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PostPosted: Sat September 5th, 2009, 16:14 GMT 
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Things Have Changed

A worried man with a worried mind [Carter Family reference]
No one in front of me and nothing behind [absence as image]
There's a woman on my lap and she's drinking champagne [contradicts prior line]
Got white skin, got assassin's eyes [whose eyes, the woman's or the speaker's?]
I'm looking up into the sapphire tinted skies ["up" is unnecessary--no one looks down into the sky]
I'm well dressed, waiting on the last train [literal or figurative?]

Standing on the gallows with my head in a noose [literal or figurative? I guess the woman in his lap fell off when he stood]
Any minute now I'm expecting all hell to break loose [any minute now, I'm expecting another cliche]

People are crazy and times are strange [I guess so, but the only people so far are the champagne drinker and the speaker]
I'm locked in tight, I'm out of range [locked in where? out of range of what?]
I used to care, but things have changed [a shrug]

This place ain't doing me any good [gallows seldom do]
I'm in the wrong town, I should be in Hollywood [reminds me of Clean Cut Kid here, a song I like]
Just for a second there I thought I saw something move [heightened anxiety, but expressed in banal diction]
Gonna take dancing lessons do the jitterbug rag [and this relates to the man on the gallows in a way]
Ain't no shortcuts, gonna dress in drag [non-sequitor, shortcuts relates to last train and impending doom, dress in drag relates to woman in his lap who could be understood as his anima]
Only a fool in here would think he's got anything to prove ["in here" seems to mean the song itself, and the line rejects coherence or excellence or living up to any expectation]

Lot of water under the bridge, Lot of other stuff too [lots of cliches, lots of generic language]
Don't get up gentlemen, I'm only passing through [ars longa, vita brevis indeed]

People are crazy and times are strange
I'm locked in tight, I'm out of range
I used to care, but things have changed [how much more impact do these lines have upon repetition? does anyone require a reminder the speaker doesn't care?]

I've been walking forty miles of bad road [echo of Old Joe Clark's "eighteen miles of mountain road, sixteen miles of sand"]
If the bible is right, the world will explode [hard to argue the point, and concisely made]
I've been trying to get as far away from myself as I can [inevitable failure, rejection of self]
Some things are too hot to touch [and some aren't, so saying which ones are would be perhaps stronger]
The human mind can only stand so much [comment on the lyrics themselves and the limits of creative imagination exposed]
You can't win with a losing hand [not a remarkable insight, but it does convey pessimism both in content and rhetorical banality]

Feel like falling in love with the first woman I meet [I guess the champagne drinker just won't do]
Putting her in a wheel barrow and wheeling her down the street [very funny]

People are crazy and times are strange
I'm locked in tight, I'm out of range
I used to care, but things have changed [at this point, the chorus is a commentary on songcraft]

I hurt easy, I just don't show it [sounds true, honest, naked]
You can hurt someone and not even know it [banal rhyme but makes sense with prior line]
The next sixty seconds could be like an eternity [echo of William Blake]
Gonna get low down, gonna fly high [embrace of contradiction and hint of imaginative escape from fate]
All the truth in the world adds up to one big lie [grandiose pessimism is not convincing, but the line strongly characterizes speaker]
I'm in love with a woman who don't even appeal to me [I guess the wheelbarrow thing didn't work out so well]

Mr. Jinx and Miss Lucy, they jumped in the lake [random line unnconnected to anything save for the name Jinx reflecting more pessimism,action in context seems to be suicidal but could also just be a couple on vacation, no way of knowing]
I'm not that eager to make a mistake [seems to indicate jumping in the lake was a mistake the speaker won't make, but the indefinite article leaves this uncertain]

People are crazy and times are strange
I'm locked in tight, I'm out of range
I used to care, but things have changed [in its final iteration, the chorus seems to say "I'm a little mixed up, confused, repressed, alienated, and at one time I might have turned these feelings into something transcendant, but all that is over and I'm just rambling on because, hey, nothing matters, not even this song]

I thought it worth bringing the object of discussion into the discussion. Clearly, the lyric shows Dylan's flair with language, also his weaknesses as lyricist, some of his thematic obsessions and attitudes. The music for the song I have always found quite strong as rock music. The lyrics are less compelling, perhaps because they too successfully convey the claim of indifference by enacting it. If Dylan is trying to give voice to the Michael Douglas character in the film, maybe the issue for me is that I didn't care about the character or the conflicts he had. In some ways, the lyrics remind me of the late paintings of Willem de Koonig, when he was suffering from dementia--the body of an artist is at work, but the mind is not all there.


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PostPosted: Sat September 5th, 2009, 16:55 GMT 

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harmonica albert-

Interesting post.

While laying it out as such is useful, I'm not sure if a agree with a lot of your comments. First, the song is non-narrative at the very least. There is no contadiction therein. I think it makes total sense that "No one in front of me and nothing behind" but also a woman on his lap. The images co-exist quite nicely (as if to say I am alone in an existential sense, not a physical sense). I think it's pretty clear that little on the song is meant to be taken literally.

And I think more than interesting is your comments on the chorus. You seem to argue that the narrator's not caring nullifies the song because why should we care. I understand what you are saying, but doesn't the fact that (a) the song is being sung, and (b) the narrator "used" to care, create a dynamic tension?

