Out Now: ‘Rough and Rowdy Ways,’ the Anticipated New Album from Bob Dylan (Listen)

Rock Cellar Magazine StaffCategories:Latest News

Rock Cellar Magazine

When Bob Dylan announced his new album, Rough and Rowdy Ways, it caught many by surprise. After all, the living legend hadn’t released an album of original material since 2012’s Tempest.

The record is out today, and it’s another masterful collection of songs from Dylan, his songwriting as sharp as it’s been in quite some time.


Speaking with the New York Times in a piece published last week, Dylan said this regarding the concept of morality, one broached in songs such as “I Contain Multitudes”:

I think about the death of the human race. The long strange trip of the naked ape. Not to be light on it, but everybody’s life is so transient. Every human being, no matter how strong or mighty, is frail when it comes to death. I think about it in general terms, not in a personal way.

That’s a glimpse into the mind set Bob Dylan was in when he put together the songs on this new album.

Listening to Rough and Rowdy Ways, it’s breathtaking in its scope and quality. Eight years between albums of original material is a long time away from the game, so to speak, but Dylan sounds as competent and masterful as ever with these new songs.

Dylan is a poet, after all, arguably the finest musical poet the world’s ever seen — and his wordplay elevates songs like “My Own Version of You”:

I study Sanskrit and Arabic to improve my mind
I wanna do things for the benefit of all mankind
I say to the willow tree, “Don’t weep for me”
I’m saying to hell to all things that I used to be
Well, I get into trouble, then I hit the wall
No place to turn, no place at all
I’ll pick a number between a-one and two
And I ask myself, “What would Julius Caesar do?”
I will bring someone to life in more ways than one
Don’t matter how long it takes, it’ll be done when it’s done

Rough and Rowdy Ways is among the strongest musical statements made by Bob Dylan in recent years, and it stands up well alongside his back catalog.

It’s great to have him back in the game.

Stream Rough and Rowdy Ways below, via Spotify:

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