Rolling Stone: Still Blowing Bob Dylan

Rolling Stone, that music magazine that felt it necessary to feature the ladies from MTV's The Hills on the cover of its May issue, just released its list of top 50 albums of 2008. Wouldn't you know it; they put Bob Dylan at number two. Why not number one, Rolling Stone? Maybe because they realize it's the year 2008 - and believe me, they do by putting Taylor Swift and The Jonas Brothers at numbers 39 and 40, respectively. At least they put those two right next to each other to get that crap out of the way, as if to say "here teenage girls and creepy old men, we put them back to back so you won't have to wade through the rest of our dense, pompous and scattered list." It kind of seems lazy to do that, like a best of list that features five hip-hop albums in a row followed by five pop albums, in some sort of neat order that won't confuse readers.

Getting back to Bob Dylan, I must note that what pisses me off the most about including him on the list is that the album, Tell Tale Signs - The Bootleg Series Vol. 8, is an album comprised of rare and unreleased songs. So what you're saying, Rolling Stone, is that you think a musician - whose biggest demographic was alive to witness JFK being shot - can release a bunch of songs that weren't even good enough to be originally published and still come in as your number two album of the year? That is rude and unfair to the hordes of young musicians who are coming up, busting their asses to make their music made known. It's soul crushing for a band like The Knux - number 28 on the list - who opened a new door for hip-hop, stretching the boundaries of the genre (all without auto-tune) and dutifully out Outkast-ing Outkast. Nope, Rolling Stone would rather pander to the AARP crowd, effectively telling a band like The Knux that their album pales in comparison to a bunch of dusty, old Bob Dylan b-sides. Hell, I should be happy they even got on the list in the first place.

They crowned TV on the Radio's 2008 album Dear Science as their favorite of the year, something I see as a makeup call for missing the band 2006's offering Return To Cookie Mountain, a far superior album. A quick glance at Rolling Stone's 2006 Top 50 list reveals that, in quite shocking and spellbinding fashion, Bob Dylan had the best album of the year. Now you see why putting a Bob Dylan album full of rarities - or songs not quite good enough to make one of his regular albums - as their second favorite album of the year pisses me off in such spectacular fashion. They have always had a less than discreet love affair with Dylan, and I guess it will never end, because you and I know that they will continue to honor any album of his that is released posthumously.

For what it's worth, Rolling Stone did manage to include The Knux, as I mentioned earlier, as well as albums by Santogold, Fleet Foxes, Blitzen Trapper, Girl Talk and Ra Ra Riot. They, of course, have to weigh down those fresh, exciting bands with offerings by Coldplay, Metallica, Ryan Adams and The Cardinals, Jackson Browne and Randy Newman. Yes, that's right: Randy Newman. Why don't you do us all a favor, Rolling Stone, and put him at the top of your list. That would be the only way for me to see a Bob Dylan album full of forgotten b-sides coming in as a legit number two album of 2008. --Michael Lopez

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Martin Cizmar
Contact: Martin Cizmar