Bob Dylan - Bringing It All Back Home (1965), 5/10

Bob Dylan’s fifth album blends the best and worst of his theoretical approach to composition and music as a concept. One of his greatest songs is present, for instance, in “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” but some of his most generic are also in the mix here. The inclusion of electronic instrumentation is only interesting as a footnote, as musically it rarely adds anything notable and never contributes to a more worthwhile musical statement. Dylan shows how his musical career had been maturing and also what kept him from reaching further into creating anything musically interesting. The first half of the record is notable for attempting a new sound, but it is ultimately disappointing in execution. The second half exhibits his strengths, simply drawing attention to what went wrong already during Bringing It All Back Home. As with many of Dylan’s records, the singles are woefully overrated and notable only for intermittent passages of creative lyricism rather than a combination of wordplay and musicality unlike some of his work on the horizon, and far into the future. His poetry is interesting with context, but nothing special even in comparison to some of his already popular songs and records. This phenomenon of overindulgence is appropriate for its time and place yet does not inspire admiration considering where literature had been and where music would quickly go, far beyond the confines of these generally rudimentary songs. Still, the album is worth listening to for its standout tracks, particularly the opener “Subterranean Homesick Blues”, for which the album was titled in certain European countries, and the aforementioned “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)”. While he has more interesting and innovative records, Bringing It All Back Home has enough scattered successes to make the album worth visiting.