Because the narrator is travelling ("only passing through... walking forty miles of bad road...trying to get as far away from myself as I possibly can") it's clear that his struggle isn't over. He hasn't given up, even if he says he used to care, he obviously does still care about somethings or he wouldn't be travelling on.

Also, can you explain why you think that so many of the lines are comments on the lyrics themselves?

-Andrew


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PostPosted: Sat September 5th, 2009, 18:17 GMT 
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My comments are mostly just objective observations, not judgements. While the lyrics might be associative or non-linear, that does not exclude narrative from the object. At some level, every lyric holds a narrative--a sequence of linguistic events organized by time. I think any reasonably thorough reading of the lyric will recognize the self-referential content of many of the lines.

Your comment on "dynamic tension" does not contradict anything I wrote, but adds to the plausible readings and meanings. I don't intend my response to the song to be final (in my mind or anyone else's) but merely one way of experiencing the lyric. It would be just as legitimate (though far less interesting to me) to deny any necessary meaning at all and simply advocate a musical role for the words, sound separated from essential meaning.


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PostPosted: Sat September 5th, 2009, 18:47 GMT 

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harmonica albert wrote:
I'm looking up into the sapphire tinted skies ["up" is unnecessary--no one looks down into the sky]

God does. I sort of think of the song's narrator as a fallen angel. Either that or Death, who discriminates against people when they're young and healthy, but is less picky past a certain point. It echoes the sentiment from the early version of CAN'T WAIT: "I'm getting old; anything can happen now to anyone..." Plus he'd rather be in Hollywood where all the exciting celebrity deaths are.


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PostPosted: Sat September 5th, 2009, 22:39 GMT 
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True enough about God. Is this a legitimate pose for the speaker? Given the persistent banality and fatalism, what evidence of divine perspective does the song contain? If the angel is fallen, then he, too would be looking up to see the sky, but then why would death be of any concern? Angels are immortal. Same goes for a personified Death figure.

Your notions of the speaker's character are interesting--moreso than the lyrics themselves support I think. I'm most grateful that you raised the points--I think I might get a song out of them myself. I hope so. I could use one.


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PostPosted: Sat September 5th, 2009, 23:12 GMT 
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The best song about not being able to achieve an erection that anyone has written for several hundred years.

Bob was brave to write this. Penile dysfunction is a touchy subject - especially when it comes to music and it is one area where other so called marquee artists - such as the Beatles, Wings and Paul McCartney - have feared to tread.

Sums up the Clinton years.


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PostPosted: Sat September 5th, 2009, 23:15 GMT 
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Thanks Harmonica Albert and Andrew for the insights. I've always looked at the song as the rambling (random), disjointed thoughts of a crazy man, a person suffering from dementia, perhaps, as a result of that opening line, "A worried man with a worried mind."

For me the only cohesive element is the refrain. Having worked in retirement homes with persons suffering with varying forms of dementia, this felt a somewhat natural approach. I've never seen the movie so I have no idea how it fits with the characters or the plot.

Thanks again...your insights are interesting and give me pause to look at the song from another perspective. I appreciate that a lot.


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PostPosted: Sat September 5th, 2009, 23:40 GMT 
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Location: in the land where dreams are made....
I had avoided reading this thread because I love this song and I was afraid that it would get screwed up in my head somehow if I read this... but when it got to three pages I decided there might be something here that I did want to read... and there certainly is.... AndrewThomas, I do like the way you write.... made me think of somethings that I had not considered....

as to the effort that is going into the discussion being more than the effort going into the writing.... I think this one shows a lot of effort on Dylan's part.... in one of this interviews he said that once he knows he has words down that he needs he will make it work when he sings it rather than give up the lyric.... This song was not originally part of an album effort... he did this just for the movie.... and it was the first one that he produced himself...for all those reason, I would think it was all thought out.....in his head, since it was his from start to finish product.... His speech at the time he got the Oscar, he called it a song about dark side of life..... which of course it is.... a dark story....

By the way, I always thought the assassin's eyes were hers not his....


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PostPosted: Sun September 6th, 2009, 02:58 GMT 

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I think here we have a case of Dylan using one line to change the meaning of another. You could presume the white skin and assassin's eyes belong to the woman, until you hear the next line "I'm looking up into the sapphire-tinted skies". This effect reminds me of Most of the Time -
I don't compromise and I don't pretend
I don't even care if I ever see her again

and Desolation Row
Now the moon is almost hidden
the stars are beginning to hide
(not simply be hidden)

I love the fact that the song ends exactly 60 seconds from "the next sixty seconds could feel like an eternity", and I think he tried to replicate that in certain concerts where the song would end in quite a sudden way.


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PostPosted: Sun September 6th, 2009, 05:48 GMT 

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A worried man with a worried mind [Himself]
No one in front of me and nothing behind [Loss of selfness]
There's a woman on my lap and she's drinking champagne [New character]
Got white skin, got assassin's eyes [The woman]
I'm looking up into the sapphire tinted skies [ok]
I'm well dressed, waiting on the last train [The use of the words "well dressed" and last train" make me think of a man waiting for his own funeral]

Standing on the gallows with my head in a noose [Goes back to the previous line. Now we have more feeling.]
Any minute now I'm expecting all hell to break loose [Agreed, cliche, but why does he expect that?]

