Bob Dylan’s “Shooting Star” and the “Sermon on the Mount”

Oh Mercy

The closing song of Dylan’s “Oh Mercy” album, “Shooting Star”, was musically and lyrically more like the early Dylan than the rest of the album. As with most Dylan, it is more evocative than explicit. I would like to explore just a few of these evocations and the sole explicit reference that seems to thereby be accentuated.

I think that Dylan is saying that we are all in some sense “shooting stars.” We are both glorious and temporal. I think of one of the final scenes in “Blade Runner” when the human creator tells a “replicant” he created that he was a “Shooting Star” Continue reading

Dylan’s question to the counterculturists: “What Was It You Wanted?”

Oh Mercy

Perhaps the song from 1989’s “Oh Mercy” called “What Was It You Wanted?” voiced a question from Dylan to those in the sixties who essentially wanted him to be their prophet. Writing of this time Dylan said Continue reading

Bob Dylan’s “Political World” – On infidels, the politics of force, and General Clausewitz

220px-Carl_von_Clausewitz

General Carl von Clausewitz 1780-1831

Bob Dylan, in the songs “Political World”  and “Sweetheart Like You,” and in an excerpt from “Chronicles Volume 1,” presents a fairly negative view of our political world. But I find his negative assessment to be difficult to argue with. Continue reading

“Man in the Long Black Coat” by Bob Dylan – A lesson in songwriting and “interpretation”

Oh Mercy

“A song is like a dream, and you try to make it come true. They’re like strange countries that you have to enter.” (Bob Dylan, Chronicles Volume 1, 165.)

In this post I do not offer an interpretation. Instead I merely present the song and a few comments from Mr. Dylan himself regarding how one particular dream “came true.” I also am writing this as a confession that the “interpretations” I offer on this blog must remain tentative, being subservient to  the realities of artistic expression, in which there is a real sense in which artists themselves may not fully “know” their subject, let alone the “interpretation.” Continue reading