Somehow it works. The first new music from Bob Dylan in almost a decade is a 17-minute epic that you will want to listen to again and again, with new insights on each listen.
“Murder Most Foul” is Dylan’s “American Pie.” Though Don Maclean’s romp through the sixties was lighthearted and fun, this is a more reflective look at the past, anchored with the assassination of US President John Fitzgerald Kennedy in November 1963.
That event was the defining moment for a generation of Americans, even more so than the first moon landing six years later. Everyone of a certain age can tell you where they were and what they were doing when they heard that JFK had been shot.
Dylan’s tune winds its way through the streets of Dallas with Kennedy, and through the years that followed, tossing out movie and music references that defined the times. It is a slow, somber song, dominated by piano and guitar.
The song was recorded a few years back, but just released this past Friday. Maybe he thought the mood of the times appropriate for the epic to see the light of day.
This piece will be analyzed to death in the days and weeks to come. Dylan is a cultural icon, and it has been so long since he released new music. I’m not going to add to that, at least not at this point – and probably never. I’m just going to enjoy the music.
One thing I did note, in addition to all the cultural references (The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Robert Johnson and Woody Allen are among those mentioned either directly or obliquely) was that there is a very Biblical feel to the song. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn Dylan wrote it as a reflection on certain Scripture passages. Given that the man rarely explains himself, we’ll probably never know.
Check the song out for yourself by clicking on the image above. Then let me know what you think.