In honor of Minnesota’s own Bob Dylan receiving a Nobel Prize for literature, I thought I’d share some of Dylan’s songs that have most affected me. I saw Dylan once in concert at the Xcel Energy Center. Unfortunately, I wasn’t that impressed. It was cool to see him, but he was just hard to understand in concert. I get that he’s been around for a while and he can do whatever he wants. I’ll give him a pass. It probably would have been awesome to see him at the Newport Folk Festival or in Greenwich Village back in the 60’s. Regardless, here are some of the songs that I keep playing on repeat.
Like a Rolling Stone- This is probably his most well-known song. This is also my cathartic end-of-relationship song. I love belting the chorus, “How does it feel? How does it feel? To be on your own, with no direction home, like a complete unknown, like a rolling stone.” The song always reminded me of that awful, frightening, and wonderful sense of freedom. Being single kind of sucks, a lot, but Dylan reminds me that events like that can lead to a better sense of where you are, or at least an appreciation of things you might not otherwise enjoy or experience. I played it the other day after a thing didn’t work out with a girl. It brought me back to after the first time I broke up with my first girlfriend and I blasted it in my dorm room. It’s forever in my head as that song that hails the ending. It’s a good ending scene sort of song.
Tangled up in Blue- This is Dylan songwriting at its best. He captures that wistful feeling of a relationship that could have been. I’ll admit that this is the song I usually listen to when I’m not in an angsty slobber over a relationship. This is one when I’m a little sad, a little hopeful, and longing for something that could have been. The line “Wonderin if she’d change it all if her was still red.” I think stuff like that all the time. What if I did this or that? We all have those thoughts. After more than one relationship I’ve pictured myself as the protagonist of this song: a lovesick wanderer taking on random jobs as he tries to get back to the woman he loves. I’m glad I’m not actually that guy. Although it is nice for hopeless romantic Nick to have a song that accurately describes him. Look for me singing along as I play this in my car when I’m on a long drive.
My Back Pages- The line “I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now” is one of my favorite lines in all of music. I still don’t quite understand what it means. (I think I wrote another blog post about it a while back.) I think it means that things are really more simple than we think they are. We think we’re so wise and that we know what we need to know. Sometimes it’s just better not to think about it and let the chips fall as they may.