Seeing Things (Columbia/Starbucks Entertainment)
Seeing Things is a far cry from the
commercial-leaning rock of Dylan’s band days, and generally it’s an
improvement, with mature rustic instrumentation and expansive songwriting that
channels the likes of Jackson Browne and
But darkness still lurks, and the album's ghost could very well be that of Springsteen's own Tom Joad. Harkening a grizzled Tommy Lee Jones, in his don't-tell-me quest of In the Valley of Elah, there is a from-the-headlines murkiness that occasionally makes Dylan’s metaphors and humor a difficult listen. But while Neil Young has proven how CNN-fueled songwriting can be irksome, Dylan handles the likes of "Evil is Alive and Well" and "War is Kind" with a tangential nature, leaving it at an of-the-moment edge instead of slipping into liberal posturing.
As modern music's most fortunate (the genes!) and least fortunate (the shadow!) heir, Jakob Dylan deserves a break, as it’s inevitable that audiences will always expect more. While there will never be another Blood on the Tracks, Seeing Things is a step in the right direction and an effort that stands firmly on its own.