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Bob Dylan’s new essay collection paints him as a misanthropic, cranky old man with views that would get anyone else cancelled

Book review: The Philosophy Of Modern Song book review 

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Bob Dylan has always had a way with words. Photo: Kevin Winter

Bob Dylan has always had a way with words. Photo: Kevin Winter

'The Philosophy of Modern Song' by Bob Dylan

'The Philosophy of Modern Song' by Bob Dylan

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Bob Dylan has always had a way with words. Photo: Kevin Winter

He worked in a travelling carnival off and on for six years after dropping out of school. His next employment was as a sex worker in uptown Manhattan where sometimes he’d earn “one hundred a night, really, from four in the afternoon until three or four in the morning,” he said in an interview in the mid-1960s. “I almost got killed.“ In 1966, he was almost killed in a motorcycle accident that made him disappear from public life. He also had a heroin habit in New York.

Most of the above are lies told by Bob Dylan, about himself. He is the master at misleading the world. So, no big surprise perhaps that The Philosophy of Modern Song has very little in the way of philosophy and lacks all modernity. It comprises 66 highly impressionistic essays on songs he appears to find to his taste, from Elvis Costello’s Pump It Up to Frank Sinatra’s Strangers In The Night.


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