Don’t get mad.
Hear me out, because once in a while I have an inclination to write something that might be considered controversial, something that might make people angry or insulted. I don’t do it to stir up trouble. It’s just that this it the internet; a magical place where everyone has an opinion, a street corner, a soap box and a megaphone. So, there’s that but no matter how I try I just cannot contain myself anymore where Bob Dylan is concerned. That was misleading. I don’t actually hate Bob Dylan. I have no reason to hate Bob Dylan. I’m sure he’s a really nice guy. Historically, I just have not cared much for his music.
I have this friend I like an awful lot who
hates does not care for Rufus Wainwright and she’s quick to rib me teasingly whenever I express my profound love appreciation of him. I can see her point about Mr Wainwright, though I guess it just doesn’t bother me that much. I’m willing to overlook her perception of his lack of musical prowess because, well, I don’t know why exactly. Maybe it was the moment I heard Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk. Maybe I heard it at the right moment, in my car after a hard day or in a restaurant while lunching with a good friend. Maybe it was the chord progressions. Maybe it was the piano work. Maybe it was all of these things working together for the good.
It stands to reason that all of these things might contribute to why I have always taken my friend’s view where Bob Dylan is concerned. I’m a child of the 70’s, living my teen years deep into the 80’s, fueled by a different flavor of rock and roll and rebellion. People have told me that Bob Dylan is the father of the music that fueled me growing up. They have impressed upon me the need to respect the roots, to learn an appreciation of the rock and roll family tree. But I turned that thought away, instead digging in with my distaste, voicing my disbelief that anyone would like Bob Dylan, rolling my eyes like any good overgrown teenager might.
And then last week something interesting happened…or perhaps, it didn’t. Perhaps it was nothing outward that happened but something shifted, almost imperceptible and yet it stuck to me.
Dave and I were sitting on the deck that evening. His iTunes playlist jumped from track to track, randomly moving from Van Morrison to Tedeschi Trucks to some obscure polka/yodeling song (true story) when Bob Dylan surfaced. For whatever reason- the moment, the mood, the weather, the wine – he got me.
The song was Jokerman, a song and an album that Bob Dylan reportedly did not like all that much. The song itself is catchy, the chord progressions lovely, flowing and wide. It’s probably the first time I could listen to his voice without feeling as though someone was rubbing sandpaper on the back of my arms, so I listened, maybe for the first time. It’s not without irony that the first song I actually dug from Bob Dylan was one he didn’t end up liking. It’s also striking to me that the first song I dug was said to be about Jesus, a false messiah or Ronald Reagan.
Who knows what the song is really about or if it was the scent of Mark Knopfler’s production that eased me in or if it was the weather or the wine or time passing. But I’m in. Now I’m in. I don’t hate you afterall, Bob Dylan. I guess never really did.