People are crazy and times are strange [He, the woman, everyone?]
I'm locked in tight, I'm out of range [Feeling of enclosure...out of range-- too far to get back a feeling of freedom?]
I used to care, but things have changed [Too frustrating to try anymore]

This place ain't doing me any good [duh]
I'm in the wrong town, I should be in Hollywood [a wish]
Just for a second there I thought I saw something move [Himself reaching for the above goal, but sarcastically, it's thrown away]
Gonna take dancing lessons do the jitterbug rag [Instead of reaching for the above goal?]
Ain't no shortcuts, gonna dress in drag [if there aren't any shortcuts, then shouldn't he dress as himself not in drag?]
Only a fool in here would think he's got anything to prove [Not sure]

Lot of water under the bridge, Lot of other stuff too ["lots of cliches, lots of generic language"---agreed]
Don't get up gentlemen, I'm only passing through [More new characters]

I'm going to stop there. Just my two cents.


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PostPosted: Sun September 6th, 2009, 05:58 GMT 

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harmonica albert wrote:
Things Have Changed

A few things that came to mind whilst reading your post...

"There's a woman on my lap and she's drinking champagne [contradicts prior line]"
I don't believe this line contradicts the previous line... to me 'no one in front' doesn't suggest space but time. There is nothing behind him (suggesting perhaps a lack of achievements or of self worth) and no one in his future... His worried mind brings on anxieties of losing loved ones, driving new love away, having wasted his time running around pursuing love and of not achieving what he could have if he were not so preoccupied.

"I'm looking up into the sapphire tinted skies ["up" is unnecessary--no one looks down into the sky]"
You can however, look straight off to the horizon. Looking 'up' and looking 'out' to me invoke to very different emotions. The former is of asking for help (salvation) and the later of taking matters into your own hands (determination). Though that's most likely just me. Asking for salvation in this case, while waiting for the last train is simbolic of praying for one last chance. A chance to bust out of this cage... A now or never kind of deal.

"Standing on the gallows with my head in a noose [literal or figurative? I guess the woman in his lap fell off when he stood]"
Again, he is worried that he could be about to lose everything and is in dire need of a helping hand, a sign from god, a push into the unknown or a hand pulling him back. Here we see a man conflicted... to stay or to leave, that is the question?

"People are crazy and times are strange [I guess so, but the only people so far are the champagne drinker and the speaker]"
So? Why do they have to be implicated in the song? People ARE crazy and times ARE strange :wink:

"I'm locked in tight, I'm out of range [locked in where? out of range of what?]"
He is defensive, withdrawn, keeping himself just out reach from all these strange people that he can no longer relate to. Locked away in his fortress of solitude he is safe.. he knows it's when you try to help/befriend/love people that you open yourself to them and risk being hurt. Like he says: "I hurt easy, I just don't show it / You can hurt someone and not even know it".

"I used to care, but things have changed [a shrug]"
Yeah, sure thing guy... lets continue and I'll be back to this later.

"This place ain't doing me any good [gallows seldom do]
I'm in the wrong town, I should be in Hollywood [reminds me of Clean Cut Kid here, a song I like]"
To me these lines relate to him again being unable to identify with those around him anymore, but also of feeling largely superior to them. Perhaps he hides a bitterness that he is not the big star he deep down longs to be. On the one hand he feels nothing for those around him and yet on the other he craves their attention and admiration. Maybe in Hollywood the empty yes-men all wrapped up in their ribbons and bows would give him that which he craves? However, is that truly what he desires? Like a wise man was once said, "it's either fortune or fame, you must pick on or the other although neither of them are to be what they claim".

"Just for a second there I thought I saw something move [heightened anxiety, but expressed in banal diction]"
In my eye's this line has nothing to do with anxiety but instead is him making light of just how barren and unappealing the place he inhabits is. 'did someone just say something? No? I guess not'. In this town you die the man you were born and if you do anything in between, well lets just say you were lucky.

"Gonna take dancing lessons do the jitterbug rag [and this relates to the man on the gallows in a way]
Ain't no shortcuts, gonna dress in drag [non-sequitor, shortcuts relates to last train and impending doom, dress in drag relates to woman in his lap who could be understood as his anima]
Only a fool in here would think he's got anything to prove ["in here" seems to mean the song itself, and the line rejects coherence or excellence or living up to any expectation]"
Here he expresses his desire to be cutting lose and getting free. Of doing all the crazy, outlandish things that would be fine in Hollywood but not here, not in this town. Only a fool would think he had anything to prove in this quagmire. It's one big splurge, an expression of repression, an ode to freedom written in a most childish and unashamed manner "When I get out of here I'll stay up as late as I want, I'll eat ice cream for supper!".

"People are crazy and times are strange
I'm locked in tight, I'm out of range
I used to care, but things have changed [how much more impact do these lines have upon repetition? does anyone require a reminder the speaker doesn't care?]"
Well apart from it being the chorus you mean? :lol:
Aside from that I believe that no, we do not need to be reminded... The man himself? Well that might just be another matter entirely. Like I say, it's now or never bub, just keep chanting that mantra and you'll be fine.


"I've been trying to get as far away from myself as I can [inevitable failure, rejection of self]"
I don't see this as an expression of inevitable failure, I see it as taking the bull by the balls (thats the expression right?)! To distance ones self from the man you are/were would surely make the transition to a new life much easier.

"Feel like falling in love with the first woman I meet [I guess the champagne drinker just won't do]"
No, she most certainly will not!

