Because he has created so many superb albums, it is actually a mammoth task to pick the best Bob Dylan album ever created. I will not be so arrogant as to say that my opinion is better than others on this subject, but will lay out how I arrived at my decision on this point and maybe you will concur.
First I had to narrow it down in my mind to the top 3 and then pick the top album from those. The top three to me are (and not necessarily in this order):
1. Highway 61 Revisited (his 6th album)
2. Bringing It All Back Home (his 5th album)
3. Blonde on Blonde (his 7th album)
Hmmm. He was really on a roll during this time period.
Many could argue that John Wesley Harding, Slow Train Coming or The Freewheelin’ should be on the list of the top three, but there you go. It’s just my opinion, but I’ve definitely traveled a lot of road listening to Bob Dylan songs.
So then to narrow it down to the best of all time. Bringing It All Back Home was the album where he started to move from acoustic folk into electric. Highway 61 Revisited was where he moved solidly into folk-rock and it’s a close second in my book. But Blonde on Blonde was where he took folk-rock to the limit. This double album doesn’t have a bad song on it. So that is the best – Blonde on Blonde. Well why?
Well #1 – the list of fabulous songs from this double album is astounding. Just to name a few:
Visions of Johanna, I Want You, tuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again, Just Like a Woman, Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands, Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat, Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 or Absolutely Sweet Marie. Any of those songs should be in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
#2 – This album sounds like a carnival and the tone of many of the songs are playfully tongue-in-cheek as in Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat, or Absolutely Sweet Marie and Temporary Like Achilles. But the poetry of the lyrics and the exceptional musicianship in the songs is simply top-of-the-line.
#3 – It’s the one album I’m still coming back to listen to again and again after all these years. I rest my case.
One of the lines from Obviously 5 Believers sort of gives an exclamation point to the album’s humor while at the same time showing its poignancy, “I could make it without you baby, if I just did not feel so all alone.”
Even if you don’t agree with what I have chosen as the best Bob Dylan album ever, I don’t think you can deny that he definitely outdid himself with Blonde on Blonde.