The Philosophy of Modern Song

S. & S. Audio. Nov. 2022. 6:38 hrs. ISBN 9781797129525. $24.99. MUSIC
Nobel Prize–winning singer/songwriter/musician and American icon Dylan pens his first book in nearly two decades. This collection of more than 60 essays breaks down big music hits, overlooked ballads, and music staples. These aren’t necessarily Dylan’s favorite songs; rather, they are strong songs that provided him with inspiration. From Elvis Presley to Elvis Costello, from Bobby Darin to the Clash, Dylan shares the musical knowledge, philosophy, and insight that he has accrued during his storied career. Examining lyrics, beats, history, and more, each essay is written in Dylan’s signature rambling, fast-paced style. While the book contains over 150 curated photos, the audiobook features an amazing full-cast performance from luminaries Jeff Bridges, Renée Zellweger, Oscar Isaac, Helen Mirren, Steve Buscemi, John Goodman, Rita Moreno, Sissy Spacek, and Dylan himself. Nearly half of the songs discussed are from the 1950s; others go as far back as 1924 and all the way up to 2003. Listeners may be disappointed to note that out of these 66 songs, only four are sung by women; more of the songs, about a third, are by people of color.
VERDICT While listeners won’t necessarily agree with all of Dylan’s selections, they will likely enjoy learning about both obscure songs and chart-toppers. The all-star narration makes this audiobook shine.
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