"I've escaped it, a life wasted/And I'm never going back again." - Pearl Jam, "Life Wasted"

Friday, May 12, 2006

Top 10 Bob Dylan Songs

Just listened to an hour of him, got inspired, so here's the long-awaited list....

Many say: "Great lyrics, pity about that voice."

I would say: "Try singing the songs. There's no other way to sing it than like he does."

Why not just say: "He's bloody awesome. Period."

1o Absolutely Sweet Marie (Blonde On Blonde)
Bob at his lightest. A love-hate relationship with sweet Marie, delivered resignedly amid some joyous organ music. Where are you tonight, sweet Marie? Spine-tingling moment: The sly chorus: "Well anybody can be just like me obviously, but then not too many can be like you, fortunately."

9 I Want You (Blonde On Blonde)
This time, the affection is real. Bob sings about the imaginary obstacles to his love, and that his desire is unchanged. Once, his backing band is top notch, serving up a rare melodic treat. Spine-tingling moment: When his harmonica introduces the song, and Mike Bloomfield complements with a great guitar line.

8 Masters Of War (The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan)
Harrowing anti-war protest. While other may paint pictures of suffering, Bob is articulate enough to scream out his spite at the protagonists. Eight angry verses, each condemning the warmongers to their graves. Hell yeah. Spine-tingling moment: The final verse: "And I hope that you die, and your death'll come soon/I will follow your casket in the pale afternoon/And I'll watch while you're lowered down to your deathbed/And I'll stand o'er your grave till I'm sure that you're dead."

7 Sad-Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands (Blonde On Blonde)
Being the gifted lyricist, Dylan wrote long poems to the cadence of music. The results are hypnotic. This 11-minute ballad to his then-wife, Sara Lowndes, is languid, almost hallucinatory. Extraordinary imagery, tremendously moving. Spine-tingling moment: "My warehouse eyes, my arabian drums/Should I leave them by the gate?/Or, sad-eyed lady, should I wait?" Inscrutable, yet utterly romantic.

6 A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall (The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan)
In under seven minutes, Dylan encapsulated the bleak world we live in. An unforgettable chorus makes this an unforgettable masterpiece. Spine-tingling moment: "It's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall." You gotta hear it, after all the imagery, to get the chills.

5 Just Like A Woman (Blonde On Blonde)
No other lyricst has the balls to put down a woman like Dylan. This is him at his most unkind, but I know a woman who calls this her favourite Dylan song. The trick is that guy isn't enjoying this put-down. Superb melody though. Spine-tingling moment: "You fake just like a woman, you make love just like a woman, you ache just like a woman, but you break just like a little girl." I'll bet no one, especially in this politically-correct age, dares to write similar lyrics anymore.

4 The Times They Are A-Changin' (The Times They Are A-Changin')
Shut up and change. Dylan's inspirational protest anthem still rings out like a clarion call to arms. Writers, critics, senators, congressmen, mothers, fathers - better listen up. Spine-tingling moment: "The line it is drawn, the curse it is cast/The slow one now will later be fast/As the present now will later be past/The order is rapidly fading/And the first one now will later be last/For the times they are a-changin' "

3 Don't Think Twice, It's All Right (The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan)
I've always liked this song, but I don't really know why. Maybe it's Dylan's tone, his "shrug and move on" attitude. Maybe this song, unlike many of his others, is easy to comprehend. Whatever, don't think twice... Spine-tingling moment: "I ain't saying you treated me unkind/You could have done better but I don't mind/You just kinda wasted my precious time/But don't think twice, it's all right." Also, check out Eric Clapton's blistering version at the Dylan's 30th anniversary concery.

2 Not Dark Yet (Time Out Of Mind)
Haunting and heartbreaking. Dylan ponders mortality, and if anything is still worth living for here. So it's chilling to hear him croak in his tortured voice: "I just don't see why I should even care/It's not dark yet, but it's getting there." Spine-tingling moment: Possibly the most beautiful music that accompanies Dylan's lyrics.

