Dylan on Black.

A lot of music has come across the transom lately, not least of which is the video released today by Apple’s Bob Dylan. (Dylan came out with Modern Times, his thirty-first album.) Notes on the video:

  • The video is filmed in black. It features Bob Dylan, who is in both shadow and silhouette. His guitar is black as is his cowboy wardrobe. It’s quite beautiful. And so is the black woman seen dancing in the background.
  • The black dancer in the background sports a white iPod that shines brightly against her black dress and skin. It’s unclear, to me, why she would be listening to Dylan on an iPod when he’s supposed to be only a few feet away playing his guitar.
  • Black is the new season’s color, all around. Skulls and crossbones abound in high fashion and Apple is charging extra for its new laptops that come in black. Black is the sign of our fascination with our ends (and probably our rear ends).
  • I understand Dylan wanting to use black as a kind of character treatment. He’s the new Man in Black, again riffing off the very best our musical culture has to offer, most of which came from blacks.
  • Dylan wears a black cowboy hat. Real cowboys, the ones who worked in the fields herding cattle and stuff, would never wear a black hat. Not out in the hot prairie sun that I now know so well.
  • These days, black hat has taken on new meanings. The Dylan video can’t help but point to the technology of the black hats, our new bad guys.
  • The video ends with a black screen and a white apple. It’s enough to make one buy an iPod.

Oh, it’s a really nice video.