Sometimes these posts just write themselves. As I was driving along an unknown back road with my Dylan collection to another album photo shoot, I came upon a lonely sign in the middle of a grassy field that simply read “SHRIMP”. Consider, first, what this landmark album was best known for. Dylan took blues-based music and combined it with his poetic writing style. It was a fresh and dynamic juxtaposition at the time, just as finding shrimp in the middle of southern Pennsylvania farmlands is a juxtaposition of two previously separate ideas. But it goes a step further, because as far as the eye could see, there was no shrimp. It was then I realized that this sign was a political commentary. The sign advertised shrimp, but there was no shrimp. This, of course, is a clear commentary on the American Dream. The country is advertised as a shining beacon of hope full of wealth and prosperity, but when many arrive, they find nothing but hardship and desolation. Their hope was nothing more than shrimp in a cornfield. This political commentary mirrors the lyrical content that sets up Highway 61 as the thread that runs through all human hardship from Abraham up through nuclear war. And so it is even more poetic that I happened upon this sign while on a road trip; driving along the thread of human conflict, I caught a glimpse of the contrast between the expectation and reality of hope in America. But the rabbit hole goes even further, because recall that music writer Michael Gray once said that this album truly marked the beginning of the 1960s. At the same time, the English glamour and fashion scene was gaining prominence across the world, and this movement of materialistic culture was spearheaded by one of the world’s first supermodels, none other than, yes, Jean Rosemary Shrimpton. As Dylan searched for philosophical answers in his music, much of the world turned their attention of the consumerist fantasies presented by Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. But eventually, after the conflict and madness found along Highway 61 has taken its toll and left mankind to waste, all Jean Shrimp’s values will be worth is a dirty old sign on the side of the road. Or something like that.