"I wouldn’t even think about playing music if I was born in these times...I’d probably turn to something like mathematics. That would interest me. Architecture would interest me. Something like that." -excerpted from the 2005 Bob Dylan Show tour program
Before Bob Dylan’s new album, Modern Times, even hit the shelves, it was already being heralded as the last album in a trilogy of masterworks that signals Dylan’s bona fide return to form. Such hyperbole is typical when discussing Dylan, and it’s only human to want to lavish praise on rock’s bard, especially when his career has been so spotty. That he can record three consecutive albums of solid material is indeed reason for celebration, particularly when his peers—McCartney, Young, the Stones—are either releasing albums that are decidedly mediocre, or albums with a few stellar tunes surrounded by tracks that rarely rise above filler. But implying that Dylan made a calculated effort to make a critical comeback by putting together a triptych of masterpieces is, well, wishful thinking. As much as we like to deify Dylan, if he were of holy bloodline, he wouldn’t have subjected us to such dreck as 1973’s Dylan—unless, of course, he was adopting God’s approach to Job in showing the love.