Bob Dylan's first new song in 8 years is ... a 17-minute ballad about JFK's assassination?

Well, this certainly wasn't on our 2020 bingo cards.

On Friday, Bob Dylan surprise-released his first original music since 2012's "Tempest": a rambling, 17-minute ballad titled "Murder Most Foul." The grim but soulful track painstakingly recounts the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, describing in detail Kennedy's presidential motorcade through Dallas when he was shot in the head and neck. 

"Riding in the backseat next to my wife
Heading straight on in to the afterlife
I'm leaning to the left; got my head in her lap
Hold on, I've been led into some kind of a trap." 

He then throws out dozens of references to pop culture and famous figures including Marilyn Monroe, Etta James, "A Nightmare on Elm Street," "Gone with the Wind" and the Beatles. ("Hush, little child. You'll understand. The Beatles are comin'; they're gonna hold your hand.")

Bob Dylan performing in France in 2012. The legendary singer/songwriter released his first new song in 8 years, "Murder Most Foul," on Friday.

Although it's unclear when the folk icon wrote and recorded the song, it references the end times and his dire prediction for the United States' future. 

"What's new, pussycat? What'd I say?
I said the soul of a nation been torn away.
And it's beginning to go into a slow decay
And that it's 36 hours past Judgment Day."

At 16 minutes and 56 seconds, "Murder Most Foul" narrowly surpasses "Highlands" as Dylan's longest song to date. ("Highlands," released in 1997, is 16 minutes and 31 seconds.) 

More:Bob Dylan's 'Never Ending Tour' plans 25 U.S. stops this summer

Dylan, 78, has had something of a resurgence in recent months. Before the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States, he announced a sprawling U.S. tour set to kick off June 4 in Bend, Oregon. (It is currently still on schedule, although he recently canceled 15 concerts in Japan next month due to the outbreak). 

The singer is also the subject of an upcoming biopic starring Timothee Chalamet, and his music is the basis of Broadway musical "The Girl from the North Country," which is temporarily shuttered due to coronavirus concerns.

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