Friday, November 20, 2009

Undergraduate Bobsick Blues

The concert sounds good, but I really wish people wouldn't write about Dylan this way:
It isn’t that Dylan has magical powers or that he is laying hands on paralyzed people and enabling them to walk again. It is that perhaps more than any other living performer, there are such mythic investments placed within Dylan, and amazingly he manages to live up to them. His stage is a rare setting where myth and reality seem to meet. They dance together to the tune of rusty blues guitar. The razorblade-throated singer tightens their entanglement by documenting outlaw population groups who are submerged from the greater polity, and respond with a spirituality that is stoked in the fires of hell and ready to burn the unrighteous.
That last sentence makes no literal sense. (And don't say, "Neither does Dylan, man...")

Speaking of Dylan, here is the latest in the grand tradition of "Songs that sort of rip off 'Subterranean Homesick Blues'":

I like the song a lot – it's kind of what I wish all those nü-ska bands from the 90's had been more about instead of jackboot-rhythmed, frat-friendly raids on old Madness and Specials albums. I'm still listening to VW's first, despite my initial suspicion that I'd get sick of it PDQ. And the kids still ask for it in the car. (As they do the new Dylan Xmas album, oddly enough.)

1 comment:

Alessandro Porco said...

Hey Nathan,

there is a great chapter on Dylan in a book called *The Story is True* by Bruce Jackson; the whole book is brilliant, but you'll find that chapter's writing on Dylan is refreshing -- gets away from the "mythic" stuff. (Completely unrelated, there's an amazing chapter on Stephen Spender and the Spanish Civil Wart that is one of the best things I've ever read).