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Bob Dylan: 50 Years After His Debut, Have Things Changed?

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Jef With One F: The question isn't whether or not Bob Dylan is overrated. The question is whether or not influencing a tremendous amount of incredibly talented artists is the same as being incredibly talented yourself.

The number of people, famous and underground, talented and untalented, who have cited Dylan as a major influence has got to be at least in the tens of thousands. His music has inspired countless awesome songs.

However, as an artist himself I just don't think Dylan cuts the mustard. His output, especially in his more religious moments, can be of pretty damn spotty quality. His modern work has little of the lyrical twists that made him the great poet - though I admit the quality of the recordings and the musicianship are much better.

Many artists who achieve legendary status, artists like Johnny Cash, David Bowie and Trent Reznor, use their later and more secure years to experiment and grow. They've earned the financial independence, and become free to take a long hard look at their art. I don't think Dylan has. He's stalled.

In the end, we owe an awful lot of great musical moments to Dylan, and that's a heavy debt. On the other hand he seems content to let others define his legacy, to be great because other people say he is.

Brittanie Shey: I loooooove Bob Dylan and would curse anyone who says he's overrated.

Here's my real answer:

People often discount Dylan because of his singing style, but I am more a fan of his lyrics than anything else. Once you start listening to the words he's singing, his offbeat delivery just seems more emotional than anything.

I am a big fan of everything on Blood on the Tracks, and just like Dylan, I go through phases. But I almost always go back to one song as my favorite: "Ballad of a Thin Man."

Allison Wagoner: I understand the historical context of his music and the effect it had on the civil-rights political atmosphere in America, but the music itself is overemphasized today, particularly by arrogant music elitists who were born ten years after he peaked.

Not even my authentic folk-artist hippie aunt could convince me as a child, motherfolker; why would I waste space on my hard drive with music that bores me, just because it's Bob Dylan and because you have some Wayfarers and a harmonica? Folk you. Blonde On Blonde was a good album, but I'd rather listen to Townes Van Zandt.

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