"Putting her in a wheel barrow and wheeling her down the street [very funny]"
In his mind he is already free, he is drawing up maps, he is packing his bags, he is gone! He is romanticizing his upcoming departure and all is as new and fresh as springtime. He desires the excitement and the passion of new love in a new town! What better way to begin a whole new life?

"All the truth in the world adds up to one big lie [grandiose pessimism is not convincing, but the line strongly characterizes speaker]"
However... Could it be that our hero is all talk and no trousers? Here we see him suddenly shifts gears. The truth is he wants to leave, he needs to, this place ain't doing him any good. It's making him sick it's making him mean! The big fat lie? Well, could it be perhaps... That tonight, he ain't going nowhere!

"I'm in love with a woman who don't even appeal to me [I guess the wheelbarrow thing didn't work out so well]"
All this talk of making a clean getaway to the bright lights of Hollywood is really nothing more than broken numbers adding up to zeros! The real truth... The only truth that matters in this whole crazy mess... is that he is bound to this place through the love a woman. A woman who is nothing like the young, plastic, bleached blonde bimbos of Hollywood.

"Mr. Jinx and Miss Lucy, they jumped in the lake [random line unnconnected to anything save for the name Jinx reflecting more pessimism,action in context seems to be suicidal but could also just be a couple on vacation, no way of knowing]"
Jumping into the the lake in my eyes, refers to making a very quick and very foolhardy decision such as rushing into a marriage maybe?

"I'm not that eager to make a mistake [seems to indicate jumping in the lake was a mistake the speaker won't make, but the indefinite article leaves this uncertain]"
He is after all a worried man with a worried mind who believes that he is destined to push all who love him away... And let up not forget a certain little trip he he's been planning for quite some time now :P

My, oh my what is a guy to do?

Well people are crazy and times are strange (himself included)
He's locked in tight, he's out of range (yeah, he wishes!)
"I used to care... But... Ahh God damn it!"



I had quite a bit more to write and I might get around to adding to this unholy wall of text at some point, but its real late here (5am) and I needs me beauty sleep!

Hope some of what I wanted to say came across! Night guys x


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PostPosted: Sun September 6th, 2009, 09:13 GMT 

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harmonica albert wrote:
My comments are mostly just objective observations, not judgements. While the lyrics might be associative or non-linear, that does not exclude narrative from the object. At some level, every lyric holds a narrative--a sequence of linguistic events organized by time. I think any reasonably thorough reading of the lyric will recognize the self-referential content of many of the lines.

On the question of associative versus non-linear, the thing about Dylan lines is that he jumps wildly and often with apparent incoherence from one image to another. This, coupled with the fact that the lines pass so quickly - driven by the pace of the musical rhythm - means that I for one find I cannot follow any coherent narrative at the literal level. On the surface, the song seems a jumble, yet as I listen to the bizarre passing parade it seems there is a coherence operating at a subliminal level. It's as if deep parts of the psyche are being briefly discoverd and lived - only to be let fall again into oblivion. On the whole, the feeling is pleasurable - cathartic rather than disturbing.

Things Have Changed works for me well at this level. I often wonder if this effect has been consciously developed or if it's just the way Dylan's complex mind throws up ideas. From here I wonder if he is actually trying to express anything, or whether he is just creating for us lyrics that contain - perhaps inadvertently - the texture of meaning but which the listener has to complete by adding their own more personal meanings to the images. And if that is the case, how interesting is it as art?


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PostPosted: Sun September 6th, 2009, 16:44 GMT 
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I'm not sure whether Dylan's intentions, whether or not he is "trying" to express one thing or anything at all, are decisive in the resulting artifact or anyone's experience of it. Associative or intuitive organization of a lyric is in my experience a great method that frees the imagination from the potential tyrrany of narrative.

Nevertheless, the final result ought to present original language in compelling form or it risks being gibberish with little aesthetic value. Gibberish can be entertaining, but it is rarely sublime. I suppose sublimity is by definition rare.

It doesn't matter how long Dylan took in writing Things Have Changed. Lyric writing, whether in poetry or song, has primarily a musical obligation which can be realized instantaneously, but also other obligations if the artist and/or the audience have any ambition to realize a deeper understanding and appreciation of human experience. "You can't win with a losing hand" reveals nothing. "I hurt easy, I just don't show it/You can hurt someone and not even know it" is a complex insight framed in ordinary language, and for me the peak moment in the song.

I also must say that simply discussing this song in this thread has changed my feeling about it, without having listened to it again. Thanks to all.


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PostPosted: Sun September 6th, 2009, 18:59 GMT 

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Maybe it's foolish to pat ourselves on the back, but this was a damn good thread. I know I've gotten a lot of our reading it and participating in it. We should do this sorta stuff more often.


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PostPosted: Sun September 6th, 2009, 22:02 GMT 

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harmonica albert wrote:
I'm not sure whether Dylan's intentions, whether or not he is "trying" to express one thing or anything at all, are decisive in the resulting artifact or anyone's experience of it. Associative or intuitive organization of a lyric is in my experience a great method that frees the imagination from the potential tyrrany of narrative.

Nevertheless, the final result ought to present original language in compelling form or it risks being gibberish with little aesthetic value. Gibberish can be entertaining, but it is rarely sublime. I suppose sublimity is by definition rare.


Fair enough, but where do you draw the line?

My suggesting that this kind of analysis be applied to Wiggle Wiggle was not a joke. In my mind, Things Have Changed is only a cut above Wiggle Wiggle on the gibberish scale. To deny that just seems... I dunno, pretentious?

Things Have Changed is (lyrically speaking) of the "grab bag" mold that Bob has been employing consistently over the past 10+ years. It's a close cousin to songs like Honest With Me. Any cohesion that the listener culls from these lyrics is as arbitrary as the lyrics themselves. This kind of "in depth" analysis of them may as well exist as a separate, original creation.

So why not Wiggle Wiggle? Because it would be too blatantly pretentious? Is it simply that the "grab bag" lyric style provides just enough pseudo-narrative cover to mitigate the pretension?

I mean, come on.

Things Have Changed?

Do Wiggle Wiggle.

Or are you chicken?


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PostPosted: Sun September 6th, 2009, 23:30 GMT 

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stephenoxford wrote:
The soundtrack album is SUPERB

Track Listings
1. Things Have Changed - Bob Dylan
2. A Child's Claim To Fame - Buffalo Springfield
3. No Regrets - Tom Rush
4. Old Man - Neil Young
5. Shooting Star - Bob Dylan
6. Reason To Believe - Tim Hardin
7. Need Your Love So Bad - Little Willie John
8. Not Dark Yet - Bob Dylan
9. Slip Away - Clarence Carter
10. Waiting For A Miracle - Leonard Cohen
11. Buckets Of Rain - Bob Dylan
12. Watching The Wheels - John Lennon
13. Philosopher's Stone - Van Morrison


Couple of quid on Amazon!

To me THC, is the natural aged corollary to Times They Are A Changin, the old man's retort to the young man's idealism!


I love the film. Strong performances all around. I bought the soundtrack the day it came out I think. I'd heard "Things Have Changed" somewhere and me and this guy who was living in my dorm room went and grabbed it. What is really amazing though is that "Things Have Changed" isn't even the best song on the soundtrack. I prever "Child's Claim to Fame," "Reason to Believe," "Philosopher's Stone," and "Waiting For the Miracle," none of which I'd heard before I got the soundtrack (okay, I'd heard that crappy Rod Stewart version of "Reason to Believe," but not the lushness that is Hardin's original).


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PostPosted: Sun September 6th, 2009, 23:30 GMT 

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CShoe wrote:
Fair enough, but where do you draw the line?

My suggesting that this kind of analysis be applied to Wiggle Wiggle was not a joke. In my mind, Things Have Changed is only a cut above Wiggle Wiggle on the gibberish scale. To deny that just seems... I dunno, pretentious?

Things Have Changed is (lyrically speaking) of the "grab bag" mold that Bob has been employing consistently over the past 10+ years. It's a close cousin to songs like Honest With Me. Any cohesion that the listener culls from these lyrics is as arbitrary as the lyrics themselves. This kind of "in depth" analysis of them may as well exist as a separate, original creation.

Well, you have to take into account the circumstances of the song's writing. They told him they wanted a song for the film, he said he would write one; he had to have an "open" enough text that its content could be at least partly transposed onto the movie and vice versa. Consequently, we have a song that can be interpreted in a context of (a) only itself, (b) the events of the movie, (c) the material it alludes to, (d) Dylan's career and catalogue, or (e) some combination of the above. Plus, there's whatever each of us brings to the table from our own experiences and common knowledge.

If you'd seriously like to talk about WIGGLE WIGGLE in similar fashion, why not start a thread for that very purpose? I'm sure people might have some interesting things to say about it as well.


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PostPosted: Sun September 6th, 2009, 23:54 GMT 
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PaxViri wrote:
I love the film. Strong performances all around. I bought the soundtrack the day it came out I think. I'd heard "Things Have Changed" somewhere and me and this guy who was living in my dorm room went and grabbed it. What is really amazing though is that "Things Have Changed" isn't even the best song on the soundtrack. I prever "Child's Claim to Fame," "Reason to Believe," "Philosopher's Stone," and "Waiting For the Miracle," none of which I'd heard before I got the soundtrack (okay, I'd heard that crappy Rod Stewart version of "Reason to Believe," but not the lushness that is Hardin's original).

Bear in mind that the film soundtrack, as opposed to the soundtrack album, used that crappy Rod Stewart version of "Reason to Believe". Matter of taste, I know, but IMO Rod's version was excellent and certainly not deserving of such a putdown. Hey ho. 8)


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PostPosted: Mon September 7th, 2009, 00:19 GMT 
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I don't have much to add to the great discussion of one of my favourite Dylan songs, but have a listen to Sydney 2003 version if you get the chance. Incredible.


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PostPosted: Mon September 7th, 2009, 01:00 GMT 

Joined: Wed April 11th, 2007, 04:15 GMT
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Anyone that comes to this board expecting in-depth analysis of anything is asking far too much. If you want analysis, pick up some Christopher Ricks or any other "scholar" of Dylan. This is a discussion forum. And this particular thread is called Track Talk. Which means people talk over a song, offer their personal impression, and exchange ideas about its meaning for them. If you'd like to discuss the song, by all means, negative or positive, go for it. But if you're just gonna come on and heckle anyone's insights...well I guess you can do that too...
Regardless, Wiggle Wiggle was talked about less than a month ago. The search option is great for such queries.
We'd love to hear anyone's thoughts on the song:

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=41787


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PostPosted: Thu September 10th, 2009, 19:16 GMT 

Joined: Fri March 6th, 2009, 01:56 GMT
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Hey, I know this thread is dead an' all but just before it died I offered up some insights of my own based on Harmonica Alberts impressions... Al, I'm not sure if you read them or not so I'm just posting again if you're still interested in the song and/or it's meanings :)

Things Have Changed

A few things that came to mind whilst reading your post...

"There's a woman on my lap and she's drinking champagne [contradicts prior line]"
I don't believe this line contradicts the previous line... to me 'no one in front' doesn't suggest space but time. There is nothing behind him (suggesting perhaps a lack of achievements or of self worth) and no one in his future... His worried mind brings on anxieties of losing loved ones, driving new love away, having wasted his time running around pursuing love and of not achieving what he could have if he were not so preoccupied.

"I'm looking up into the sapphire tinted skies ["up" is unnecessary--no one looks down into the sky]"
You can however, look straight off to the horizon. Looking 'up' and looking 'out' to me invoke to very different emotions. The former is of asking for help (salvation) and the later of taking matters into your own hands (determination). Though that's most likely just me. Asking for salvation in this case, while waiting for the last train is simbolic of praying for one last chance. A chance to bust out of this cage... A now or never kind of deal.

"Standing on the gallows with my head in a noose [literal or figurative? I guess the woman in his lap fell off when he stood]"
Again, he is worried that he could be about to lose everything and is in dire need of a helping hand, a sign from god, a push into the unknown or a hand pulling him back. Here we see a man conflicted... to stay or to leave, that is the question?

"People are crazy and times are strange [I guess so, but the only people so far are the champagne drinker and the speaker]"
So? Why do they have to be implicated in the song? People ARE crazy and times ARE strange :wink:

"I'm locked in tight, I'm out of range [locked in where? out of range of what?]"
He is defensive, withdrawn, keeping himself just out reach from all these strange people that he can no longer relate to. Locked away in his fortress of solitude he is safe.. he knows it's when you try to help/befriend/love people that you open yourself to them and risk being hurt. Like he says: "I hurt easy, I just don't show it / You can hurt someone and not even know it".

"I used to care, but things have changed [a shrug]"
Yeah, sure thing guy... lets continue and I'll be back to this later.

"This place ain't doing me any good [gallows seldom do]
I'm in the wrong town, I should be in Hollywood [reminds me of Clean Cut Kid here, a song I like]"
To me these lines relate to him again being unable to identify with those around him anymore, but also of feeling largely superior to them. Perhaps he hides a bitterness that he is not the big star he deep down longs to be. On the one hand he feels nothing for those around him and yet on the other he craves their attention and admiration. Maybe in Hollywood the empty yes-men all wrapped up in their ribbons and bows would give him that which he craves? However, is that truly what he desires? Like a wise man was once said, "it's either fortune or fame, you must pick on or the other although neither of them are to be what they claim".

"Just for a second there I thought I saw something move [heightened anxiety, but expressed in banal diction]"
In my eye's this line has nothing to do with anxiety but instead is him making light of just how barren and unappealing the place he inhabits is. 'did someone just say something? No? I guess not'. In this town you die the man you were born and if you do anything in between, well lets just say you were lucky.

"Gonna take dancing lessons do the jitterbug rag [and this relates to the man on the gallows in a way]
Ain't no shortcuts, gonna dress in drag [non-sequitor, shortcuts relates to last train and impending doom, dress in drag relates to woman in his lap who could be understood as his anima]
Only a fool in here would think he's got anything to prove ["in here" seems to mean the song itself, and the line rejects coherence or excellence or living up to any expectation]"
Here he expresses his desire to be cutting lose and getting free. Of doing all the crazy, outlandish things that would be fine in Hollywood but not here, not in this town. Only a fool would think he had anything to prove in this quagmire. It's one big splurge, an expression of repression, an ode to freedom written in a most childish and unashamed manner "When I get out of here I'll stay up as late as I want, I'll eat ice cream for supper!".

"People are crazy and times are strange
I'm locked in tight, I'm out of range
I used to care, but things have changed [how much more impact do these lines have upon repetition? does anyone require a reminder the speaker doesn't care?]"
Well apart from it being the chorus you mean? :lol:
Aside from that I believe that no, we do not need to be reminded... The man himself? Well that might just be another matter entirely. Like I say, it's now or never bub, just keep chanting that mantra and you'll be fine.


"I've been trying to get as far away from myself as I can [inevitable failure, rejection of self]"
I don't see this as an expression of inevitable failure, I see it as taking the bull by the balls (thats the expression right?)! To distance ones self from the man you are/were would surely make the transition to a new life much easier.

"Feel like falling in love with the first woman I meet [I guess the champagne drinker just won't do]"
No, she most certainly will not!

"Putting her in a wheel barrow and wheeling her down the street [very funny]"
In his mind he is already free, he is drawing up maps, he is packing his bags, he is gone! He is romanticizing his upcoming departure and all is as new and fresh as springtime. He desires the excitement and the passion of new love in a new town! What better way to begin a whole new life?

"All the truth in the world adds up to one big lie [grandiose pessimism is not convincing, but the line strongly characterizes speaker]"
However... Could it be that our hero is all talk and no trousers? Here we see him suddenly shifts gears. The truth is he wants to leave, he needs to, this place ain't doing him any good. It's making him sick it's making him mean! The big fat lie? Well, could it be perhaps... That tonight, he ain't going nowhere!

