Our music critic puzzles through some of the mystical ideas of the 17-minute epic around the assassination of man F. Kennedy.

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Bob Dylan's very first original tune to be exit in eight year is "Murder most Foul."Read moreGareth Fuller / PA Wire

Bob Dylan surprised a locked-down civilization with a new song a couple of minutes ~ the stroke of midnight top top Friday morning. The new epic, “Murder most Foul,” is the an initial original tune that he’s placed out since 2012.

The 17-minute opus — the longest tune Dylan has ever recorded — is ostensibly about the assassination of john F. Kennedy and borrows its title from an additional bard. In plot 1 of william Shakespeare’s Hamlet, a ghost remarks come the protagonist: “Murder many foul, as in the ideal it is / yet this many foul, strange and unnatural.”

Dylan’s “Murder most Foul” come at a most strange and also unnatural time in American history, as the coronavirus has carried life as we knew it to a suddenly halt. It speak to the current moment by addressing a tragedy that quit the nation in its monitor on Nov. 22, 1963.

The track is a hazy mood item in i m sorry the singer’s raspy to whisper is accompanied by piano, violin, and also barely-there drums. The takes that is sweet time as he puts forth an elegiac, apocalyptic vision. The lyrics recommendation people and events in pop society during the tumultuous years that adhered to Kennedy’s death.

He’s singing around then, yet could be singing about now. “What’s brand-new pussycat, what’d i say?” that asks, nodding to Tom Jones and also Ray Charles. “I stated the spirit of a nation been torn far / and that it’s beginning to get in slow decay / and also that that 36 hours past referee Day.”


“Murder most Foul” is not freshly written. In a keep in mind on his web site, 78-year-old Dylan thanked pan “for your support and loyalty throughout the years” and said “this is one unreleased tune we taped a while earlier that you might find interesting.”

When can “a when back” have been? It’s difficult to say. Six decades into his career, Dylan continues to be a an enig man.

It’s a good guess the it days from sessions because that 2012’s Tempest, Dylan’s last set of original songs. That album’s title song likewise referenced Shakespeare and also was likewise an extraordinarily long saga based upon a historical event — in the case, the sinking the the Titanic.

“Murder most Foul” is far superior. If Dylan walk wait this this long to let the song loose, it would be in maintaining with his periodically perverse decision making. The excellent “Blind Willie McTell” was left turn off 1983‘s Infidels, an additional example the withholding stellar material.

His fans can be thankful Dylan chose to placed out “Murder most Foul” now because it offers hibernating listener something come obsess end in the weeks come come.

The song is dark and foreboding, but additionally fun come puzzle v as the grows much more mystical and also allusive, rattling off rhymes invoking singers and performers dear to Dylan’s heart. Etta James, Charlie Parker, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Nat King Cole, and Wolfman Jack all acquire shout-outs.

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For Dylan nerds choose me, there are subtleties to suss out. “Play it because that Carl Wilson, too / spring far, much away down Gower Avenue,” is a nod to the late, great, Warren Zevon’s “Desperados Under The Eaves,” for which Beach boy Carl Wilson sang back-up vocals.

I patted myself ~ above the back for figuring the one out. You can not stump me, Bob!