This is the most engaging song by Bob Dylan I've heard in decades. As someone who grew up in the era of President Kennedy's assassination, the portrait Dylan paints in "Murder Most Foul" is extraordinary, and takes me back to those days, to my memories of a nation overwhelmed by grief. There's something eerie about this song coming out at this precise moment. I imagine that decades from now, the children of today will have memories of these "quarentimes," as I call them, sparked by songs, film and literature of our era.
The picture Dylan paints of the 1960s in "Murder Most Foul" is sprawling, especially in the musical references he makes across the 17-minute-long song. When I first listened to it, I caught references to dozens of songs, so NPR Music critic Ann Powers and I started combing through the song and making a playlist that roughly follows this lesson in music history as he unspools it. We'll keep looking, and you should too – if you find a song we missed, let us know by posting with the hashtag #mostfoulplaylist at the @allsongs Twitter account and we'll add them.
You won’t find a paywall here. Come as often as you like — we’re not counting. You’ve found a like-minded tribe that cherishes what a free press stands for. If you can spend another couple of minutes making a pledge of as little as $5, you’ll feel like a superhero defending democracy for less than the cost of a month of Netflix.