways, that’s what makes his music as good as it is. The noisiness of his music is most obvious on an album like Highway 61 Revisited, where the pianos and organs and guitars and drums and voice and words all swirl together like anything could happen, like anything is happening, or Blonde on Blonde, with its half-drunken bluesy, country sound. Or, listen to this raucous version of “Shelter from the Storm,” with all its drive and slidings and spondees:
In fact, even his lyrics seem to be more about creating this noisiness than about saying anything in particular. For whatever reason I associate what I’m calling noisiness with being in New York City on a good bright day.