Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Irish Times Makes Amends!

Yesterday's Irish Times seemed determined to make up to Dylan and his admirers for the woeful review earlier in the week. They printed a complaining letter about the review with a letter about bad acoustics in the O2, letters here.

They also had an article on oldies in pop and rock which was based on Dylan's new album making No 1 - article here. And then the heavyweight commentator, Fintan O'Toole, had a long detailed discussion The Songs they are A'Changin' on Dylan and his concert. (I saw O'Toole at the first Dublin concert).

"His greatest songs are stitched in to the language and consciousness of our times in the way that was once true of the grandest epic poems. And we hear them now in performance as if from their deathbed. . . . What’s haunting is that Dylan doesn’t make the songs new, he makes them old."


Unknown said...

I read that article by FOT and wondered what you would think of it - great to read this. I think whoever they sent first time to review just wasn't into it.

A wee award over at mine for you...

Des said...

This is the text of my unpublished) letter to the IT about O'Toole's piece on Dylan. I thought what he wrote missed the point almost as much as, if not more so than, Tony Clayton-Lea's live review.


Fintan O’Toole’s appraisal of Bob Dylan’s two concerts in Dublin’s O2 Arena, which appeared in your magazine last Saturday, May 9th, displayed a breathtaking ignorance of the man’s work over the past twelve years, and contained no specific reference to it.

In making sweeping assertions such as ‘...he can’t sing and has lost his gifts for both grabbing the zeitgeist and working up a good tune’, or, even conversely, in comparing him with the late Matisse, ‘...he resorted to something cruder, simpler, but in its own way no less powerfully energetic’, it is painfully obvious that your correspondent has not heard, or at least listened to with concentration, the remarkable late renaissance run of albums, Time Out Of Mind (1997), “Love and Theft” (2001) and Modern Times (2006), or indeed Dylan’s new release, Together Through Life.

Perhaps theatre critics and/or political commentators should stick to writing about what they know best, and steer clear of ill-informed reflections on popular music.

Yours sincerely,