From this distance it's hard to imagine the shock this must have caused when it first came out. Dylan's first four albums (all big sellers) had been entirely acoustic; just Bob on vocals, guitar and harmonica. This opens with the pounding, very plugged-in 'rap' Subterranean Homesick Blues and all at once with this ultimate crossover song, intelligent rock, artistic rock was born. The opening scene of Dylan's documentary the same year (Don't Look Back) also used this song to make it the first song to have what we would now call a video. Dylan's lyrics here are perfect, half-way between the impassioned beliefs of his folk protests and the beautiful nonsense of much of Blonde on Blonde. Love Minus Zero/ No Limit is still for me the perfect love song, and I challenge you not to be moved as the album slips out of the bluesy-rock boisterousness to the more thoughtful atmosphere of pared-down voice and guitar. It is this second half that really makes the album. It's as if Dylan has just been entertaining you for half-an-hour, sits down and says "Now. Let me show you what I can do." There can be few songs in his canon more bitter than It's Alright Ma, and few more tender than It's All Over Now, Baby Blue, both made from the simplest of ingredients.
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