Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dylan on a Sunday

Though I write here frequently about Bob Dylan, the truth is I listen to him much less than I listen to other artists. I don't have a Pandora station for Bob Dylan, (though I'm more likely to listen to the channels I've created where he is likely to pop up now and then). Dylan songs are sprinkled throughout my itunes playlists, but none of them appear in my top 25 played songs list. Don't get me wrong, there are times when I could spend the whole day listening to Dylan, especially his later stuff (I seldom listen to an entire album of his early songs), but these days come along only occasionally.

I'm not exactly sure what mood it is that makes Dylan the appropriate musical companion. I know there are musical moods for which Dylan is not particularly useful. Joy, for instance. If I want ridiculously happy music, better said, music that makes me ridiculously happy, Dylan's not the choice. If I need background music, something to stay comfortably in the background, Bob's not the guy. And, somewhat surprisingly, he wouldn't be a choice for a broken heart. I mean, Dylan sings about the gritty moments of life, and broken hearts are certainly on that side of life. Dylan's songs know about broken hearts, but not in an overly sentimental way. Everyone's heart gets broken. That's the deal. Move on. Dylan knows love, and he knows love disappointed, but he doesn't linger there.

The possible exception might be, Till I fell in Love With You.

Well my nerves are exploding and my body's tense
I feel like the whole world got me pinned up against the fence
I've been hit too hard; I've seen too much
Nothing can heal me now, but your touch
I don't know what I'm gonna do
I was all right 'til I fell in love with you

It's not so much that his heart has been broken, but life is hard enough without the burden of love, or worse the loss of love's safe harbor. It's the absence of love that makes the other stuff, the bad stuff, harder to bear.

Still, Dylan is no Sarah McLachlan, nursing love's pain for all its worth. Or Elvis Costello for that matter. They'll hand you the stinking kleenex. Dylan, not so much. And I like that about Dylan.

So, here's a few stabs at what kind of day would send me to Dylan. An ironic day. A thoughtful day, but in a whimsical kind of way. A look the world in the eye kind of day in order to wink. Or a day to remember things deeply. I hope I have one soon.

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