The Philosophy of Modern Song (Hardback)
  • The Philosophy of Modern Song (Hardback)
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The Philosophy of Modern Song (Hardback)

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£35.00
Hardback 352 Pages
Published: 01/11/2022
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Waterstones Says

More than a decade in the writing, this indispensable guide to songcraft from the world's greatest living songwriter and Nobel Prize-winner analyses over sixty works by Elvis Costello, Nina Simone and a host of other artists in a collection of essays written in Dylan's inimitable, mercurial style.

The Philosophy of Modern Song is Bob Dylan’s first book of new writing since 2004’s Chronicles: Volume One — and since winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016.

Dylan, who began working on the book in 2010, offers a masterclass on the art and craft of songwriting. He writes over 60 essays focusing on songs by other artists, spanning from Stephen Foster to Elvis Costello, and in between ranging from Hank Williams to Nina Simone. He analyses what he calls the trap of easy rhymes, breaks down how the addition of a single syllable can diminish a song and even explains how bluegrass relates to heavy metal.

These essays are written in Dylan’s unique prose. They are mysterious and mercurial, poignant and profound, and often laugh-out-loud funny. And while they are ostensibly about music, they are really meditations and reflections on the human condition. Running throughout the book are nearly 150 carefully curated photos as well as a series of dream-like riffs that, taken together, resemble an epic poem and add to the work’s transcendence.

In 2020, with the release of his outstanding album Rough and Rowdy Ways, Dylan became the first artist to have an album hit the Billboard Top 40 in each decade since the 1960s. The Philosophy of Modern Song contains much of what he has learned about his craft in all those years and, like everything that Dylan does, it is a momentous artistic achievement.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd
ISBN: 9781398519411
Number of pages: 352
Dimensions: 232 x 187 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

‘The acidity, acuity and cynicism in [Dylan’s] writing is to be expected (indeed, welcomed). It is the love, enthusiasm, whimsicality and lightly worn wisdom that delight too. That, and the sheer depth and breadth of his dogged scholarship and restless inquisitiveness’   - Sunday Times

‘Discursive, unpredictable, but always illuminating. Characteristically Dylan, in fact…  It is not just the breadth of Dylan’s musical knowledge on display here, but the depth of his listening.  He has an unerring ability to pinpoint what sets a song – or a singer, or a group – apart’   - Observer

‘Its lavishly and wittily illustrated 350 pages are an excuse for the great man to write with joyful zest, piercing profundity and flamboyant imagination about whatever crosses his mind, offering startlingly and frequently laugh-out-loud riffs on art and life…  This book is lightning in a bottle’  - Daily Telegraph

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Michael Rothwell

“Crash calling, London Calling; Dylan Called”

66 chapters of songs heard, reassembled and discoursed upon by a post-Nobel laureate prizewinner. What do words mean in song, in the lyric, in the usage of words with music alone? What creates a song? Dylan gradually... More

Hardback edition
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