FPeople were eagerly waiting for Bob Dylan’s latest album: What message would the Prophet hide in his latest change? But we sensed that it was always the same message, and he speaks it clearly in his new song: “The day that they killed him, someone said to me,, Son / The Age of the Antichrist has only just begun ‘ “(” When they killed him, someone said, ‘Man, the age of the Antichrist is only just beginning’).
The new song is about the murder of John F. Kennedy in Dallas in 1963. It was 50 years ago, Dylan sings in “Murder Most Foul”, which indicates that the recording is a bit older, perhaps an outtake from the failed “Tempest” album from 2012 with the embarrassing ode to another murdered person: John Lennon .
The Beatles play a shady role in the new song: they are supposed to hold hands with America’s youth, prepare them for the age of the Aquarius and the hippies. To the Woodstock Festival, against which Dylan barricaded himself in his house with a rifle, and to Altamont, where Meredith Hunter was stabbed by the Hells’ Angels to the sounds of “Sympathy For The Devil”.
Then the song, which is essentially a meditation on two piano chords, with some bass and drums in between, sinks into a meandering list of song titles and musicians that Dylan may or may not like, quotations from films and references to pop cultural legends.
Baby boomers can spend a long corona evening with a guessing game for two: recognize the allusion! Let’s put it this way: on the other hand, Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire”, another nostalgia exercise disguised as criticism for seventy-year-olds, is relatively easy to go through.
All these names, song, news and film scraps put Dylan in an associative connection with the Dallas murder or with the “soul of JFK”, which, as Dylan says, the nation has been searching in vain for 50 years, which is why she has since “ sinks into slow decay ”.
That was also recently the subject of Stephen King’s perhaps best novel 11/22/63, in which the hero takes a journey through time to prevent the murder of Kennedy – and the subsequent catastrophes – in good time. But when King’s hero – mission accomplished – returns to the present, it is a post-nuclear dystopia.
Long history, goes too far here. But King understood more than Dylan.
Dylan himself was one of Kennedy’s sharpest critics when he was a young protest singer and played in front of radical students. Again and again – in “Subterranean Homesick Blues” or “Let Me Die in My Footsteps” – he denounced the construction of nuclear bunkers, which was inspired by Kennedy. “Masters Of War” and other songs were directed against the massive upgrade program decided by JFK.
If he was inclined to self-criticism, he might wonder why a leftist who had fled to the Soviet Union sympathized with Fidel Castro, had unsuccessfully attempted to assassinate a racist general, and – if he hadn’t been totally unmusical – probably favored early Bob Dylan would have, which is why Lee Harvey Oswald of all people assassinated JFK.
But like the entire American left that forgot its hatred of Kennedy in an act of collective repression on the evening of November 22, 1963 and made him a martyr of a right-wing conspiracy overnight, Dylan, 57 years old and unfortunately not a bit wise, speaks of it “Sacrifice Lamb” Kennedy, for whom “they” blew out the brain – and the nation’s soul.
“They” are a dark conspiratorial group, which he does not name, but in which we can presume the evil business people linked to the mafia, whom Oliver Stone names in his perfidious film “JFK” as the mastermind behind the attack. In “Tempest”, Dylan had already shown on the demise of the “Titanic” that he did not want to distinguish between film and reality.
Oh, oh. There was a time when a Dylan song could help solve a murder, name a culprit – such as in “The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carol” – or – think of the mighty “Hurricane” – allow an innocent to freedom help.
Now it murmurs and meanders weakly, and even if the usual suspects cheer over a “song to the soul of America”, so it remains: Not always an old work is venerable.
Recently Phil Ochs, who was once considered a rival of Dylan, brought up his old song “Love Me, I’m A Liberal” and released it with current lyrics. It’s not about the Antichrist, but about worse things: the Wischi-Waschi left-wing liberals, “Ten degrees to the left of the center in general, ten degrees to the right of the center when it comes to your own interests”. If nostalgic, please do so.