Monday, May 4, 2020

Bob Dylan

15 comments:

  1. Kyra

    The term “folk” and “folk music” was first only associated with rural communities who carried on the tradition of anonymously created music. However, this genre of music soon gained the younger generation’s support as they helped popularize this type of music. Bob Dylan soon made a name for himself and his wide range of talent. He had a great impact because he could both write songs as well as perform them. One of the songs mentioned in the article and that I listened to was “Blowin’ in The Wind”. This song had a soothing tune and it was very calming to listen to. I also watched him perform this song on Live TV on March 1963. He was accompanied by his guitar and a harmonica. Dylan’s lyrics and music express both young people’s thoughts and feelings. In the article, his songs were described as “powerful in poetry” and “powerful in music”. Dylan’s physical appearance almost looked like Huck Finn, the character form the book, “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” because he was always dressed informally and people even said he acted like him too. He was full of prodigious energy and was always looking for any new adventure or excitement. Dylan was the type of person to always go with the flow as he lived his life in the moment. Ultimately, Bob Dylan made a huge impact on his society as his songs were made for people to relate to as music shifted to carrying powerful and social messages.

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  2. Bob Dylan fell into the category of folk music, and he was extremely influential. He was a part of the nationwide rebellion that was taking place in the 1960s; he was against 1950s theme of conformity, and he expressed such things through his music. The first song of his that I listed to was “Masters of War”. This song is an anti-war song, and Dylan criticizes the people who “hide behind desks” (probably referring to politicians) and encourage war. By using the phrase “hide behind desks”, he is calling politicians cowardly, and he says that even though these politicians put up an image for themselves, he can see right through them to their real intentions. Later on in the song, Dylan says, “Is your money that good”, which is criticizing their greed, and by the end of the song, he is singing about how he wants these corrupted politicians dead.
    I also listened to “Only a Pawn in Their Game”, and this song has to do with the Civil Rights Movement. The song talks about how the white youth are trained to hate the African Americans (they’re taught that segregation is good, and that whites are superior), and, thus, they are “pawns” in the government’s game.

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  3. Mairi

    The first thing I found interesting with this article was that it was written at a time when Bob Dylan was still alive and recounted an in person experience. One of the songs I chose to listen to was “My Back Pages”, a folks tune that discussed Dylan’s music and how it reflects his personal feelings. Throughout the article there is conversation about “finger pointing songs” and how that is how a lot of people mistake Dylan. Those songs were what he put out in the past but when this interview was happening, he was much more focused on writing about his life and his personal stories. I thought saying that he was older then and younger now was a catchy way to talk about, not really regrets, but a past that would not be repeated and it carried a lot of meaning to it. The second song I listened to was “Motorpsycho Nitemare” which I chose mostly because of the article. Not only is the title of the song, and its spelling, intriguing, but I was interested in why it was so hard for Dylan to record. From changing the lights to almost moving on to another song, this tune was another example of Dylan’s unique folk style, telling a long and mouthful of a story about a farming family and a love affair.

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  4. Bob Dylan had a large influence on folk music. His influence was greater than Joan Baez because he did everything. From writing his own music to performing, he did it. Bob Dylan expressed what many young people wanted to say through his music. His music is “powerful as poetry and powerful as music.” He did what he wanted, as he wished. Hardly having any set recording sessions, he was influential enough to go in when he felt like it to make a new album or produce a new song. The song I listened to from him was “Masters of War.” The song speaks of varying things. However, one thing that stood out to me about the song is that he makes many references to Judas and Jesus. Because of this, it is easier to see that the message of the song is about betrayal and forgiveness. Bob Dylan is making sure that the person who betrayed him will never see light again.

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  5. I enjoyed reading this article about Bob Dylan, especially because it was written during what was essentially the peak of his popularity. It was just a year before he “plugged in,” so to speak, and so his audience was much broader and much more folk-focused. What I found most impactful was Dylan’s apparent commitment to authenticity, developed after singing a lot of “finger-pointing songs” and classic folk tunes. This commitment was glaringly clear in the spontaneous way he worked, wanting to let music and lyrics come as naturally as walking rather than manufacturing them to fit a larger cause. Representative of both this quest for authenticity and Dylan’s revolutionary tendencies, “Chimes of Freedom” is a poetic declaration of--as the title indicates--freedom. Unlike much of the formulaic popular music of the previous decade, the lyrics of “Chimes of Freedom” read much like a beat poem, the single idea of the “chimes” extended throughout all six verses and all seven minutes. It has a clear tempo to it, but the lyrics themselves do not struggle to conform to it. His words are no less powerful in the form of a song than they would be in a speech--on the contrary, one could certainly argue they are much more powerful. It is songs like this that seem to capture the crux of Dylan’s popularity. His authenticity gave him a sense of universal familiarity, such to the point that fans sent him birthday cards and poetry and asked him for advice. Though he said he only truly felt connected to the SNCC, Dylan’s songs were co opted throughout the decade (and beyond) to fit a many number of movements, using both his fame and his talents to bring support to their causes. One song in particular seems to be representative of the 60s as a whole: “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” Wonderfully eloquent, the song captures the restlessness of American youth as well as the generational divide that permeated much of American culture. It is here that Dylan’s lyrical prowess is on full display, the song’s continued rhyme giving it a prophetic, powerful energy. He commands attention not with an aggressive guitar power chord or a sharp harmonica solo, but with the impact of his words alone, and it is these words that have kept him relevant for so many years.

