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PostPosted: Sat March 2nd, 2013, 04:25 GMT 

Joined: Wed April 11th, 2007, 04:15 GMT
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Location: City of Angels
We live in a political world
Love don’t have any place
We’re living in times where men commit crimes
And crime don’t have a face

We live in a political world
Icicles hanging down
Wedding bells ring and angels sing
Clouds cover up the ground

We live in a political world
Wisdom is thrown into jail
It rots in a cell, is misguided as hell
Leaving no one to pick up a trail

We live in a political world
Where mercy walks the plank
Life is in mirrors, death disappears
Up the steps into the nearest bank

We live in a political world
Where courage is a thing of the past
Houses are haunted, children are unwanted
The next day could be your last

We live in a political world
The one we can see and can feel
But there’s no one to check, it’s all a stacked deck
We all know for sure that it’s real

We live in a political world
In the cities of lonesome fear
Little by little you turn in the middle
But you’re never sure why you’re here

We live in a political world
Under the microscope
You can travel anywhere and hang yourself there
You always got more than enough rope

We live in a political world
Turning and a-thrashing about
As soon as you’re awake, you’re trained to take
What looks like the easy way out

We live in a political world
Where peace is not welcome at all
It’s turned away from the door to wander some more
Or put up against the wall

We live in a political world
Everything is hers or his
Climb into the frame and shout God’s name
But you’re never sure what it is

'Just because it's called 'Political World' doesn't necessarily mean it's a political song. You can extract any line from any song you know, and make it into what you want it to be. You could do that with 'White Christmas'....you could make a political statement out of that if you cared to.'
BD

The musical opening of 'Political World' is a triumph on its own. A remarkable opening to the album. A gentle fade in as each instrument comes in of its own accord – rhythm guitar, lead guitar, bass, Dylan’s voice, drums. By the time of the end of the first “verse” the power is extraordinarily strong.
It may be thought of as an invention, a device, and yet it is hard to see how else such a song could start. A song which is nothing but a series of two line “verses” (I put the phrase in inverted commas- can two lines really be a verse?
And then there is the music. One chord, and that’s all. Every verse starting with the same line, “We live in a political world”. For once, without the driving energy of the accompaniment it is hard to see how the song could work.
And for goodness sake – the verse is in essence just three notes – although to be fair later Dylan does through in a few variations.
It is hard to imagine other songs built so successfully out of such a limited set of materials.
But the extraordinary thing is that for once it is not the lyrics that stay with the listener first, second or third time it is sung. That is not to say the lyrics are not good, but rather that the energy and drive of the song is so great that it is enough. The words come next.

But I've always found all the alternate verses fascinating and strange & could have easily fit on Under The Red Sky in that surreal fashion....

ALTERNATE VERSES (OUTTAKE)

We live in a Political World
Truth is the Outlaw of Life
It's Hunted & Slain
Left With no one to Reign
Put under the Doctor's Knife

We live in a Political World
Where the World is a Broken Down Lie
It's full of Dreams
Nothing is what it Seems
Nothing more than Hello & Goodbye

We live in a Political World
Conscience don't have a Clue
You Climb into Bed
Talk out of your Head
You're Not even sure that it's You

We live in a Political World
Everything's a Little Bit Strange
Prayers to Pray
Orders to Obey
Everything is Subject to Change

We live in a Political World
Senseless Men set to Pace
You can cross yourself In
With a Smile & A Grin
But you Better Test the Art of the Race

It's a longer version & it somehow becomes far more surreal than it's official incarnation

Listen here:
OH MERCY OUTTAKE (1989)
http://www.sendspace.com/file/hphd66

Live the song was a rave-up and it was kinda awesome now & then.
Here's a good example:

February 4 1990
London England
http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=460650595539

And here's the video (My first and still favorite)
http://youtu.be/GXGmS2-llIE

What does ER think of 'Political World' here on Sequester Day???


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PostPosted: Sat March 2nd, 2013, 05:04 GMT 
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Bob's best album opener after TUIB. And it is just BEGGING for a return to concert. Sequester a spot for it, Bob.


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PostPosted: Sat March 2nd, 2013, 07:18 GMT 
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i know some people think the song lacks, lyrically especially, but i've always had a bit of a soft spot for it. been listening to it a lot lately, actually.


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PostPosted: Sat March 2nd, 2013, 11:17 GMT 
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An '80s commentary on Reagan and the effects of his policies... maybe on the world and politics in general... Its a good album opener and the intensity grows as the song continues. A return of Political World to the setlist would be welcomed with open arms.


