Oregon Music News: Oregon’s all-genre music magazine since 2009


Bob Dylan: Murder Most Foul

By SCOTT CUNNINGHAM // Epic ballad recounts JFK assassination

Bob Dylan released his first new song today in nearly a decade, a haunting, epic ballad detailing the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963.

The release was a surprise in music circles and Dylan was his usual cryptic self in making the announcement on his webpage. "This is an unreleased song we recorded a while back that you might find interesting. Stay safe, stay observant, and may God be with you."

A sparse arrangement of violin, piano, and extremely subtle percussion accompany Dylan as he works his way through the nearly 17-minute piece. Interestingly (bizarrely?), the song contains a plethora of music references, some 75 by the latest count.

An undercurrent of the song is the historical reference of a nation losing its innocence as a result of the JFK shooting in Dallas. In the fourth verse, Dylan sings: "What's new, pussycat? What'd I say? / I said the soul of a nation has been torn away / And it's beginning to go into a slow decay."

Given the larger social context of the moment, Dylan has once again demonstrated his prowess for political commentary.

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