"I'm in love with a woman who don't even appeal to me [I guess the wheelbarrow thing didn't work out so well]"
All this talk of making a clean getaway to the bright lights of Hollywood is really nothing more than broken numbers adding up to zeros! The real truth... The only truth that matters in this whole crazy mess... is that he is bound to this place through the love a woman. A woman who is nothing like the young, plastic, bleached blonde bimbos of Hollywood.

"Mr. Jinx and Miss Lucy, they jumped in the lake [random line unnconnected to anything save for the name Jinx reflecting more pessimism,action in context seems to be suicidal but could also just be a couple on vacation, no way of knowing]"
Jumping into the the lake in my eyes, refers to making a very quick and very foolhardy decision such as rushing into a marriage maybe?

"I'm not that eager to make a mistake [seems to indicate jumping in the lake was a mistake the speaker won't make, but the indefinite article leaves this uncertain]"
He is after all a worried man with a worried mind who believes that he is destined to push all who love him away... And let up not forget a certain little trip he he's been planning for quite some time now :P

My, oh my what is a guy to do?

Well people are crazy and times are strange (himself included)
He's locked in tight, he's out of range (yeah, he wishes!)
"I used to care... But... Ahh God damn it!"


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PostPosted: Thu September 10th, 2009, 19:28 GMT 

Joined: Sun June 3rd, 2007, 17:37 GMT
Posts: 420
Location: New Orleans, LA
supermabel1 wrote:
PaxViri wrote:
I love the film. Strong performances all around. I bought the soundtrack the day it came out I think. I'd heard "Things Have Changed" somewhere and me and this guy who was living in my dorm room went and grabbed it. What is really amazing though is that "Things Have Changed" isn't even the best song on the soundtrack. I prever "Child's Claim to Fame," "Reason to Believe," "Philosopher's Stone," and "Waiting For the Miracle," none of which I'd heard before I got the soundtrack (okay, I'd heard that crappy Rod Stewart version of "Reason to Believe," but not the lushness that is Hardin's original).

Bear in mind that the film soundtrack, as opposed to the soundtrack album, used that crappy Rod Stewart version of "Reason to Believe". Matter of taste, I know, but IMO Rod's version was excellent and certainly not deserving of such a putdown. Hey ho. 8)


Maybe Stewart's version isn't so bad. I liked it fine when it came out. I just don't like how Stewart often becomes famous for versions of songs that are certainly passable, but just somehow seem not quite to surpass the original recordings. Meanwhile, Hardin toils in obscurity. I just wish he would get more recognition. I feel the same about Stewart's version of Van Morrison's "Have I Told You Lately," though Morrison has certainly had more commercial success than Hardin, though nowhere near as much as Stewart.


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PostPosted: Thu September 10th, 2009, 23:16 GMT 
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conal0102 wrote:

"There's a woman on my lap and she's drinking champagne [contradicts prior line]"
[i]I don't believe this line contradicts the previous line... to me 'no one in front' doesn't suggest space but time.



Most all of your points are good ones...I just picked the first because it seemed so obvious when listening that I never noticed HA's take on it was almost willfully perverse-or maybe just the take of someone who had already decided he didn't like the song. I'm glad he seems to have reconsidered. I could swear in some live versions Dylan has sung "nothing in front of me and no one behind" which just makes it all the plainer that it's not a physical space which is being talked about.


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PostPosted: Fri September 11th, 2009, 11:47 GMT 

Joined: Thu April 9th, 2009, 11:10 GMT
Posts: 391
conal0102 wrote:
Hey, I know this thread is dead an' all but just before it died I offered up some insights of my own based on Harmonica Alberts impressions... Al, I'm not sure if you read them or not so I'm just posting again if you're still interested in the song and/or it's meanings :)

Things Have Changed

A few things that came to mind whilst reading your post...

"There's a woman on my lap and she's drinking champagne [contradicts prior line]"
I don't believe this line contradicts the previous line... to me 'no one in front' doesn't suggest space but time. There is nothing behind him (suggesting perhaps a lack of achievements or of self worth) and no one in his future... His worried mind brings on anxieties of losing loved ones, driving new love away, having wasted his time running around pursuing love and of not achieving what he could have if he were not so preoccupied.

"I'm looking up into the sapphire tinted skies ["up" is unnecessary--no one looks down into the sky]"
You can however, look straight off to the horizon. Looking 'up' and looking 'out' to me invoke to very different emotions. The former is of asking for help (salvation) and the later of taking matters into your own hands (determination). Though that's most likely just me. Asking for salvation in this case, while waiting for the last train is simbolic of praying for one last chance. A chance to bust out of this cage... A now or never kind of deal.

"Standing on the gallows with my head in a noose [literal or figurative? I guess the woman in his lap fell off when he stood]"
Again, he is worried that he could be about to lose everything and is in dire need of a helping hand, a sign from god, a push into the unknown or a hand pulling him back. Here we see a man conflicted... to stay or to leave, that is the question?

