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PostPosted: Sun June 24th, 2012, 18:10 GMT 
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Trev wrote:
In fact, when Dylan was using the movie dialogue he created seamless songs out of his borrowings, they just weren't major songs.


Who's to judge? I don't think they're necessarily bad just because they suffered from poor production. I think you've got to regard his work as a whole, not divide it by popularity.


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PostPosted: Sun June 24th, 2012, 18:17 GMT 
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Johanna Parker wrote:
Trev wrote:
In fact, when Dylan was using the movie dialogue he created seamless songs out of his borrowings, they just weren't major songs.


Who's to judge? I don't think they're necessarily bad just because they suffered from poor production. I think you've got to regard his work as a whole, not divide it by popularity.


I'm to judge, natch! But I wasn't talking about popularity. And they're good enough songs - they just don't do as much or do it as well as Brownsville Girl, say, a major song (in my judgement) from that period.


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PostPosted: Sun June 24th, 2012, 18:55 GMT 
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With all due respect to all above posters I think this all a waste of time. But hey, it's your time to waste. I read as much of this thread as I could stay awake for and it has it's somewhat interesting bits but after awhile I said to myself who cares about all this. I'm going to enjoy Dylan's art, in whatever form, for what it is, art and entertainment. I just feel personally that over-analyzing means squeezing the life and light out of what's suppose to be entertainment.
I've always thought it must be on the one hand interesting, from Dylan's point of view, and maddening, to hear all these theories over the years and compare them to his REAL intentions with a given song, line, book whatever. Only he REALLY knows.


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PostPosted: Sun June 24th, 2012, 20:03 GMT 
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jimb727 wrote:
With all due respect to all above posters I think this all a waste of time. But hey, it's your time to waste. I read as much of this thread as I could stay awake for and it has it's somewhat interesting bits but after awhile I said to myself who cares about all this. I'm going to enjoy Dylan's art, in whatever form, for what it is, art and entertainment. I just feel personally that over-analyzing means squeezing the life and light out of what's suppose to be entertainment.
I've always thought it must be on the one hand interesting, from Dylan's point of view, and maddening, to hear all these theories over the years and compare them to his REAL intentions with a given song, line, book whatever. Only he REALLY knows.


I'd have to agree with you.


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PostPosted: Sun June 24th, 2012, 20:10 GMT 
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ifitwastruetennessee wrote:
thanks for your comment mmd and all. has a musician ever been accepted into the academy- how does all of that work. is it more just like, papers on various things about dylan will be accepted in various journals and stuff, and people writing them won't be thought of as silly by a lot of other professors, and it won't be a big career risk for them to admit they think dylan is a great artist. do you think that would make a difference to dylan. is it a correct assumption to think he is doing this latest writing as a way to be taken seriously by people that might have been to afraid to stick their necks out and recognize his work in the first place. i mean how long has this guy been at it. he has written how many amazing songs, done films, paintings, composed a book... and still he is just a rock and roll guy in their eyes-whatever that means. that might be ok with him.

i think that by pointing to the things he likes with his radio show, he is doing his own curating, saying this is his canon for music . it's interesting in his radio show though, and even in his latest book, he doesn't say here is what this is all about and this is why you should like it. i really like hearing peoples interpretations of songs, it is usually pretty interesting to me, but i don't think it would be proper to call any of them definitive "answers" as far as meaning. is that what the professors sometimes try to do, and is that a problem for an artist. or is it just the critics that are a pain. maybe i shouldn't write about this stuff- sounds like it's boring the pants off some. :)


Ifitwastrue,
I think that there remains -- though it has been heavily attacked, and for all practical purposes broken down now thanks to post-modernity which is another subject -- a strong line between high and low culture. There is a famous, famous thinker named Adorno who wrote beautifully and powerfully on music and aesthetics in the first part of the 20th century. His defense of "true art" in the form of what we call "classical music" against the filthy, popular forms like jazz was the last real theoretical defense of this distinction, I think. Even so, the feeling of there being a real distinction between high and low culture remains. And it really just takes the form of authorization just as you describe it, people being willing to treat it seriously in the most "official" fora.

That said, my so very long post on literary criticism (which was a vast crazy oversimplification) I tried to explain that even if our culture has (as posters in this thread repeatedly demonstrate) given up on the idea of THE Truth and THE Beautiful, and THE Good, there still remains an expectation of a facility, familiarity, even mastery over the best, most perfected elements of our cultural heritage. If Dylan demonstrates that -- or rather if enough people with enough clout, demonstrate that Dylan has done that -- it will indeed change how he is discussed.

Still, as the spate of books on Dylan from major publishers and major scholarly authors shows (think Ricks, Wilentz and hopefully Brinkley, as revelator pointed out), and also the major galleries showing his works (even if it's just for crass commercial reasons). Dylan is already moving into "high culture" -- or perhaps the idea that "low culture" can be treated with seriousness, that it too has something important to say about the eternal things.

Finally, I am in 100% agreement about his radio show. It's as though he is lending his authority (in the way that the Gagosian lends its authority to Dylan, though that is not really how it works, is it?) to these songs and these artists, drawing them into the discussion of what our best cultural heritage really is. I just love that show.


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PostPosted: Sun June 24th, 2012, 20:16 GMT 
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SirDogg wrote:
jimb727 wrote:
With all due respect to all above posters I think this all a waste of time. But hey, it's your time to waste. I read as much of this thread as I could stay awake for and it has it's somewhat interesting bits but after awhile I said to myself who cares about all this. I'm going to enjoy Dylan's art, in whatever form, for what it is, art and entertainment. I just feel personally that over-analyzing means squeezing the life and light out of what's suppose to be entertainment.
I've always thought it must be on the one hand interesting, from Dylan's point of view, and maddening, to hear all these theories over the years and compare them to his REAL intentions with a given song, line, book whatever. Only he REALLY knows.


I'd have to agree with you.


That's fine. And of course you are more than welcome, you are entitled to you opinion. But that is no different than saying that discussing the writing of any other artist is a "waste of time". Either you are saying that any interpretation of any artists' work is a waste of time (Shakespeare, Picasso, Beethoven, Plato), or you are saying Dylan in particular isn't worthy of that kind of engagement and interpretation --that Dylan is too not good enough to warrant that kind of effort.

I disagree with both positions.


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PostPosted: Sun June 24th, 2012, 20:18 GMT 
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MMD, is Adorno the critic who wrote that there cannot be poetry after Auschwitz or am I confusing him with someone else?


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PostPosted: Sun June 24th, 2012, 20:23 GMT 
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oldmanemu wrote:
I will say it now . I have come to the conclusion there is no code !


OK. Yes. I would only go so far as to say,
1) That what Warmuth was calling "codes' -- like puzzles with real, specific solutions that you come to via a formula -- haven't been shown to exist by Warmuth; and
2) that I see no evidence of those kind of formula, solution codes (as pussycat says: crosswords).

But you just can't rule things like that out once and for all. Even if none are ever found.

The reason I wanted to work through Warmuth's claims was to be able to either take him seriously, or move on to literary, cultural criticism.

That kind of exploration of Dylan's literary meaning creation is what I am interested in working through -- not mathematical cryptography.

Andrea75 did some more sociological work and I hope that shows up in this thread in a slightly fuller form. Or, of course, we can all go read it for ourselves when the book is out!


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PostPosted: Sun June 24th, 2012, 20:24 GMT 
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MMD wrote:
jimb727 wrote:
With all due respect to all above posters I think this all a waste of time. But hey, it's your time to waste. I read as much of this thread as I could stay awake for and it has it's somewhat interesting bits but after awhile I said to myself who cares about all this. I'm going to enjoy Dylan's art, in whatever form, for what it is, art and entertainment. I just feel personally that over-analyzing means squeezing the life and light out of what's suppose to be entertainment.
I've always thought it must be on the one hand interesting, from Dylan's point of view, and maddening, to hear all these theories over the years and compare them to his REAL intentions with a given song, line, book whatever. Only he REALLY knows.




That's fine. And of course you are more than welcome, you are entitled to you opinion. But that is no different than saying that discussing the writing of any other artist is a "waste of time". Either you are saying that any interpretation of any artists' work is a waste of time (Shakespeare, Picasso, Beethoven, Plato), or you are saying Dylan in particular isn't worthy of that kind of engagement and interpretation --that Dylan is too not good enough to warrant that kind of effort.

I disagree with both positions.


Don't put words in my mouth.

I would just rather enjoy the music. Lyric writing is an entirely different thing to Shakespeare or Plato and to my knowledge Picasso was not a writer. As I said if you find this kind of thing satisfying knock yourself out.


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PostPosted: Sun June 24th, 2012, 20:26 GMT 
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Giada wrote:
MMD, is Adorno the critic who wrote that there cannot be poetry after Auschwitz or am I confusing him with someone else?


Right person, his point was slightly more complex (as everything is). I haven't gone too much into it, but I had someone hand me my butt, insisting that what Adorno said was that poetry is barbaric after Auschwitz. There are (or were) Adorno students around here. Maybe they'll let me know what all that meant. But, yes, that's the guy.


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PostPosted: Sun June 24th, 2012, 21:49 GMT 
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MMD wrote:
jimb727 wrote:
With all due respect to all above posters I think this all a waste of time. But hey, it's your time to waste. I read as much of this thread as I could stay awake for and it has it's somewhat interesting bits but after awhile I said to myself who cares about all this. I'm going to enjoy Dylan's art, in whatever form, for what it is, art and entertainment. I just feel personally that over-analyzing means squeezing the life and light out of what's suppose to be entertainment.
I've always thought it must be on the one hand interesting, from Dylan's point of view, and maddening, to hear all these theories over the years and compare them to his REAL intentions with a given song, line, book whatever. Only he REALLY knows.




That's fine. And of course you are more than welcome, you are entitled to you opinion. But that is no different than saying that discussing the writing of any other artist is a "waste of time". Either you are saying that any interpretation of any artists' work is a waste of time (Shakespeare, Picasso, Beethoven, Plato), or you are saying Dylan in particular isn't worthy of that kind of engagement and interpretation --that Dylan is too not good enough to warrant that kind of effort.

I disagree with both positions.



Thanks for this thread, MMD. I set no great store by warmuth's project but I enjoyed your analysis of it.

The analysis and interpretation of art is a staple of civilization (see Aristotle). Perhaps examining warmuth's project did not lead folks to a greater understanding or appreciation of Dylan but there was nothing objectionable in the attempt to examine his project more closely, particularly once other members here (including warmuth himself) made his project a major focus in the book thread. Examining a project will not necessarily lead one to praise or endorse it, as we have seen with MMD's conclusions here. To those who find analysis or interpretation of art boring or in some way inherently wrong - art exists on it's own terms, separate from any analysis, and you're free to continue to enjoy it as you wish. As those who find analysis or interpretation interesting are free to continue with what is intriguing to them.


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PostPosted: Sun June 24th, 2012, 22:01 GMT 
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the_revelator wrote:
MMD wrote:
That's fine. And of course you are more than welcome, you are entitled to you opinion. But that is no different than saying that discussing the writing of any other artist is a "waste of time". Either you are saying that any interpretation of any artists' work is a waste of time (Shakespeare, Picasso, Beethoven, Plato), or you are saying Dylan in particular isn't worthy of that kind of engagement and interpretation --that Dylan is too not good enough to warrant that kind of effort.

I disagree with both positions.


To those who find analysis or interpretation of art boring or in some way inherently wrong - art exists on it's own terms, separate from any analysis, and you're free to continue to enjoy it as you wish. As those who find analysis or interpretation interesting are free to continue with what is intriguing to them.


There, that's much better said. Thank you, rev.


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PostPosted: Sun June 24th, 2012, 22:29 GMT 
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Trev wrote:
the_revelator wrote:
When Dylan claims he writes or performs in order to "stop time" - I have always believed he is referring to his deep absorption in the process of creating which makes him unaware that time has passed during the period of creation. If that supposition is true, he would be "stopping time" just as much when he is writing or playing alone than he is when performing before an audience. Having an audience is just "gravy", not the primary reason for the enterprise.


There's overwhelming evidence that Dylan is referring to the art itself stopping time - to it being an effect of the art. Here he is speaking to Matt Damsker, on the Blood On The Tracks songs : "the ones that have the break-up of time, where there is no time, trying to make the focus as strong as a magnifying glass under the sun". In the interview Dylan gives for Renaldo & Clara with Pierre Cottrall and Allen Ginsberg, he talks about how it is the work of art that stops time, and then specifically refers to the effect a work of art has as "stopping time" for the audience : "We try to make something better out of what is real. If we want to be successful as an artist, we make it better, and give meaning to something meaningless." Interviewer : What's your idea of "better" - your direction of "better"? "You can make something lasting. You wanna stop time, that's what you wanna do. [...] And if you succeed in doing that [stopping time], everyone who comes into contact with what you've done - whatever it might be, whether you've carved a statue or painted a painting - will catch some of that; they'll recognise that you have stopped time - they won't realise it, but that's what they'll recognise, that you have stopped time. [...] And this movie stops time in a way that no American movie ever has and I don't think will. What we've done is hold onto something which seemed to be escapable, and we captured it and made it real."
To Jonathan Cott on the same movie : "I also used that quality of no-time. [...] The movie creates and holds the time".


Trev and Rev,

The play with time that is such a big part of Dylan's experience and work after his apprenticeship with Raeben seems to me to have undergone a change in his late work -- Say LT, M&A forward.

There is clearly an earnest grappling with time in the BOTT, Desire, Renaldo and Clara era work. Surely it continues after that. The narratives are interesting and powerful reconfigurations of our experience of time. Tangled Up in Blue is the one everyone points to. And it is a perfectly good example. The narrator moves through time, past, present future are fluid. It's almost as if Dylan were thinking of some kind of reincarnation theory. The same soul moving through time in different incarnations, but with the experience of moving between them freely.. That's one way to talk about it.

I think that the incorporations can lead us to think of Dylan's writing and his play with time differently.

In the later work, there seems to be another tweak of that idea of refusing the common experience of time as a line, and as irreversible, a rethinking of the idea of past and present and future as we typically think of them.

Dylan seems to collapse history, overlap it, in order to multiply or intensify what his narrator's words mean.

He brings the American Civil War, Roman wars (and civil war), Empires, whole eras to overlap and we are led to experience the words, feelings, situation of narrator in the song in radically different conditions. And now, he does it not by putting the narrator explicitly in a new setting (Tangled Up in Blue moves around into different historical settings that we recognize from Dylan's descriptive writing about what's happening with slaves and revolutions, right?), but instead by having Virgil or Ovid or Timrod speak for/as his narrator.

I'll keep this very brief here and say just this:
When our narrator is singing, we start in the present, the words have meaning for us in relation to our current social circumstances (e.g., High Water and September 11th). And we experience the statements of loneliness or anxiety or rebellion in that context. But, when we learn that the narrator is either speaking in Timrod's or Ovid's words, or has been replaced by Timrod or Ovid in the song, if we recognize that shift in narrator, and know the the overall sense of the original poem that the lines come from, and if we know the historical conditions in which the "quoted" lines were written, then we can overlap Ovid's or Timrod's experience as well as all the implications of the Civil War or the collapse of Rome onto our 21st century narrator. Suddenly, Dylan's narrator is telling us that what looks like an ironic or smirking crack about our times is, in combination with the incorporated lines (and the world they bring with them), in fact a statement of a coming catastrophe or of a sense of a deep corruption, or a kind of loneliness that isn't possible to imagine in our times anymore.


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PostPosted: Sun June 24th, 2012, 22:31 GMT 

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I'm all for the analysis also - it's fascinating. Those who feel otherwise are entitled to their views too.

I find the whole subject of aesthetics - why people enjoy things, mind blowing. Course you could say my mind is easily blown, and that may be true, but I still enjoy it.

MMD has obviously put a of effort into this and it's a great contribution. It's light years ahead of a lot of the trivial stuff here.

Then again - I'll supremely enjoy a quick zinger from Bennyboy anytime. He's like a strong spice added to a good meal. It's a great buffet here.


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PostPosted: Sun June 24th, 2012, 22:43 GMT 
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chrome horse wrote:
I find the whole subject of aesthetics - why people enjoy things, mind blowing.


A lot of it is via "cultural conditioning", isn't it?
I was at a middle eastern restaurant with someone once and they insisted the music that was playing there "wasn't music." I strongly disagreed, saying that just because it was outside of what we knew to understand and enjoy, it didn't mean it wasn't an equal cultural achievement.
Around 1978, Bob spoke a few times about his enjoyment in listening to Om Kalsoum (sp?), and that shows just how open he is to any kind of art.

chrome horse wrote:
MMD has obviously put a of effort into this and it's a great contribution. It's light years ahead of a lot of the trivial stuff here.


^^
This. I sincerely hope this is a pioneering effort, to be repeated to discuss other topics in a similar manner.


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PostPosted: Sun June 24th, 2012, 22:54 GMT 
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MMD wrote:


I'll keep this very brief here and say just this:
When our narrator is singing, we start in the present, the words have meaning for us in relation to our current social circumstances (e.g., High Water and September 11th). And we experience the statements of loneliness or anxiety or rebellion in that context. But, when we learn that the narrator is either speaking in Timrod's or Ovid's words, or has been replaced by Timrod or Ovid in the song, if we recognize that shift in narrator, and know the the overall sense of the original poem that the lines come from, and if we know the historical conditions in which the "quoted" lines were written, then we can overlap Ovid's or Timrod's experience as well as all the implications of the Civil War or the collapse of Rome onto our 21st century narrator. Suddenly, Dylan's narrator is telling us that what looks like an ironic or smirking crack about our times is, in combination with the incorporated lines (and the world they bring with them), in fact a statement of a coming catastrophe or of a sense of a deep corruption, or a kind of loneliness that isn't possible to imagine in our times anymore.


This is excellent.


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PostPosted: Sun June 24th, 2012, 23:31 GMT 
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chrome horse wrote:
Then again - I'll supremely enjoy a quick zinger from Bennyboy anytime. He's like a strong spice added to a good meal. It's a great buffet here.


With Long Johnny long gone, Benny Boy stands alone as a verbal swashbuckler.


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PostPosted: Sun June 24th, 2012, 23:32 GMT 
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I imagine if Dylan were to read this thread he would be havng a quiet chuckle and be amazed at yet another theory.
Yes he has sent a powerful message and it is there for all of us to read in his songs , his covers , theme time radio and so on .
The culture of popular music is important and must be preserved . All the other things are theries which as time passes on become more and more complex and each one adds to the legends and myths that surround the great man.
Now we will wait for tomorrow's new version of the theory.


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PostPosted: Mon June 25th, 2012, 00:03 GMT 
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raging_glory wrote:
MMD wrote:


I'll keep this very brief here and say just this:
When our narrator is singing, we start in the present, the words have meaning for us in relation to our current social circumstances (e.g., High Water and September 11th). And we experience the statements of loneliness or anxiety or rebellion in that context. But, when we learn that the narrator is either speaking in Timrod's or Ovid's words, or has been replaced by Timrod or Ovid in the song, if we recognize that shift in narrator, and know the the overall sense of the original poem that the lines come from, and if we know the historical conditions in which the "quoted" lines were written, then we can overlap Ovid's or Timrod's experience as well as all the implications of the Civil War or the collapse of Rome onto our 21st century narrator. Suddenly, Dylan's narrator is telling us that what looks like an ironic or smirking crack about our times is, in combination with the incorporated lines (and the world they bring with them), in fact a statement of a coming catastrophe or of a sense of a deep corruption, or a kind of loneliness that isn't possible to imagine in our times anymore.