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PostPosted: Sat March 2nd, 2013, 13:34 GMT 
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Really works great as an opener on the album,it has such a relentness rhythm to it. And I love this verse:
We live in a political world
Under the microscope
You can travel anywhere and hang yourself there
You always got more than enough rope


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PostPosted: Sat March 2nd, 2013, 16:01 GMT 

Joined: Wed August 29th, 2012, 17:28 GMT
Posts: 125
It is a great song but I don't think it has anything to do with Politics as such. Dylan has always seen Politics as the snake that eats it's own tale, a virulent miasma enveloping the world. I suspect that it was a battle royal between him and Lanoir over the sound, but I like that creeping barrage of thunder punctuated by Sir Duke's Vickers machine gun strafing after every verse. The content? Dave Van Ronk said that Dylan was probably more politically sophisticated than all the ism merchants who proliferated in Greenwich Village at the time! But then a seer does not really have a political allegiance anyway! As Colonel Bob once said: God came and kickef him in the ass!


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PostPosted: Thu January 23rd, 2014, 05:19 GMT 

Joined: Fri November 29th, 2013, 05:13 GMT
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If the rest of the album had followed more in the grooving upbeat vein of Political World and Everything Is Broken then it would be a brilliant album indeed. With the exception of MITLBC which is brilliant.

I love the band in this song, the sheer energy.


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PostPosted: Sat March 24th, 2018, 23:19 GMT 
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This one was only played a few handfuls of times, the last one being
Toads Place, which I ignorantly missed.

Anyone attend a show then with ‘Political World’ played?

Any recommendations as to the “definitive” live version?


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PostPosted: Sun March 25th, 2018, 00:11 GMT 

Joined: Tue April 9th, 2013, 18:22 GMT
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Location: stayed there a day too long
It stuck around a bit longer than Toad's Place. Was still popping up throughout the '90 tours and into February 1991. My favorite is Edmonton, 1990-8-13 -- sloppy as all get-out, but with a great wild energy throughout and am a capella intro/first verse.


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PostPosted: Sun March 25th, 2018, 13:09 GMT 
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Great lyrics, I don't think many of his songs have more "quotable" lines in it than this one. Great music. And the production of this song fits its content perfectly.
A great opener to the album and one of the highlights on it.

Any thoughts about the promo video? Directed by John Mellencamp, who also has a cameo appearance there.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jg29g6D0sPs
For me, it is one of Bob's better promo videos. I guess it shows how he might have seen himself around this period in his life: some sort of court jester, singing to a decadent world, ignorant to what he has to say.


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PostPosted: Sun March 25th, 2018, 19:59 GMT 
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Banal. Compare to Cohen's 'The Future' and weep.


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PostPosted: Sun March 25th, 2018, 20:51 GMT 
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McG wrote:
Banal. Compare to Cohen's 'The Future' and weep.

Is it a contest?


Last edited by Still Go Barefoot on Sun March 25th, 2018, 20:52 GMT, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun March 25th, 2018, 20:52 GMT 
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Still Go Barefoot wrote:
McG wrote:
Banal. Compare to Cohen's 'The Future' and weep.

I didn’t know it was a contest.


Time.


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PostPosted: Sun March 25th, 2018, 20:54 GMT 
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Still Go Barefoot wrote:
McG wrote:
Banal. Compare to Cohen's 'The Future' and weep.

I didn’t know it was a contest.


McG wrote:
Time.

...is a jet plane.


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PostPosted: Sun March 25th, 2018, 23:07 GMT 
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WrittenInMySoul wrote:
Any thoughts about the promo video? Directed by John Mellencamp, who also has a cameo appearance there.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jg29g6D0sPs
For me, it is one of Bob's better promo videos. I guess it shows how he might have seen himself around this period in his life: some sort of court jester, singing to a decadent world, ignorant to what he has to say.

Definitely one of his better vids.
Not being a video-phile, or ever owning a TV,
this was the first time seeing it.
Thanks. I think your characterization of “singing to a
decadent world, ignorant to what he has to say” is
right on the money.


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PostPosted: Mon March 26th, 2018, 03:13 GMT 

Joined: Wed May 31st, 2017, 00:56 GMT
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McG wrote:
Banal. Compare to Cohen's 'The Future' and weep.


There’s not too many songs that can measure up to The Future.


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PostPosted: Mon March 26th, 2018, 03:33 GMT 
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Wow, I haven't seen that video since I saw it in a two-flat nearly 30 years ago. It's better than I remember it being.

A great opener for Oh, Mercy on musical grounds alone, and while the lyric is a little undeveloped, it's still good enough to keep things moving. The line "little by little you turn in the middle" has stuck with me since I first heard it. In more ways than one. There are a few good live versions from the year or two after the album's release and then it disappeared. A pity it wasn't played more down through the years; like Most of the Time it was popular and would be warmly welcomed if played in concert.


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