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Bob Dylan - Highway 61 Revisted

Photo of Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited

As this year has passed, I have revisited my feelings towards Bob Dylan, and I’m starting to like him, for important reasons. But “Like a Rolling Stone” is NOT the greatest song ever, good lord.

Photo of Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan

One year ago, I knew desolation: virtually all of my days were spent in silence, isolation, and poverty. I lived on the generosity of my father, which had dwindled to $140 a week, in one of the most expensive cities in America. I could no longer focus on art, writing, or anything other than survival, which was a challenge. I was a rolling stone, no moss and no home. The only emotional refuge I had was a very special girl, and my affection for a lady I call Beatrice, which somehow weathers all storms, and music, which became my sole constant, and companion.

That time in pure solitude, as a non-entity, just surviving, gave me reason to re-assess Highway 61 Revisited, as well as make some terrible puns about it…sorry about that.

When I first heard this album, and for a long time after that, I hated it: the sounds bored me, that voice, and I wasn’t listening for lyrics. People’s absurd adoration of Dylan did nothing to help matters. So for a long time I resisted this album’s pull. But then, I lived the above and came to understand what loneliness meant for me and the sense of darkness and mortality that exists on this album. Understanding that darkness, which lies in all the songs on this album, made it a more honest experience. Hearing Dylan’s disaffected cynicism writ large in his screams of anger against organs and electric guitars, and poorly played harmonica suddenly came to have something valuable for me. I can finally enjoy this record.

Its greatness is the same reason most Dylan records are highly regarded: it’s marriage of the heaven of poetry, with the devil’s music...

Its greatness is the same reason most Dylan records are highly regarded: it’s marriage of the heaven of poetry, with the devil’s music: high and low meeting and having dirty sex in a motel room off the highway—the same reason Dante’s Divine Comedy is eternal.

I still don’t think it’s that great, though. Other folk resonates more profoundly; other rock grabs me more viscerally; other marriages of heaven and hell do more for me. But having an opinion is having a feeling on something’s value to you. And as life changes, so necessarily do opinions.

And A lot of things have changed in a year: I’m employed doubly; I don’t live alone; I can embrace my art, and I don’t quite hate myself anymore. That girl I held dear found her exit and left me to ride alone in darkness. It’s an uphill battle but a rewarding one; one that allows for revisiting darkness and light.

Some things do not change, however: Music, Beatrice, and the Pen exist for me as constants.

and that’s how I like it.

Until I’m off Desolation Row

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2 comments

  1. Bid 9 July, 2016 at 01:13 Reply

    Beautiful piece, Eric.
    And a reminder that life, art, the whole ball of wax, is – just like the cliche says – a journey.
    Glad your own odyssey is gentler.

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