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.