Friday, August 11, 2006

Bob Dylan and the Alicia Keys to Advancement

There is a nice article in Slate about one of the most Advanced artists of all time:

"Bob Dylan's 44th album, Modern Times, isn't coming out until Aug. 29, but it's already planting stories in the press. The album's title alludes to Chaplin and possibly Sartre, but a shout out to an R&B diva born in 1980, the year of Dylan's Saved, has already generated advance buzz. 'Dylan Searches for New Soul Mate,' blared a headline from the Guardian, offering as evidence the following lines from 'Thunder on the Mountain,' the album's opening track:

I was thinking about Alicia Keys, couldn't help from crying
When she was born in Hell's Kitchen, I was living down the line
I'm wondering where in the world Alicia Keys could be
I been looking for her even clean through Tennessee."

It goes on to talk about how Dylan has often been "besotted" by African-American woman singers. As you may remember, Advanced musicians love to use African-American (or, even better, African) backup singers, and Dylan was no different:

"By 1978, when Dylan embarked on what was cynically called his 'alimony tour,' he provided spectacle by adding, along with disco arrangements and Neil Diamond-style jumpsuits, a group of African-American backup singers."

One of the things I've learned from reading his autobiography is that Bob Dylan always knows exactly what he is doing and how it will be perceived. And then he does it anyway, because he's Advanced.

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