In 2007, to promote his new 3 CD greatest hits album, Dylan, Bob Dylan allowed Mark Ronson to remix one of his songs. It tells you how absolutely out of touch with popular music I am that I did not know I was supposed to put “legendary producer” in front of Ronson’s name. He had previously remixed Lily Allen and Radiohead and Britney Spears and Amy Winehouse. Hell, he DJed Tom Cruise’s wedding to Katie Holmes. Big name. Although his fame seems to be more limited to the UK, where he was a much bigger success than in the US.
Dylan is clearly not much of a fan of remixes – witness the fact that I haven’t yet written about one and we’re close to the end of this blog. He let Ronson loose on “Most Likely You Go Your Way (I’ll Go Mine)” from Blonde on Blonde. This is that version:
I’m not sure that I have a ton to say about that. It’s not that good, and it’s not that bad, it just sort of is. Ronson foregrounds the horns and fiddles around a bit, but it’s not very imaginative at all. If I were a Ronson fan I’d probably be disappointed, and as a Dylan fan it does no damage and it makes no improvements. It just sort of sits there.
I do, however, want to mention this article by Owen Adams in The Guardian. This is, quite literally, the worst piece of music writing I’ve read in conjunction with this blog. Just utterly horrible. Adams writes about the song a week before it is released even though he had never heard it! He makes all kinds of snide remarks, questions motives for no reason, uses douchey nicknames for people he doesn’t know (“The Zimmerman”; “Bobcats”) and just generally acts like an ass. So it really pleasing to see him prognosticate:
“There is no way Ronson will just do a little tinkering and maybe adjust the levels a little – he’s obviously going to completely rework it, probably adding a string orchestra or two, and a funky beat.”
Yeah, well, good to be completely wrong there Owen.
What is it about Dylan that brings out this kind of lunacy? Is it just Dylan, or am I just noticing it about Dylan because of this project? Who writes a review of a song that they haven’t heard one week before it’s released and confidently dismisses it? What kind of paper runs this kind of drivel?
This has been my entire philosophy of music writing this year: Listen to song. Write blog post. How on earth is that difficult?
Anyway, I listened to the Ronson mix. It is pretty much a great big nothing. Oh well.
Here’s Ronson talking with Ronnie Wood about the remix project. Kind of a nothing interview too, come to think of it: