Almanac Music: The Philosophy Of Modern Song – Bob Dylan




Like many Bob fans I eagerly await the release of his first book in eighteen years. And it’s not too far away!


Here is a media release from publishers Simon and Schuster to whet your appetite.


The Philosophy of Modern Song is Bob Dylan’s first book of new writing since 2004’s Chronicles: Volume One—and since winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016. 

Dylan, who began working on the book in 2010, offers his extraordinary insight into the nature of popular music. He writes over sixty essays focusing on songs by other artists, spanning from Stephen Foster to Elvis Costello, and in between ranging from Hank Williams to Nina Simone. He analyzes what he calls the trap of easy rhymes, breaks down how the addition of a single syllable can diminish a song, and even explains how bluegrass relates to heavy metal. These essays are written in Dylan’s unique prose. They are mysterious and mercurial, poignant and profound, and often laugh-out-loud funny. And while they are ostensibly about music, they are really meditations and reflections on the human condition. Running throughout the book are nearly 150 carefully curated photos as well as a series of dream-like riffs that, taken together, resemble an epic poem and add to the work’s transcendence.

In 2020, with the release of his outstanding album Rough and Rowdy Ways, Dylan became the first artist to have an album hit the Billboard Top 40 in each decade since the 1960s. The Philosophy of Modern Song contains much of what he has learned about his craft in all those years, and like everything that Dylan does, it is a momentous artistic achievement.


Below is the Table of Contents  listing the 66 songs Bob discusses and analyses.



The songs Bob discusses in the book can be listened to on the following playlist.




The book will be released 3 November 2022




More from Col Ritchie can be read Here


Read more stories from Almanac Music  HERE


If you would like to receive the Almanac Music and Poetry newsletter we will add you to the list. Please email us: [email protected]


To return to the  home page click HERE


Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


Do you enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.


Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE




About Colin Ritchie

Retired teacher who enjoys following the Bombers, listening to music especially Bob Dylan, reading, and swimming.


  1. Wow! Didn’t have a clue it was coming. Col, you’ve made me day. Interesting set of songs, can’t wait to get the tablet from the mountain and read the shit out of it! Cheers

  2. Les Everett says

    Thanks Col

    Big drive coming up. Nice play list.

  3. DBalassone says

    Can’t wait for this. There’s aleady some spotify playlists doing the rounds to get you in the mood – great to see Warren Zevon and Jackson Browne there, amongst many others.

    But I can’t help wondering, where the heck is Chronicles Volume 2? I’ve been religiously waiting for this for a very long time. Where art thou Chronicles? Or maybe, just maybe, Chronicles 2 is hidden in Chronicles Volume 1.

Leave a Comment