Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Tangled Up In You
The first time I remember hearing any Bob Dylan music was when my stepdad loaned me BLONDE ON BLONDE when I was a junior in high school. I was blown away. But soon after, I put it back down and got back to listening to more of what I was already listening to then: punk rock. But now I'm back. I've been completely absorbed in the music and mystique of Bob Dylan for what seems like about two years now, nonstop. I can't quite put my finger on the obsession. I know I love his songwriting. His words are pretty difficult to interpret (if at all) but he paints great pictures throughout. And I know I love his sound. Or his sounds, really, cause he's done so much, so different. So that's a big part. I chew through one album at a time (there's so much) and there's so many different approaches, so many different sounds that it hasn't gotten old. Then there's the whole thing how he doesn't let any of us in. Which I can understand. So nobody knows for sure what he's really thinking. Yet, I don't want to know cause it'd just ruin it for me. I have a policy about not meeting my heroes (and I use the term "hero" loosely--I'm not convinced he's a great guy or nice or anything like that. But I'm fascinated by his creativity and approach and he's a hero cause he's so amazing, to me, at what he does). The second I get too close to a hero, I'm instantly let down and I have to cut out. So I like to keep the heroes at arm's length. I love music and I go through it in phases. I usually listen to something for a couple of months, get tired of it, and find something else. But I haven't gotten tired of Dylan yet. Cause when I get tired of one album, I dig up another I haven't heard and I'm usually not disappointed (sometimes am) and have a whole new sound to enjoy.
Monday I went and saw the new Todd Haynes movie, I'M NOT THERE with my mom-in-law Janice (always good company). It was good. I wasn't in love with it, cause it definitely got a bit too pretentious at times for my tastes, but it really exceeded my expectations. I got chills when "Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again" played over the opening credits. And several scenes were pretty bone-chilling too. When the little kid version of Dylan is playing "Tombstone Blues" with these two old guys on a down south porch. The kids reaction when a southern woman tells him to "live his own time" and the look on the kid's face (when he was living in his Woody Guthrie inspired, folky, dust bow-ly, depression era of music that didn't live in the times of racial tension and politics of the day). And I was pleasantly surprised at how believable the Cate Blanchett version was. I thought it'd be too distracting/gimmicky but it wasn't. I liked the Blanchett version's reaction to the onslaught of questioning of those times. That time in his musical history is really fascinating to me. The first big shift for him-that "going electric" time. He wanted to do what he liked and took such abuse for it and yet he soldiered on. That had to be tough, especially at his level of popularity/unpopularity. So I liked to see Blanchett's exhausted "I'm just not what you want me to be" answering which played, far as I can tell, pretty true to life. I have to say, I really liked Haynes casting of different actors to play the different Dylans. It was a great idea. The Richard Gere sequences got me kinda lost, but otherwise it worked really well. So, I guess, it's the shape-shifting of Dylan that is also alluring. Because, it humanizes him. Nobody wants to do the same thing their entire life, do they? I don't anyway.
Which makes me wonder, then. How much longer will I be into Dylan?