Playing God
Bob Dylan: Time Out Of Mind

By: Ian Mathers

Posted 10/10/2005 - 10:38:41 AM by maomao:
 Dude, you're going to get flamed for this one! No "Trying to get to heaven"? No "Highlands"? "Trying to get to heaven" takes the mortality themes of "Standing" and "Not Dark" and takes them to a whole other level...with it's post-bellum references to "going down the river/down to New Orleans". This song is the centrepiece of this album! Most Dylan fans would welcome the rumoured-to-exist 30 minute version of "Highlands". This song is funny ("listening to Neil Young/gotta turn up the sound/everybody's always saying/turn it down"). It epitomizes the allusive technique of the later poet...taking a Robert Burns reference and making a surreal narrative. (Later, "Love and Theft" would turn from illusion to pastiche...outright theft, even). What's more, I agree with you..."Things Have Changed" has nothing to with TOOM. The outtakes from these sessions have never we can't turn to those. If anything, playing god would mean re-recording the album with Jack Frost (aka Bob himself) instead of Lanois producing. Bob himself has noted that producers don't know what to do with his voice. I also don't think Bob would ever work with Lanois again.
Posted 10/10/2005 - 11:17:40 AM by danielbaars:
 I agree with maomao about 'Trying To Get To Heaven': this is a MAJOR Dylan song and should be put on any edit of 'Time Out Of Mind'. I don't agree with the statement 'I also don't think Bob would ever work with Lanois again'. In 'Chronicles' Dylan reserves some of his biggest praise for anyone for Daniel Lanois. They did have disagreements during the recording but I think it made Dylan respect Lanois all the more...
Posted 10/10/2005 - 12:24:46 PM by IanMathers:
 "Highlands" is boringboringboring, and the Neil Young allusion always makes me wince; I can't actually remember what "Trying To Get To Heaven" sounds like, and I listened to the full album about a dozen times when I was doing this. I actually quite like the production, but it'd be pretty interesting to see what Jack Frost would have done all by his lonesome.
Posted 10/10/2005 - 12:39:42 PM by cwperry:
 I appreciate the idea of taking a song not from this album's session and incorporating it into the track listing, but I just can't see "Things Have Changed" on Time Out of Mind. Good article, though I also am a big defender of "Trying to Get to Heaven." And "To Make You Feel Me Love" is one of the worst Dylan songs ever - I cannot believe so many people adore this tune (Billy Joel and Garth Brooks covered it; I heard some guy do it at a karaoke bar last Thursday. Ugh!).
Posted 10/10/2005 - 01:33:27 PM by sillyrabbit:
 If you really want to trim the fat, then just drop "Highlands" and "To Make You Feel My Love". The latter is shite and the former is just too ponderous, rambling, repetitive and pretentious with very little of anything musically interesting to warrant repeated listenings. No "Trying To Get To Heaven"? Are you kidding me? You must have forgotten that “Trying to Get To Heaven” is on the album, didn’t you? If you just thought it should be left off, then you are an idiot, plain and simple. Not only one of the highlights of the album, but one of Dylan’s finest and most moving songs. “Trying to Get to Heaven” is a touching snapshot of Dylan’s life (and certainly the experience of countless others), trying to find and maintain faith in the autumn of one’s life, after spending much of that life engaging in decidedly ungodly actions and blindly searching for fulfillment. I’ve always wondered if “Mississippi”, which ended up on “Love and Theft” but was recorded in the “Time Out of Mind” sessions, might not fit better on “Time Out of Mind”. I dearly love that song, and the jury is still out for me as to whether it might not work better on a re-imagined “Time Out of Mind”. Again, you left off “Trying to Get to Heaven”? Are you nuts?
Posted 10/10/2005 - 04:43:09 PM by darinfic:
 subjectivity makes art great.
Posted 10/10/2005 - 05:45:11 PM by IanMathers:
 To repeat, for sillrabbit's benefit: I left it off because I found it boring and unmemorable. I'm certainly glad you get more out of it than me, though.
Posted 10/17/2005 - 09:42:00 AM by James_McKean:
 I only like Not Dark Yet and The Highlands really.