Album Review: Jakob Dylan – ‘Seeing Things’
By Sue Klasky Jul 15, 2008, 23:22 GMT
Jakob Dylan, singer-songwriter of the rock band the Wallflowers, recently released his first solo recording, ‘Seeing Things’ after five CDs with his band.
Off the bat, I'm not a fan of the Wallflowers. I've probably heard their songs on the radio, but I don't own any of their CDs. Jakob's dad is Bob Dylan, and actually, one of the photos of Jakob on the CD cover resembles his famous dad in his younger days.
Dylan took the acoustic approach for ‘Seeing Things.’ He wrote all the tunes, and sings, plays guitar and bass. He had extra musical help from David Ferguson, Jason Boesel and Z. Berg. Rick Rubin produced the CD.
At first listen, Dylan's folk-tinged songs are delicate, quiet, low-key and a bit depressing. I wasn't sure what his lyrics meant. It doesn't help when there isn't a lyric page in the CD. They were mysterious to me, which can be good so you get your own take of his ideas. Also, the cover photos show Dylan in sunglasses, looking more mysterious.
Yet as I listened a few more times, the multi-layered, personal lyrics and melodies started to grow on me. The production is good - the guitar work is tight, bright and sharp. Dylan's vocals and harmonies are clear and not muddied.
Some of the tunes, including "Valley of the Low Sun," "War is Kind," "Evil is Alive And Well" and "I Told You I Can't Stop" have an anti-war point of view. But the messages or the music aren't pushed on the listener - the music isn't raging and the lyrics aren't in your face.
The songs I especially liked were "All Day and All Night" and "Something Good This Way Comes." The former is bright and bluesy and danceable. The latter, which I believe I've heard on the radio, is sweet, a feel-good tune and you can sing along to it.
I also liked the love song, "Will It Grow" with its fine guitar and drum work. It also could be interpreted as anti-war; and the same with "On Up the Mountain" - go for what you want to do in your life and/ or anti-war. I also enjoyed "Valley of the Low Sun".
On the down side, I found some of the music similar sounding, and Dylan's vocals can sound a little monotonous.
If you have time to listen to Dylan's lyrics, this CD is for you. And I'm sure Dylan and Wallflowers fans will want the CD too.