Ranking Bob Dylan Songs, #121: Nashville Skyline Rag

 

OK, this is kind of cheating. “Nashville Skyline Rag” isn’t really a song, it’s more like an album interlude. It’s completely instrumental, and mainly serves to pace the album, like Radiohead does with “Treefingers” or “Fitter Happier,” or The Beatles do with several songs on The White Album.

The difference between those songs and “Nashville Skyline Rag,” though, is that OK Computer, The White Album and Kid A are all generally considered “high concept” albums. The interludes are (hypothetically) necessary to maintain the album’s sense of flow. Nashville Skyline is really just a simple country album. It’s only 27 minutes long, and three of those minutes are a pretty basic country beat without lyrics.

I don’t profess to be a country music expert, but this is a pretty humble, some might even say trite, composition.

What makes the song forgivable, and the Nashville Skyline album as a whole interesting, is the sense that Dylan is having fun. After his seminal work of the mid-60s and a debilitating motorcycle accident, this album, combined with The Basement Tapes, sounds like Dylan has moved beyond the pressure of trying to be brilliantly innovative and unpredictable with every album. And sometimes, I guess, the only way to get beyond that pressure is to do something completely unbrilliant and predictable like “Nashville Skyline Rag.”

Advertisements

One response to this post.

  1. […] on Bringing it all Back Home, or even Highway 61 Revisited, I’d probably dismiss it as almost as one note as “Nashville Skyline Rag.” But placed where it is, it ends up setting the tone for Dylan’s best album. As a result, I’ve […]

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: