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View Diary: It's Gotta Good Beat and You Can Weep to It (33 comments)

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  •  'Born in the USA' is generally misunderstood, and (6+ / 0-)

    has been used as an anthem by politicians eager to get elected. Again, you have to figure out the lyrics to get the full message - until you do that, you're likely to get swept up in the triumphal swell of the music.

    Dylan is the most complicated figure in Rock, and certainly in his lyrics. Also, I'd say, the most influential. I'm addicted, and especially to the beauty and emotional richness of his songs. Like Shakespeare, he maps out every nook and cranny of the human condition.

    Great dark sense of humor:

    They say I shot a man named Gray and took his wife to Italy
    She inherited a million bucks and when she died it came to me
    I can't help it if I'm lucky.
    He's a far better singer than most realize: he's just interested in very different qualities of voice than Mariah Carey is. He's been called the great white Jewish soul-singer. His phrasing, timing, the amount of feeling and subtlety he finds in his poetry, are extraordinary. He could sing far poppier if it mattered to him. Check out Lay Lady Lay and the rest of Nashville Skyline, after he'd quit smoking for six months. Then of Self-Portrait he's exploring crooning.

    Thanks for a very interesting diary, and a closer look at a song of breath-taking beauty, Capriccio.

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 02:20:50 PM PDT

    •  Yes that is rich in buttery irony with reference (2+ / 0-)
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      Brecht, NearlyNormal

      to Born in the USA. But then listen to American Woman, or Fortunate Son--good stuff. Compare and Contrast to some of the lyrics of Rage Against the Machine.

      •  Those are all smart lyrics, and good songs (0+ / 0-)

        But they're more obvious - certainly Fortunate Son and Rage Against the Machine don't hide their venom.

        Dylan's a master of lyrics that are both allusive and elusive, and American Woman comes closer to that. As one of the co-writers explained:

        The popular misconception was that it was a chauvinistic tune, which was anything but the case. The fact was, we came from a very strait-laced, conservative, laid-back country, and all of a sudden, there we were in Chicago, Detroit, New York – all these horrendously large places with their big city problems. After that one particularly grinding tour, it was just a real treat to go home and see the girls we had grown up with. Also, the war was going on, and that was terribly unpopular. We didn't have a draft system in Canada, and we were grateful for that. A lot of people called it anti-American, but it wasn't really. We weren't anti-anything. John Lennon once said that the meanings of all songs come after they are recorded. Someone else has to interpret them.

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 07:27:15 PM PDT

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        •  I didn't feel that Fortunate son or Rage were (0+ / 0-)


          Fortunate Son is about class inequities. Sort of like Mungo Jerry's Summertime.

          If you are wealthy, then there is a certain deference paid to you and your kin. If you are poor--you are expendable, usable, maybe even likeable, but not necessarily lucky.

          I don't hear venom in telling the truth. Although I can see where others might.

          I didn't hear American Woman as wholly anti-American, so much as it was a piece against conspicuous consumption and the hubris of certain political aspirations hiding behind the thin veil of patriotism. I find it difficult to believe that there was no intention at all, in that direction, in those lyrics.

          Rage against the machine--now there are some deep lyrics. They rage against the dumbing down of a populace.

          For instance, they were rapping about stuff, in 98, that wouldn't become cinema until just a couple of years ago. No Shelter Here. Thinking of the movie Sicko for starters...

          A thin line between entertainment and war.

          An allusion to bread and circuses, to our trainwreck mentality with regards to news and movies, but also our culture as a casualty.  Their wikipedia page contains many interesting references. They make a great counterpoint to McClean's American Pie, which is a fantastic timeline starting at the 50s, to the late 60s. While not a protest song, it had some great references to social phenomena of political importance.

          I wondered why I never heard their [RATM] stuff on the radio---According to their Wikipedia Page:

          In the wake of 9/11, the controversial 2001 Clear Channel memorandum contained a long list of what the memo termed "lyrically questionable" songs for the radio, uniquely listed all of Rage Against the Machine's songs.
          But the will keep Flush on air. Oh the irony!

          I also find that ironic since my introduction to this band was through other military members. They were popular with military people.

          Consider also the Mashup of Queen's I want it all/We will rock you by Armageddon on the soundtrack of Suckerpunch. A fitting theme song for continuous sin of big banks and our gambling house financial sector, if ever there was one.  Though it wasn't written for that reference. I am sort of surprised no one did any videos for youtube featuring that as the music for the OWs movement.  It is a fantastic piece for studying the concept of corruption.

          •  I should have said bitterness, or anger. (1+ / 0-)
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            "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

            by Brecht on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 08:25:47 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It's all good. I like the story telling, so that (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              is what I am listening too, and I enjoy matching that up to the times and seeing what context might arise. Just because I got something different out of it, doesn't make you wrong or inaccurate.

              It just means we are hearing different things.

              I hear mostly Frustration from RATM.

              •  We're not hearing differently - I just expressed (1+ / 0-)
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                myself thoughtlessly, in a hurry. Though there is such white-hot anger and power in RATM's music, such an outpouring of every flavor of hurt, that I'd include venom in all the qualities they express. A punk spirit, and then some.

                "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

                by Brecht on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 09:59:08 AM PDT

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    •  Blood on the Tracks (1+ / 0-)
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      You got me with that opener from Idiot Wind, Brecht. That and getting lost in Juarez and negativity not pulling you through are my two go-to Dylan lines when I'm trying to encapsulate my life or my situation. And speaking of the Master's voice, I don't think he's ever been better than he is on Blood on the Tracks...actually I don't think anybody has ever sung better than he sings on that album.

      Thanks to everyone else for the great commentary...much appreciated.

      "Have you seen dignity?"

      by Capriccio on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 05:29:28 PM PDT

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      •  'Blood on the Tracks' is the soft way into Dylan (0+ / 0-)

        He has a lot of relatively poppy albums - e.g. Freewheelin', Blonde on Blonde, John Wesley Harding, New Morning, Desire, Infidels & Oh Mercy - but the combination of incredible songs, rich with hooks, and the gentleness of the opening (and half the remaining) tracks, make Blood on the Tracks the best Dylan album to play for someone who you're not sure will get Dylan.

        He'd been somewhat lost ever since his motorcycle crash, but he'd been learning to paint, and discovering more artistic resources within, just before making it. He has a tendency to toss off albums (Street Legal is a great album, blighted by being finished in less than a fortnight). He spent months on Blood on the Tracks and, following on from his painting, was doing things with lyrics and storytelling he'd never attempted before. It's possibly the most focussed album he ever made.

        Well, we could talk Dylan for hours. Hallelujah was a song well worth looking at: Cohen, Simon, Townshend and Reed are among the few writers who, on a good day, can hold a candle to Dylan.

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Mon Apr 29, 2013 at 09:41:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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