Bob Dylan: A Man I Will Never Truly Understand… And That’s Almost The Way I Like It!

Bob Dylan is a man who influenced more men than anyone cares to index. His contributions to modern music is incalculable. I feel he gets a bad rap most of the time. Most of my own generation fail to give him the respect he deserves, due to the style of music he plays and his unique style of vocal performance. However, with that being said, it is crucial to understand and respect the way this man has with words. The commentary he has made on the human condition is still unparalleled by any musician to date.

My favorite lyric of Bob’s is from a song called “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” (1964).

“Even the president of the united states must have to sometimes stand naked”

Now, statements like this, unfortunately, garner chuckles and laughter in contemporary classrooms and amongst naive and immature crowds. But, this lyric makes a powerful statement about the human condition in relation to 21st century society. In a society that places these political figures, movie stars, and musicians on pedestals, Dylan is removing these pedestals with a blunt statement similar to the weaker euphemism that “every man puts on his pants one leg at a time.” Nakedness is a universal human condition. All must be naked at times. This idea of nakedness is used to not only to bring the president down to a common level of human existence like all of us, but also to remind listeners that the president is vulnerable at times to the necessities of life.

This is but one line in one song of Bob Dylan’s vast library of songs. But, I hope this little quick analysis of one lyric allows some of you who have judged the man merely on the unappealing aesthetic of his voice and musical style by present industry standards. Commendation goes to those who show the respect to the modern poet of our age that he deserves and condemnation for those who cast him to the gutter for the inferior musical stylings of Kanye or the Black Eyed Peas. To each his own, but respect must be given where respect has been earned.

But, I guess it is difficult to compete with current mindless garblings of lyrics like “my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard.” It seems that today, intellectualism or anything that challenges the mind of the listener will be cast aside for the obtuse lyrical mooning of the present music scene.

One Response to “Bob Dylan: A Man I Will Never Truly Understand… And That’s Almost The Way I Like It!”
  1. TRQ2 says:

    Well put. I think he’s like it if no one ever fully understood him or his music.
    In addition to the content of his lyrics, BD played a pivital role in bridging folk music into rock music. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival he was booed by the crowd because he had the courage to let his band play electrified instruments which was taboo in the previously all-acoustic world of folk music.
    I love the line you quoted, but I think my favorite (from the same song “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding) is “Keep it in your mind and do not forgit (sic) that it is not he or she or them or it that you belong to.” Ha! Bob – You got it right.

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