Monday, October 17, 2022

Tangled Up in Bob


Not really a Bob Dylan fan but his 1975 album “Blood on the Tracks” is very very good, his best according to a lot of people, such as me for example.

And the best song on his best album is “Tangled Up in Blue”.

Tangled Up in Blue

The music, the band, the arrangement, etc. are all quite good and draw you in as a listener.

But the lyrics … the lyrics are at or near the pinnacle of the art form. 

You could use this song to teach a class on how to create imagery that sticks in our heads, how to evoke emotion and longing and regret for past loves and mistakes made, how to tell a story with a long arc including past, present, and future, how to put words together in very interesting ways (including references to Rimbaud and “Italian poets from the 15th century”) without becoming a tedious bore, and much more.

Truth be told, I’m not much of a “lyrics guy” and have long regretted his influence on artists who clearly tried to emulate him but did not have his talent for lyrics — a dangerous combo — mainly because it resulted in pretentious, precious, often unlistenable music, but that’s a topic for another day. 

So you can believe me when I tell you that this tune is the bee’s knees. At the top. 

Lyrically we can group it with many other classic songs from all musical genres, as the best of the best — it’s just not possible to write a better song. Many just as good, none better.

This breakdown video from the excellent “Polyphonic” channel explains it in more detail (and probably better than I ever could).

Tangled Up in Blue:  Deciphering a Bob Dylan Masterpiece