Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Songs of the 1990s #7. 

Not Dark Yet by Bob Dylan from Time Out of Mind.

The 1997 album had the critics raving and the cynics saying that Dylan sounded worse than ever before.

All right, he sounds like a croaking frog, but man, the production is something else. Daniel Lanois does amazing things. There are wurlitzers, hammonds, guitars of various kinds, you name it.

Lanois wrenches notes like hard cold crystals out of a frozen sky and scatters them about like glittering diamonds.

Oh yeah, Bob Dylan. I was forgetting who this was about.

The album has been described as the most depressing ever. I don't agree. Truly depressing albums are devoid of talent and just drone on until you voluntarily overdose or fall asleep, whichever comes first.

Nevertheless, the lyrics are sad. But they contain that kind of pathos that instils compassion, not self-absorption. That's what I think, anyway. Others disagree - one reviewer at Amazon said: 'Just make sure you don't buy it if you want to kill yourself because you probably will after hearing this album.'!

Not Dark Yet is a triumph by a unique balladeer with an ordinary voice who happens to have been regarded as been a superhero rock star for over forty years. If there's a disconnect in this, the problem is with the modern world and how it creates gods out of men, not with Bob Dylan.

He's just a troubador cranking out songs and minding his own business.

Most of the songs in my top ten send a shiver down my spine when I hear them.

I only have to read the lyrics of Not Dark Yet for the same effect. Here's the whole song:

Shadows are falling and I've been here all day
It's too hot to sleep time is running away
Feel like my soul has turned into steel
I've still got the scars that the sun didn't heal
There's not even room enough to be anywhere
It's not dark yet, but it's getting there

Well my sense of humanity has gone down the drain
Behind every beautiful thing there's been some kind of pain
She wrote me a letter and she wrote it so kind
She put down in writing what was in her mind
I just don't see why I should even care
It's not dark yet, but it's getting there

Well, I've been to London and I've been to gay Paree
I've followed the river and I got to the sea
I've been down on the bottom of a world full of lies
I ain't looking for nothing in anyone's eyes
Sometimes my burden seems more than I can bear
It's not dark yet, but it's getting there

I was born here and I'll die here against my will
I know it looks like I'm moving, but I'm standing still
Every nerve in my body is so vacant and numb
I can't even remember what it was I came here to get away from
Don't even hear a murmur of a prayer
It's not dark yet, but it's getting there.

is it time for a nap yet? i think so

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