Bob Dylan Talks Modern-Day Music, Fan of Eminem, Metallica, and Wu-Tang Clan

Bob Dylan’s unique perspective on the evolution of music is brought to the forefront in his new hardcover book, The Philosophy of Modern Song. The book, published in late 2022, explores tracks released in the 1950s with “postwar technology” to the modern day. Dylan told The Wall Street Journal that the ’50s was a pivotal point in music, leading to some of his favorite musicians today. 

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“The book does cover a lot of ground, and the ’50s was a significant time in music history,” said Dylan. “Without postwar technology, these songs may have dissipated and been overlooked. The recording process brought the right people to the top, the most innovative, the ones with the greatest talent.” 

While he initially listened to music on the radio, portable record players, and jukeboxes, he says how he consumes music today looks quite different. Dylan turns to streaming platforms and satellite radio to discover new music and talent.  

The legend revealed that Eminem, Metallica, Wu-Tang Clan, The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys, and more are on his daily rotation. 

“I’ve seen Metallica twice. I’ve made special efforts to see Jack White and Alex Turner. Zac Deputy, I’ve discovered him lately,” he shared with the outlet. “He’s a one-man show like Ed Sheeran, but he sits down when he plays. I’m a fan of Royal Blood, Celeste, Rag and Bone Man, Wu-Tang, Eminem, Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, anybody with a feeling for words and language, anybody whose vision parallels mine.” 

Although he has a long-running list of go-to musicians, he said that his favorite songs frequently change. He explained that it’s natural for listeners to have “relationships” with specific tracks. 

“The relationship you have to a song can change over time. You can outgrow it, or it could come back to haunt you, come back stronger in a different way,” he said. “A song could be like a nephew or a sister, or a mother-in-law. When you first hear a song, it might be related to what time of day you hear it. Maybe at daybreak—at dawn with the sun in your face—it would probably stay with you longer than if you heard it at dusk. Or maybe, if you first hear it at sunset, it would probably mean something different, than if you heard it first at 2 in the afternoon. Or maybe you hear something in the dead of night, in the darkness, with night eyes,” he added. 

With music now available at fans’ fingertips via streaming platforms, he believes “young creatives” need to educate themselves on a wide variety to develop their musical palette. 

“You’d just have to cruise through it the best you can, try to unravel it, feel your way in until you get somewhere. There’s a lot of outstanding music in the past,” shared Dylan. “Works of genius, and much, if not all of it, has been documented. It would take more than a few lifetimes to hear it all. Musically, it would be too much to comprehend. You’d have to limit yourself and create a framework.”

As Dylan immerses himself in contemporary music, his timeless sound remains at the center of his core. His recognizable and award-winning sound shines through on his recently released record, Shadow Kingdom.

Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for VH1

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