"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.

8 Comments:

Anonymous swimmerpoet said...

I sang "Like a Rolling Stone" at karaoke and, dang, you're right. I had to sing it a la Dylan in order to really give it what he meant it.

3:55 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

when the ship comes in?

2:51 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Blowing in the wind' should be added to the list.

2:00 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

your gonna make me lonesome when you go ??????????

12:55 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tonight i'll be staying here with you!!!

2:08 PM

 
Blogger H.N.Hernandez said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:50 PM

 
Blogger H.N.Hernandez said...

Right on! Especially with the spine-tingling moments and concerning his voice. He wrote for his voice, and it's one of the most emotionally versatile voices used in music. I too would add 'when the ship comes in'.

12:52 PM

 
Anonymous Kadaris said...

I guess you like Blonde on Blonde and Freewheelin'...both good, no arguments, but honestly the list seems limited by having 70% of it from 2 albums when the man has more than 30.

1:15 PM

 

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