I Would Just Like to Say I’m Glad Bob Dylan Isn’t Dead

The song is okay too.

DAPR/Zuma

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When it became clear that people 65 and older were at higher risk for severe illness from the coronavirus, I instinctively started worrying about my favorite 78-year-old, Bob Dylan. I checked the perpetually touring geezer’s website to make sure he’d canceled his tour dates in Japan (he had), and felt a touch a comfort.

But Dylan’s scant media presence makes it hard to discern how he’s really doing. Then, late last night, he released a nearly 17-minute-long track about John F. Kennedy’s assassination, assuring me that he’s okay—probably.

I don’t really know if “Murder Most Foul” is any good or if it means Bob Dylan has gone insane. But it means Bob Dylan’s still kicking. That’s all that matters.

The Nobel Laureate’s first original song in eight years includes such questionable poetry as, “Rub-a-dub-dub, it’s a murder most foul,” and “What’s new, pussycat? What’d I say? / I said the soul of a nation been torn away.” The track—a typical, rambling, refrain-less Dylan ballad—has the old crooner’s voice sounding smoother than usual. Yet the song’s successive references to sixties music remind us that Dylan hit his peak long ago. His output is not dark yet, but it’s getting there.

Either way, with the world now turned upside down as on the day of Kennedy’s death, we Dylan diehards can rest assured that the Bard of Duluth is still breathing.

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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