1 Like A Rolling Stone (Highway 61 Revisited)
From the first drum crack, this song enthralls. Indignance at the world fuels Dylan, and no better than this sneering anthem. Hearing him whine at every unfairness, every injustice, it just riles you up to take a pen or guitar and just pour out. Inspiring stuff that cannot be duplicated. Spine-tingling moment: "How does it feel? How does it feel? To be on your own, with no direction home, like a complete unknown, like a rolling stone." No other lyric sounds so angry, so sad, so bleak, so uplifting, so gut-wrenching.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Give It Away

Saw this by Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea. Makes me glad to have made the decision not to download the latest albums from Pearl Jam, RHCP, Tool, Jewel. These are albums I will fork out money and buy.

when i woke up this morning -- i was was confronted with the news that our record has been leaked to -- the internet -- it does not come out til may 9 but now it has leaked -- and not that i know alot about this kind of thing -- but i guess now it is possible to down load it for free if you want -- well -- that's not very nice -- if you down load it now off one of these file sharing sites -- you will be getting a pale imitation of the record -- it will be of the poor sound quality of the technique they used to -- get it on there -- and that will break my heart -- it will break john frusciante's heart -- it will break anthony kiedis's heart -- and it will break the heart of chad smith -- yes, we worked for a year and a half to make the epic record of our -- lives -- and it is sad to me for the business reasons of course -- i think we are selling something really cool and we put all we had -- into it, 28 songs, 2 hours of the best that we can offer -- and i think it is a fair deal for everyone -- and for people to just steal a poor sound quality version of it for free -- because some asshole stole it and put it on the internet -- is sad to me -- but, equitable business reasons aside -- the thing that really bums me out is -- we worked so hard, and so thoughtfully, all of us, for so long -- to make this record sound as warm and full from top to bottom -- as was possible -- we spent day and night for a year making sure every little sound was -- just right -- that they were all put together in the most beautiful way we could -- we did not leave a stone unturned in doing that work -- i can not put in words how much this record, stadium arcadium, means -- to us -- how sacred the sound of it is to us -- and how many sleepless nights and hardworking days we all had -- thinking about how to make it be the best sounding thing we could and now, for someone to take it and put it out there with this poor -- sound quality -- it is a painful pill for us to swallow -- let me tell you -- this bums all of us out -- and i know that, as sensitive as john frusciante is about sound -- the idea of anyone getting and hearing this thing that way -- will devastate him -- for people to not hear the work the way we meant it to be -- will really hurt him deep inside -- and all of us will hurt -- yes, it is stealing from us, and that is lame -- everyone has to live with their own conscience on that one -- let it be your guide -- but to take a version that has been defiled sound wise -- a version in which some idiot has taken our year and a half of soul-baring work and pissed all over it -- that will break our hearts -- sincerely, flea


- Nothing gets me worked up like politics.

- Yet, the election fever has left me, at best, bemused. Everyone has shot themselves in the feet.

PAP: When will it take our dear ruling party to realise that running down an opposition candidate DOES NOT WORK ANYMORE?? It's great to hear our Prime Minister suddenly changing tack 2 days before the polling day, after about a week of bombardment on a harmless James Gomez. Oops, we kinda forgotten about our plans for you common people. One shot in the foot. One more shot for that faux pas...."fix the opposition, buy back the voters"......well said, PM......hmmmmmmmmmmmm

WP: For the common people. Well said. And top marks for not falling for PAP's bait in the James Gomez hoo-ha. Except Gomez really shouldn't have made such a fuss. One shot in the foot, even before they hit the ground running. But really, their so-called solutions are flimsy at best. But they've played the emotional button pretty well.

SDP: Many shots in both feets. They should call for amputation, or a lobotomy.

SDA: Yawn.

My guess is the PAP will be driven really close by WP in the polls. A surprise may be coming.

- It's easy to lambast the media on the various blogs and websites for these elections, under the guise of anonymity. Is it really criminal for our national papers to be pro-ruling party? Is it really necessary for them to be neutral? For what? So that opposition can dominate headlines with their raucuous but ultimately airy statements? I think the opposition would rather like to keep it by the word of mouth -- the mystery is there. If everything's on paper, they would surely look under-strength. Besides, what is reported about PAP is nothing like we've never known. One read at the headlines, and I yawn.

Besides, the excessive reporting on the James Gomez saga, I think, has already a negative effect on the PAP. Never underestimate the media's ability to overplay.

Like Fox Mulder once said: "The truth is out there." Go to the rallies, make your own choice, lazy bastards. Why bother about the media, when you can see first-hand?