This is excellent.


I agree. I find this very compelling.


Last edited by the_revelator on Mon June 25th, 2012, 00:06 GMT, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon June 25th, 2012, 00:04 GMT 
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chrome horse wrote:
I'm all for the analysis also - it's fascinating. Those who feel otherwise are entitled to their views too.

I find the whole subject of aesthetics - why people enjoy things, mind blowing. Course you could say my mind is easily blown, and that may be true, but I still enjoy it.

MMD has obviously put a of effort into this and it's a great contribution. It's light years ahead of a lot of the trivial stuff here.

Then again - I'll supremely enjoy a quick zinger from Bennyboy anytime. He's like a strong spice added to a good meal. It's a great buffet here.



What a wonderful post, chrome horse! I totally agree.


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PostPosted: Mon June 25th, 2012, 02:11 GMT 
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I was listening to Ain't Talkin' tonight and felt like a bit of it could apply to the purpose of this thread or very idea of studying Bob's lyrics at all. There is a difference between speculating, which people can rightly be opposed to, and contemplating or carefully and thoughtfully considering possibilities with tested methods of analysis.


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PostPosted: Mon June 25th, 2012, 09:43 GMT 
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Bob Dylan wrote:
The world of research has gone berserk
Too much paperwork


Or maybe somebody else said that - but I'm loving it either way, both ways. :wink:
I know I'll keep looking into it.


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PostPosted: Mon June 25th, 2012, 12:02 GMT 

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i've enjoyed reading everyone’s comments on this thread. in some of the songs it's almost like he's getting led around by the voices-these snippets of things kind of hang together somehow and speak together in the present... maybe the songs kind of come together that way for him sometimes, it's hard to say. i'm still thinking about the good, the beautiful, and the true (that last one's a doozy though). some of the stuff s. warmuth referenced is really interesting, i think. there is a lot of information there, and i haven’t given up on the idea of codes- maybe that's foolish. like other's, ever since i saw that Vietnam painting, I have been wondering about that. someone probably already put these lyrics ( i better say, bob dylan's) in this thread, it's easy to repeat things accidentally in threads this long

The night's filled with shadows The years are filled with early doom
The night is filled with shadows The years are filled with early doom
I've been conjuring up all these long dead souls from their crumbling tombs


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PostPosted: Mon June 25th, 2012, 13:13 GMT 
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ifitwastruetennessee wrote:
i've enjoyed reading everyone’s comments on this thread. in some of the songs it's almost like he's getting led around by the voices-these snippets of things kind of hang together somehow and speak together in the present... maybe the songs kind of come together that way for him sometimes, it's hard to say.


ifwtt - an interesting comment. ^ I wish we had a way of knowing how the songs come together for him, especially when he seems to be using quotes from the works of others. There's no way to know what the meaning is for him, of course. Additionally, we can't know what other listeners hear in the songs nor can Dylan guess what listeners may attach to the songs irrespective of his intentions. Because L&T was released in the U.S. on the day of the 9/11 attacks, I'm sure I'm not the only person who spent a long time unable to hear the album without that event overlaid on it. Obviously 9/11 had nothing at all to do with the album, since L&T was recorded before the attacks, but this response was buttressed by numerous lyrics which could easily be perceived as references to 9/11 ("sky full of fire, pain falling down"; "coffins droppin' in the street/like balloons made out of lead"; "I'm preachin' the Word of God/I'm puttin' out your eyes"). L&T was a strange occasion where a Dylan album 'seemed' full of timely references (and a prevailing dark mood) to a real world event in the moment it was happening, none of which were intended by Dylan. For many, L&T held powerful associations to that immediate tragedy - but they existed only because of an accident of timing.


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PostPosted: Mon June 25th, 2012, 15:15 GMT 
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^^
Just as TOOM will likely be linked, for many, with Bob's '97 illness.


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