Bob Dylan in the 80s

Bob Dylan think pieces are a bore, but I liked this point:

As for production, the kick drums and backup vocals are overmagnified, sure, but so were everyone else’s, and they were no less excessive than the strings on some of the 1970s records or the slide-guitar, soft-focus drowsiness of the later Lanois output such as 1997’s Time Out of Mind. All decades have their recording tics, and music lovers should embrace them with good-humored affection. And often Dylan sang better than he does now, too.

As this is a nice contextualization:

However, rock had trouble assimilating the next big transitional point in most people’s development—the different kind of awkwardness of middle age. As Mick Jagger guessed in 1966, “What a drag it is getting old.” At least for a while. As it’s turned out, rock-era figures are OK at becoming seniors—Dylan, Neil Young, Paul McCartney, Stevie Nicks, David Bowie, and many other icons wear their silvering hair with élan. The painful part came earlier, in the 1980s, when those stars hit their 40s and began to resemble the parents they once seemed born to vex.

Young, Joni Mitchell, the Grateful Dead, Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, the Who, Van Morrison, of course Dylan, and even the Clash—almost no Boomer icons escaped being tarred as sellouts and has-beens in the 1980s, often by critics barely a few years younger who expected rock gods to be exempt from time’s scythe. Today, I think, we are beyond that fantasy and project less shame onto aging artists, which makes them less prone to wriggle into self-conscious updates as if they were unflatteringly tight shirts.

via Bob Dylan in the 80s: Vol. 1: Dylan covers by Built to Spill, Deer Tick, Craig Finn, and others..

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