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Time out of mind

January 22, 2013

Time out of mindFrom the first guitar strums of Love Sick – to the seconds when the voice appears – I get the chills of rereading my favorite album in the world – Time out of mind by Bob Dylan – also it is hard to think of a better title for this months re-read topic – because time should be out of mind when you think about the best of art – music, games, movies or poetry…

The well known story of this album is that Dylan was not satisfied with producer Daniel Lanois sound – I have to disagree on that one, Bob – I absolutely love the sound and the feeling it provides… it is dusty and like the wind turning a bit chill after a warm summer day… and it is a very unique sound too

Sometimes the silence can be like the thunder

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Yet again I don’t want every album to sound like this. There are lots of songs and albums where this sound would not fit – but like in a really good book… The tone of the words fit the story perfect. Daniel Lanois produced Dylans 1989 album “Oh mercy” as well – and it is an amazing album too… But in my world Time out of mind has that extra something that makes it even more of an album instead of individual songs..

Last night I danced with a stranger
But she just reminded me you were the one
You left me standing in the doorway crying
In the dark land of the sun

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Can you re-read an album? I think you can. The lyrics are very important and Dylan has been mentioned for the Nobel prize in literature several times by some of the finest literary minds on our planet… – but you shouldn’t limit his candidacy to the words alone because what he does is tell stories set to music in a way that has been done by bards for  hundreds of years but doing it in a way that tells not only stories about modern life and being human – but the story of modern rhythmic music at the same time… Blues, country and lots of folk…

I was born here and I’ll die here against my will
I know it looks like I’m moving, but I’m standing still
Every nerve in my body is so vacant and numb
I can’t even remember what it was I came here to get away from
Don’t even hear a murmur of a prayer
It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there

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The stories and lyrics focus on mortality, love and art in a way anyone can relate to and at the same time have different levels like a fairytale filled with muses who deliver divine inspiration and muses who don’t.

When the evening shadows and the stars appear
And there is no one there to dry your tears
I could hold you for a million years
To make you feel my love

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It is feelings set to music – and stories of being a person in the modern life with all it offers us humans of choices, experiences and relations…

Gonna sleep down in the parlor
And relive my dreams
I’ll close my eyes and I wonder
If everything is as hollow as it seems

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Time out of mind is Dylan’s 30th studio album released in 1997. It won 3 grammys including album of the year in 1998. The year of its release Dario Fo got the nobel prize in literature for his plays – mainly for combining satire and improvisation in his plays… (Just saying!)

It’s mighty funny, the end of time has just begun
Oh, honey, after all these years you’re still the one
While I’m strolling through the lonely graveyard of my mind
I left my life with you somewhere back there along the line
I thought somehow that I would be spared this fate
But I don’t know how much longer I can wait

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This post is written in one piece a Saturday evening with my headphones on and in the company of Time out of mind. It was an exciting new way to listen while writing – It confirmed me in my love for the album and my experience of it being a very important timeless piece of art – I will re-read again – for sure.

Jan Holmquist

Jan Holmquist is head of library development at Guldborgsund-Libraries – a public library in the sourth eastern part of Denmark, Europe. Guldborgsund-Libraries are a proud partner of Read Watch Play.

Jan is part of the German library development network – Zukunftentwicklers and is also a Dad, Crowd funder, Music listener and drinker of good coffee. Jan is a member of the international library crowdfunding teams Buy India a Library and Help This Week in Libraries and is working with an international learning project in the spirit of 23 things about apps on iPad mini.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. janholmquist permalink
    January 23, 2013 5:08 am

    Reblogged this on janholmquist and commented:
    I wrote this about my favorite album for Read Watch Plays topic about re-reading. Can you read an album?

  2. Sigrid Kjøller permalink
    January 23, 2013 11:15 pm

    Interesting. I’m going to read-and-listen Bob Dylan this night.

    • janholmquist permalink
      January 25, 2013 8:22 am

      Thank you for your comment. I hope you liked re-reading “Time out of mind”

  3. winterlude permalink
    January 24, 2013 3:23 am

    This is my favourite album of all time as well. I agree that the sound of this album fits the songs perfectly. It’s hard to imagine it sounding any other way for me. Sure, Bob had produced World Gone Wrong a few years earlier and maybe was looking forward to being more independent in the studio (as he generally has been with all records post-Time Out Of Mind), but I don’t think he would have been quite up to the task for this mammoth record.

    I think his biggest triumphs in production are “Love and Theft” and Christmas In The Heart, two beautifully produced albums with crisp sound and well-led groups. Time Out Of Mind is a different beast in that regard as well; many musicians contributed to the set and their unique voices are sort of blended together in the mix. It’s often hard to tell how many guitars are playing, etc. and it serves to make Bob the star– Lanois makes him sound so alone even though there are tons of other musicians around (or maybe this is possible BECAUSE there are so many others around).

    What an album. It was the first album of new material he released in my memory (I was only a year old when under the red sky came out) and so it has a special place in my heart. I can’t see this one ever being replaced for me. No album knows you like this one does. I feel like somehow it still hasn’t earned its due.

    • janholmquist permalink
      January 25, 2013 8:27 am

      Thank you for reading and for your comment.
      I agree about his own “Jack Frost” Production. “Love and theft” is SO good – and the Christmas album production is both pastiche and perfect at the same time.
      I also really like the production of most songs on “Tempest”.
      You really nail it with the Lanois make him sound so alone comment – That is so true in the best possible way.

  4. Kev Bouttell permalink
    January 24, 2013 7:57 am

    Great short critical analysis of one of the late great Dylan albums looked at as a piece of art.

    • janholmquist permalink
      January 25, 2013 8:28 am

      Thank you for reading and for your very kind comment. Highly appreciated.

  5. Gerhard permalink
    January 25, 2013 9:49 am

    Time out of mind is the masterpiece of depressive art. Success is survival, Leonard Cohen may have said that. Roll on Bob!


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