A mere 8 months after releasing The Times They Are A-Changin‘, Bob Dylan returned with his fourth studio release, Another Side of Bob Dylan. The album title is appropriate. While Dylan continued to mostly feature just guitar and harmonica, all of which were played by himself, the songs take on a more personal nature versus the politically charged folk songs of previous efforts. All the tracks were recorded in just one day of recording with Producer Tom Wilson.
“All I Really Want to Do” is more of his new style as he sings and yodels, “…is baby be friends with you”. Dylan adds piano to “Black Crow Blues” that has a 50s rock and roll mixed with a bit of blues. Lighter tracks like “I Shall be Free No. 10” and “Motorpsyco Nitemare” add a dose of humour to the album. Even though it’s just played with an acoustic guitar, “Spanish Harlem Incident” could be a garage rocker where Dylan sings of a girl who’s “temperature is too hot for taming”. “I Don’t Believe You (She Acts Like We never Have Met)” describes the morning after the night before with a lover where the “morning’s clear/It’s like I ain’t here/She acts like we never met”. The refrain really brings “My Back Pages” home with its earworm lyric, “Ah, but I was so much older then/I’m younger than that now”.
Dylan returns to his political folk song roots on the seven minute “Chimes of Freedom” where he watches a rain storm that tolls “for the luckless, they abandoned and forsaked”. The only track here that appears on most compilations is the vulnerable, “It Ain’t Me Babe”. Here Dylan tells a girl that he’s not the one for her and that she should find someone else. It’s one of his classics that has endured to present day and was later covered by The Turtles and Johnny Cash. Many other tracks here were covered by The Byrds and popularized through their folk rock movement including “Chimes of Freedom”. While Another Side of Bob Dylan may not be as beloved as some of his other massive albums from the 60s, it is one that newcomers to Dylan may be able to get into easier as it mixes some of the political with love, humour and a healthy dose of genius.
Self-improvement books are all the rage on Instagram with most pages holding up the same handful of books. One that doesn’t appear on those lists as often is 2012’s The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. The book centres around the habit loop of Cue-Routine-Reward. In order to change the loop, change the routine. The book has several interesting anecdotes, with two of the better ones being how Rosa Parks started a revolution through her social connections and Paul O’Neill’s time at the aluminum manufacturer, Alcoa.
Normal People is Sally Rooney’s critically acclaimed second novel which then went on to be a TV series on BBC 3. The book is about two Irish teenagers, Connell and Marianne, who start a secret relationship in high school that carries on into young adulthood. Every time they move on with someone else, they keep coming back to each other. Where the book stands out is for its realism as the two lovers find it hard to fully break free from one another. The characters are both likable, yet frustrating, as they try to figure out their lives.
Canadian author, Ross King first wrote of French Impressionism in his book The Judgement of Paris. Ten years later he returns to the subject with Mad Enchantment, a biography of Claude Monet which focuses on his later years as he paints his world-famous water lilies. Like his previous books, Mad Enchantment is very well researched and depicts a country at war with Germany while Monet works on in his studio/garden in Giverny, France. His masterworks came later in life, as Monet continued to learn even while his eyesight deteriorated. His ego flashes with his vulnerability while fellow artists, politicians and art collectors pay homage to his genius.
Flock marks Jane Weaver’s first album to hit the top 40 in the UK. The English singer from Liverpool’s 11th album is a varied recording taking in many different sounds. This is the follow-up to her remix album of tracks from Modern Kosmology and a reimagined soundtrack for the animated movie Fehérlófia. The title track here sees Weaver exploring cosmic 70s soul. “Stages of Phases” uses cascading synths before turning into a dreamy stomping glam number.
Weaver gets funky on first single “The Revolution of Super Visions” and adds a chiming guitar to second single “Heartlow”. The album really shines on the six minute “Modern Reputation” that is powered by a throbbing beat where “ahhhhs” are sung at various tones. The album closes on a its poppiest note with the upbeat dance track “Solarised”. Flock is experimental, atmospheric and organic sounding. The contrasting styles come together, often in the same song, taking the listener for a starlit pop journey.