Bob Dylan Channels Walt Whitman and Anne Frank in His New Song of Himself

by Seth Rogovoy

(April 17, 2020) – Oops, he did it again. In the deep, dark, blackness of the night, the Mystic Oracle of Hibbing let drop a new utterance. Today, we awoke to the new sounds of Bob Dylan’s “I Contain Multitudes,” just three weeks after Dylan stunned believers and non-believers alike with a 17-minute “Waste Land”-like take on the JFK assassination and its aftermath called “Murder Most Foul.”

Clocking in at a mere four-and-a-half minutes, “I Contain Multitudes” boasts a wisp of a vocal melody (unlike the Sprechstimme of “Murder Most Foul”) over chord changes that give it a Tin Pan Alley-like feel not unknown in Dylan’s work of the last decade and a half. A small combo lays down a lovely soundscape, with woozy guitar chords, evocative pedal-steel guitar, and bowed bass.

 

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