Monday, March 23, 2009

2009 Is Going to Be a Great Year (Part Three)

Thomas Pynchon and Bob Dylan seem to be working in concert lately, and picking up speed, as they continue their creative careers. I couldn't help thinking that it seems like just yesterday that Pynchon's Against the Day and Dylan's "Modern Times" were released, and now here we are (or at least here I am) anxiously awaiting their new creations.

But their parallel paths go back much further than 2006, or even 1997. In every year that Thomas Pynchon published a novel, Bob Dylan has given us a new studio album!

2009 -- TP's Inherent Vice // BD's "Together Through Life"
2006 -- TP's Against the Day // BD's "Modern Times"
1997 -- TP's Mason & Dixon // BD's "Time Out of Mind"
1990 -- TP's Vineland // BD's "Under the Red Sky"
1973 -- TP's Gravity's Rainbow // BD's "Dylan" and "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid"
1966 -- TP's The Crying of Lot 49 // BD's "Blonde on Blonde"
1963 -- TP's V. // BD's "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan"

The only year that seems a little off is 1973, where even two Dylan albums weren't enough to balance the scales. The cover versions on "Dylan" and the extended single of "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" that is "P.G. & B.t.K." are no match for the weight of Gravity's Rainbow (GR would have been balanced by "Blood on the Tracks" in a more perfect world), but all the other years seem to reach a sort of equilibrium. I'm surprised that I never noticed this coincidence between two of my favorite artists before, but I'm sure that someone else has.

(I had hoped that these magical creative years might give us some financial guidance as well in these turbulent economic times, but there's no such luck: 1963, 1997, and 2006 were up years for the Dow, but 1966, 1973, and 1990 saw declines.)

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