This album’s title is insipid but partly accurate. The record company apparently masterminded it.
Dylan loathed the name, but he couldn’t get it changed before its release in the late summer of 1964.
What inspired Columbia to choose this strange title for Dylan’s fourth album? What ˝new side˝ of his music did this album show?
A more fun side? A more serious side?
Dylan had already shown both of these previously. His fun side appeared on both his 1962 debut (˝Pretty Peggy-O˝, ˝Talkin’ New York˝) and on ˝The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan˝ in 1963 (˝I Shall Be Free˝, ˝Corrina, Corrina˝).
Likewise, he nakedly displayed his serious side on ˝Freewheelin’˝ (˝Blowin’ in the Wind˝, ˝Oxford Town˝, ˝A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall˝) and on the dark melancholy ˝The Times They Are A-Changin’˝ in early 1964.
So what does this album show?
Likely the record company didn’t know what to make of this enigmatic and moody collection of songs, so they pulled out a safe token album title (many recording artists had an ˝another side of...˝ album in the 1960s).
Now, with some forty years of perspective, we can safely say that it shows the ever consistently changing Dylan.
Yet this album really does show a new side of Dylan. No one probably knew how to describe it at the time.
Here his lyrics begin to take on a more abstract and poetic form from his previous albums.
They point directly forward to the lyrical approach of his subsequent 1960s albums.
In retrospect, the title probably could’ve been ˝Get Used To It: Here’s A Completely New Side Of Bob Dylan˝.