Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan

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Box of Vision

Have you ever had something (a CD, a new toy, sports car, etc.) that you wanted so badly you could feel it? You dreamt about it, saved up your money for it, and built it up to be the closest thing to God, but once you got it, you felt hollow inside because it was not as you had built it up to be. That is exactly how the Bob Dylan Archive from Box of Vision is. It is just like a hollow chocolate bunny — looks great on the outside, but there is nothing on the inside.

You start out with a large cloth-covered box with a photo glued to the top of the box of a young and pensive Dylan plucking a bass with a harmonica around his neck. “Bob Dylan” is in black and all caps on the ends and a silhouetted Dylan is emblazoned on the back. Pretty cool… so far.

Open up the side flap and it looks like a record storage box with what looks like old Dylan records stuffed in the box. Even cooler… until you reach Disappointment #1: These are not actual records. They are two books (one softback and one hardback) and a three-ring binder.

Disappointment #2: Not only are there no records, there is no music at all here. The three-ring binder (although it has a killer black-on-black version of the photo on the soft cover book) is nothing more than a CD holder for all of Dylan’s albums. Granted, the slots are labeled in chronological order and it comes with little sticky dots to hold the album covers with the CDs (and extra room for the other albums that he possibly could release), but in the end, this is just a glorified CD holder.

Disappointment #3: The soft cover book. This “catalography” (which spell-check says is not a word) is nothing more than a Bob Dylan promotional orgy. There is literally nothing more than advertisements for Dylan’s albums that ran in various publications at the time of release and the same list of released albums (in chronological order of course!) But wait, there is also a track listing of each album AND two or three critic reviews of each album underneath the track listing. The worst part, Box of Vision seems to like the same critics that have man-crushes on Mr. Dylan. Jon Pareles from the New York Times (quoted five times and twice on Time Out of Mind alone!), Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune (quoted four times) and Robert Hilburn (quoted a whopping eight times!) are the main culprits creaming themselves over how Dylan’s -insert album name- is his best since -insert older album name-.

Disappointment #4: The hard cover book. All this is, is a bound copy of every LP photo from every Dylan album (both inside and outside covers of course). That’s it. No descriptions, no reasoning behind using one photo over another or putting the lyrics on one sleeve and not another. Nope, just copies of the LP covers.

That is the encompassing reason why this release from Box of Vision is so deflating. There is absolutely nothing new. Hell, there isn’t even a rehashing of Dylan info anywhere to be found. This is essentially a bloated way to store your Dylan albums and is only for extreme completists. You’d have to be really obsessed with Bob Dylan to buy this box for $130 (Suggested Retail Price). There’s nothing new, it’s just put together to make it look really cool, which it does, but it is not $130 cool. Unless you are a hardcore Dylan fan looking for an awesome way to store your albums, the best thing you could do is take that $130 and wait for his next album and grab the real LP.

Box of Vision: www.boxofvision.com

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