20071101

Knockin' on Dylan's Door


Bob Dylan has almost always treaded the line between worship and annoyance. I don't know anyone that isn't fairly polarized for or against him, mostly due to his voice, or lack thereof. But there are two things most people agree on: That he changed music and that the songs themselves are special. Dylan as a figure is fascinating. The never-ending tour, the years in the spotlight, the immense expectations and various incantations of a legend.

I'm Not There, a Dylan biopic from the brain of Todd Haynes, addresses those incantations literally by casting Heath Ledger, Richard Gere, Christian Bale, Ben Whishaw, Marcus Karl Franklin, and even Cate Blanchett to play the troubadour at different stages of his life. Supporting that ensemble is another ensemble made up of David Cross, Charlotte Gainsbourg (Science of Sleep), Julianne Moore, and Michelle Williams.

Most importantly, any musical biopic is going to have a soundtrack of the subject's catalog, and this one is miles away from disappointing. This two-disc album is fantastic. Sufjan Stevens, Cat Power, Calexico, Iron & Wine, Eddie Vedder, Karen O, Antony and the Johnsons, Yo La Tengo, The Hold Steady, Sonic Youth, Stephen Malkmus, The Black Keys, Los Lobos, Jack Johnson, Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova, Jeff Tweedy, Mason Jennings, and of course, the father of folk himself. So basically, it's a clusterf*ck of awesome. Some do the songs straight up, some add their own twist. Sufjan's is probably my favorite, no surprise there.

I've always felt that most (not all) of Bob Dylan's music would sound better with someone else at the helm. This album doesn't confirm that theory entirely, but it does scratch that itch for all of us. I think we can enjoy it for that.

Listen:
Sufjan Stevens - Ring Them Bells
Antony & the Johnsons - Knockin' on Heaven's Door
[from I'm Not There OST|buy]

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