"People are crazy and times are strange [I guess so, but the only people so far are the champagne drinker and the speaker]"
So? Why do they have to be implicated in the song? People ARE crazy and times ARE strange :wink:

"I'm locked in tight, I'm out of range [locked in where? out of range of what?]"
He is defensive, withdrawn, keeping himself just out reach from all these strange people that he can no longer relate to. Locked away in his fortress of solitude he is safe.. he knows it's when you try to help/befriend/love people that you open yourself to them and risk being hurt. Like he says: "I hurt easy, I just don't show it / You can hurt someone and not even know it".

"I used to care, but things have changed [a shrug]"
Yeah, sure thing guy... lets continue and I'll be back to this later.

"This place ain't doing me any good [gallows seldom do]
I'm in the wrong town, I should be in Hollywood [reminds me of Clean Cut Kid here, a song I like]"
To me these lines relate to him again being unable to identify with those around him anymore, but also of feeling largely superior to them. Perhaps he hides a bitterness that he is not the big star he deep down longs to be. On the one hand he feels nothing for those around him and yet on the other he craves their attention and admiration. Maybe in Hollywood the empty yes-men all wrapped up in their ribbons and bows would give him that which he craves? However, is that truly what he desires? Like a wise man was once said, "it's either fortune or fame, you must pick on or the other although neither of them are to be what they claim".

"Just for a second there I thought I saw something move [heightened anxiety, but expressed in banal diction]"
In my eye's this line has nothing to do with anxiety but instead is him making light of just how barren and unappealing the place he inhabits is. 'did someone just say something? No? I guess not'. In this town you die the man you were born and if you do anything in between, well lets just say you were lucky.

"Gonna take dancing lessons do the jitterbug rag [and this relates to the man on the gallows in a way]
Ain't no shortcuts, gonna dress in drag [non-sequitor, shortcuts relates to last train and impending doom, dress in drag relates to woman in his lap who could be understood as his anima]
Only a fool in here would think he's got anything to prove ["in here" seems to mean the song itself, and the line rejects coherence or excellence or living up to any expectation]"
Here he expresses his desire to be cutting lose and getting free. Of doing all the crazy, outlandish things that would be fine in Hollywood but not here, not in this town. Only a fool would think he had anything to prove in this quagmire. It's one big splurge, an expression of repression, an ode to freedom written in a most childish and unashamed manner "When I get out of here I'll stay up as late as I want, I'll eat ice cream for supper!".

"People are crazy and times are strange
I'm locked in tight, I'm out of range
I used to care, but things have changed [how much more impact do these lines have upon repetition? does anyone require a reminder the speaker doesn't care?]"
Well apart from it being the chorus you mean? :lol:
Aside from that I believe that no, we do not need to be reminded... The man himself? Well that might just be another matter entirely. Like I say, it's now or never bub, just keep chanting that mantra and you'll be fine.


"I've been trying to get as far away from myself as I can [inevitable failure, rejection of self]"
I don't see this as an expression of inevitable failure, I see it as taking the bull by the balls (thats the expression right?)! To distance ones self from the man you are/were would surely make the transition to a new life much easier.

"Feel like falling in love with the first woman I meet [I guess the champagne drinker just won't do]"
No, she most certainly will not!

"Putting her in a wheel barrow and wheeling her down the street [very funny]"
In his mind he is already free, he is drawing up maps, he is packing his bags, he is gone! He is romanticizing his upcoming departure and all is as new and fresh as springtime. He desires the excitement and the passion of new love in a new town! What better way to begin a whole new life?

"All the truth in the world adds up to one big lie [grandiose pessimism is not convincing, but the line strongly characterizes speaker]"
However... Could it be that our hero is all talk and no trousers? Here we see him suddenly shifts gears. The truth is he wants to leave, he needs to, this place ain't doing him any good. It's making him sick it's making him mean! The big fat lie? Well, could it be perhaps... That tonight, he ain't going nowhere!

"I'm in love with a woman who don't even appeal to me [I guess the wheelbarrow thing didn't work out so well]"
All this talk of making a clean getaway to the bright lights of Hollywood is really nothing more than broken numbers adding up to zeros! The real truth... The only truth that matters in this whole crazy mess... is that he is bound to this place through the love a woman. A woman who is nothing like the young, plastic, bleached blonde bimbos of Hollywood.

"Mr. Jinx and Miss Lucy, they jumped in the lake [random line unnconnected to anything save for the name Jinx reflecting more pessimism,action in context seems to be suicidal but could also just be a couple on vacation, no way of knowing]"
Jumping into the the lake in my eyes, refers to making a very quick and very foolhardy decision such as rushing into a marriage maybe?

"I'm not that eager to make a mistake [seems to indicate jumping in the lake was a mistake the speaker won't make, but the indefinite article leaves this uncertain]"
He is after all a worried man with a worried mind who believes that he is destined to push all who love him away... And let up not forget a certain little trip he he's been planning for quite some time now :P

My, oh my what is a guy to do?

Well people are crazy and times are strange (himself included)
He's locked in tight, he's out of range (yeah, he wishes!)
"I used to care... But... Ahh God damn it!"



As retorts go, i'd say that's excellent.

Trully a song that "doesnt pussyfoot around".


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PostPosted: Fri September 11th, 2009, 12:40 GMT 
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My reading is in no way "perverse" just exact. However, other readings are plausible and necessary. I like the song more now than I did two weeks ago, without even listening to it, so supposing I had only negative intentions is wrong and ignores my thanks to all for helping my appreciation.

Conal's take on the song is interesting. I don't agree with all of it, but that's not important.


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