Did you know that Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde and The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds were released on the same day, 50 years (and 4 days) ago? Well, Tablet’s Liel Liebovitz knew, and it led him to write a great little essay that concludes with this beautiful paragraph:
Listening to Blonde on Blonde or Pet Sounds today is like strolling through the ruins of a formerly great civilization: never without a tinge of regret for seeing the great pursuits of our ancestors reduced to polite plaques commemorating dates and names half-forgotten, but also never without a spark of hope that great things can be built, done, and recorded once again. At this moment in our collective history, with America’s greatness but a memory fading into a grotesque slogan, we need all the reminders we can get that we are, at core, a nation of religious pulsations and that when allowed an open heart and a few breaths of inconvenient candor we can still make the most beautiful music in the world.
RTWT–Liebovitz is particularly interesting on the quasi-religious character of much 60s rock. He should check out my Rock Songbook, of course, and particularly it’s (no. 85) explanation of our musical decline.
And when he’s in a more less ruin-lovin’ mood, he might check out my recent review (no. 119) of contemporary artists with a sixties-ish sound.