Bob Dylan – The Times They Are a-Changin’

Bob Dylan – The Times They Are a-Changin’

By  John Consiglio

Moments that change history, are not often created by the actions of many, but by the voices of few. During the 1960s, the United States found itself divided; many artists wrote and protested over the issues of social and racial inequality, poverty, politics, and war. Among these artists, one man rose to shake the foundation of society, and give a voice to the voiceless. Bob Dylan’s 1964 album The Times They Are a-Changin’ marks his third studio album, and the first one to be comprised with only original songs [1]. Within The Times They Are a-Changin’ Dylan blends his eccentric and distinctive melodies with these social conflicts plaguing the 60s. This feeling of political uproar can be heard most prominently on track one’s “The Times They Are a-Changin’” where Dylan’s uplifting folk rhythm, along with the timbre of his acoustic guitar and harmonica, brings the protest marches and civil rights rallies right to the listener. While The Times They Are a-Changin’ follows a narrow texture of guitar and harmonica throughout its ten tracks, this does not in turn make the songs feel flat and uninspired, but instead ropes the listener in, refocusing their ears on the message behind Dylan’s lyrics. Track three’s “With God on Our Side” for example, follows a fairly simple form, but where the song shines is beneath the lyrics, where we find a message about the inevitability of war, and that when one enemy dies, another is just around the corner. The Times They Are a-Changin’ also carries a number of songs addressing the racial conflicts that were present in the 60s such as “Only a Pawn in Their Game” and “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll”; each of which evoke powerful emotion that came with the struggle for social equality. Overall, Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are a-Changin’ is truly an album that stands for something more than just music. Behind the harmonies is the idea that one’s voice can conquer any army or nation. As we carry on with our everyday lives in a socially and politically divided America, if you feel that there is no hope of moving forward, remember Bob Dylan, remember this album,  and remember that the times they are a-changin’.

[1] Wikipedia. “The Times They Are a-Changin’.” Last Modified March 1, 2012. Accessed March 21, 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Times_They_Are_a-Changin%27

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