Three weeks after the release of Bob Dylan’s new single “Murder Most Foul,” the folk legend chose to share a second surprise song titled “I Contain Multitudes.” The name a reference to Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself,” the track contains multiple allusions to the American Romantics (“Got a tell-tale heart like Mr. Poe”) and various other historical and literary references, from William Blake to Indiana Jones.
In contrast to the sweeping 17-minute epic that is “Murder Most Foul,” “I Contain Multitudes” is an easy ballad that showcases Dylan’s sly humor. There’s a shocking element to it, such as comparing himself to Anne Frank or saying he paints both landscapes and nudes, that feels quintessentially Dylan.
“Murder Most Foul” was Dylan’s first original music release in eight years. Given its close proximity to “I Contain Multitudes,” we have to wonder if an album is in the works. If his newfound Billboard success is any indication, the world is ready for new work from Dylan.
You can check out the song below and revisit Dylan’s 1999 performance from the iconic Tramps nightclub in NYC via the Paste vault further down.