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Bob Dylan strikes again Midnight on Planet Lockdown (asiatimes)

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Midnight on Planet Lockdown: Dylan strikes again

Like a shot ricocheting at Heaven’s Door, Bob Dylan has released a masterpiece dissecting JFK's assassination

>by Pepe Escobar March 28, 2020

What spectacular timing. Like a shot ricocheting at Heaven’s Door as a virus pandemic rages and Planet Lockdown is the new normal, Bob Dylan has produced a stunning 17-minute masterpiece dissecting the November 22, 1963, assassination of JFK – releasing it at midnight US Eastern Standard Time on Thursday.

For baby boomers, not to mention obsessive Dylanologists, this is the ultimate sucker punch. Countless eyes will be plunged into swimming pools revisiting all the memories swirling around “the day they blew out the brains of the king / Thousands were watching, no one saw a thing.” But that’s not all: the Dylanmobile takes us on a magical mystery tour of the 60s and 70s, complete with the Beatles, the Age of Aquarius and the Who’s “Tommy.”

If there’s any cultural artifact capable of sending a powerful jolt across a discombobulated America trying to come to grips with a dystopic Desolation Row, this is it, the work of America’s undisputed, true Exceptionalist. The times, they are-a-changin’. Oh, yes, they are.

There are so many nuggets in Dylan’s lyrics they would be worthy of a treatise, tracking the vortex of music, literature, film references and interlocking Americana.

This is essentially an incantatory mantra set to piano, sparse percussion and violin. We have two narrators: a dying Kennedy (“Ridin’ in the backseat next to my wife / Headin’ straight on in to the afterlife / I’m leanin’ to the left, got my head in her lap / Oh Lord, I’ve been led into some kind of a trap”) and Dylan himself.

Or this can be read as Dylan playing Kennedy’s doppelganger, plus occasional interventions, such as Kennedy’s would-be killers (“Then they blew off his head while he was still in the car / Shot down like a dog in broad daylight / Was a matter of timin’ and the timin’ was right / You got unpaid debts we’ve come to collect / We gonna kill you with hatred, without any respect / We’ll mock you and shock you and we’ll grin in your face / We’ve already got someone here to take your place”).

The pearl at the heart of the mantra is nothing sort of apocalyptic: “They killed him once and they killed him twice / Killed him like a human sacrifice / The day that they killed him someone said to me, / ‘Son, The Age of the Antichrist has just only begun.’”

Extra words to define it would be idle. Wherever you are in Planet Lockdown, sit back in stay at home social distancing mode, turn on, tune in and time travel. There will be blood on the tracks.


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Bob Dylan baffles the world again

Music legend quietly releases 17-minute meditation on JFK assassination

28 Mar 2020

Bob Dylan has surprised and baffled the music world by releasing his first original song in eight years, a mysterious 17-minute meditation on the assassination of John F Kennedy.

Backed by meandering piano, strings and muted drums, Murder Most Foul retells the shooting of the US president from various vantage points while describing the evolution of 1960s counterculture.

“This is an unreleased song we recorded a while back that you might find interesting. Stay safe, stay observant, and may God be with you,” Dylan posted on his website, along with a portrait of Kennedy, who was slain in 1963 while riding in a motorcade through Dallas.

The timing of the song’s release and its subject matter have prompted more questions than answers, as is typical for projects associated with Dylan, who rarely gives straight answers when asked why he does what he does.

The good news is that millions of people stuck at home because of the coronavirus — especially Baby Boomers who elevated him to godlike status in the 1960s — now have one more thing to occupy themselves besides Netflix and workout videos. The official audio version has already racked up 1.3 million listens on YouTube.

They can spend hours trying to decipher the meaning behind all the artist name-drops and pop culture references, including to The Beatles, Charlie Parker, the Eagles, Stevie Nicks and the Woodstock festival.

Or they could try to juxtapose the lyrics of Highway 61 Revisited, a Dylan classic from 1965, with the music of his new release and discover that it works, up to a point. On Apple Music, one person managed to compile and post a playlist of many of the songs referenced in Murder Most Foul within hours of its release on Friday.

Writing in The Guardian, Alex Petridis said March 2020 was “a pretty apropos moment to release an epic song filled with death and horror and apocalyptic dread”.

“Shot down like a dog in broad daylight / Was a matter of timing and the timing was right / You got unpaid debts; we’ve come to collect / We’re gonna kill you with hatred; without any respect,” Dylan recounts in his signature sandpaper vocals.

Another line declares: “I’ve got blood in my eyes and blood in my hair / I’m never gonna make it to the New Frontier” — a reference to the vision Kennedy set out for America in the early 1960s.

It’s the singer’s first original song since his 2012 album Tempest, though he has released three albums of cover tunes, many of them assiociated with Frank Sinatra, in the interim.

Murder Most Foul is also the first song Dylan has penned and released since he reluctantly accepted the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature, the first songwriter awarded the honour.

Dylan, regarded as one of America’s most influential singer-songwriters, has shunned publicity for decades but still performs regularly at small venues around the world.

At 78, he has maintained a relentless touring schedule, though he was forced to cancel a string of April dates in Japan over the coronavirus pandemic.

The artist is still scheduled to kick off a North American tour in June.