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  6. I really liked article because I learned so much about Bob Dylan and his morals. Although Dylan was an eccentric, lively artist, he was poetic and gentle. He found a way to make his music personal. Many other protest songs during the time couldn’t even begin to compare to the beauty of Dylan’s songs. I always think of Dylan as this folk artist who always talks about social justice and war politics but he wanted to be known for more than that. His intent was never to become a protest singer, he wanted to focus on the tradition of lasting folk music. The first song that I listened to was “Masters of War.” This song is pretty lengthy but it is so complex and has so much significance to the time. Dylan criticizes the “masters of war” who are causing all the bloodshed. He calls them out for lying an deceiving about the world war being won. At the end of the song he even says that he “hopes that you die. And your death'll come soon.” You can tell that he is definitely unhappy with what is going on with the war, yet he still manages to keep the song poetic and composed. The second song that I listened to was “My Back Pages.” I chose this song because I actually know it and really enjoy it. He sings about how he “was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.” He is basically saying that he wants to live a more simplistic life by going back to a time when things were easier and when he was happier. I think that this song was a representation of how Dylan’s wanted to write more about his personal life. This song is not about the war or about “finger pointing,” it was simply a way for Dylan to write about his personal life.

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  7. The article introduces Bob Dylan as this performer/songwriter that was a big influencer on the folk music scene. The first song that I listened to was “The Times They Are A-Changing.” I chose this song because of the familiar title. After listening to it I noticed why the author of the article put the word “protest” in quotes. A song talking about the change of America is something that could be seen as a protest. Challenging the norm is something that was happening on the daily when this song was released in 1964. “The battle outside ragin’” refers to the ongoing crisis between the government and the blacks. The overall message is that because change is inevitable, revisiting it will only make things worse. The second song that I chose to listen to was “My Back Pages.” A line that stood out to me was “Ah, but I was so much older then / I’m younger than that now.” Thought this may not make sense at first, Dylan realizes his ignorance and now as a “child” is much more open minded. Another line reads, “Lies that life is black and white.” Rather than just having two sides, a right and a wrong, this new version of Dylan recognizes the shades in between black and white. In both of these songs, Dylan addresses some controversial topics, but rather than just stirring up the media and people of power, Bob Dylan writes these songs because of his concern for other people

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  8. Chloe

    Similar to other artists we have learned about, Bob Dylan is such a significant folk artist because of his take on this style of music. Dylan strays from the traditional, rural, and community centered folk music, to write his own folk style songs and provide the listener with a song that has a personal connection to him. Bob Dylan expressed his opinions and feelings through his music. I found it interesting that out of all the artists we’ve learned about, Dylan seems to be the most laid back and spontaneous, having only gone to record when he felt like it. I think Dylan’s spontaneity and focus on life rather than only producing song after song, is what made his music so popular, it wasn’t mechanical, it was unique. I was surprised that his public appearance was fierce, but offstage he was more gentle. Dylan really believed that music should come naturally and not be forced, which I found really inspiring. Dylan mentioned how he didn’t feel understood but through his music he could display his emotions clearly. Bob Dylan argues the importance of being yourself and break free from the “chains”that hold you back. I believe that what Dylan’s music brought was a calling to change. Dylan made the music he wanted that told stories and broke free from the chains of social pressure, that forced him to form his music to fit in.

    One song I listened to by Bob Dylan was “Only a Pawn in Their Game.” This song displayed his vocals, with a guitar clearly accompanying him. As mentioned in the article, this song sounds like a story, but addresses discrimination and his view on the corruption of politics. Another song I listen to was “Chimes of Freedom.” Similar to the first song I listen to, this song was acoustic and voiced his opinion. Dylan’s lyrics displayed vivid imagery to add onto his strong emotions. The last song I listened to was “My Back Pages.” I think that the article was accurate, in the sense that he seems to be wanting to get away from “finger-pointing.” I also took this song as a call for equality, and learning as you grow up.

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  9. This article talks about folk music and how it evolved from being s “communal” style to a “personal” style where people were copyrighting the, and labeling the, as a product of specific creators. The first song I decided to listen to was “Blowing in the Wind” by Bob Dylan. The song’s tone and beat stays consistent throughout, with it being a little slower than normal. The lyrics have a lot of questions like “how many roads must a man walk down before you call him a man?” And “how many years can some people exist before they’re allowed free?” These questions are very controversial and seem rather rhetorical and sarcastic. Because of the events that were happening back then (Vietnam War, Civil Rights Movement, and more) Bob Dylan made this song a lot more controversial and it raised awareness. The next song I decided to listen to was “Masters of War.” Like the title, the song has a lot to do with War. I think that Bob Dylan liked peace like any other person in the 1960s, so I believe the song is anti war and also maybe somewhat racist due to the repetition of the N word many times.

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  10. Jonah

    As we are transitioning into the folk music section this was the first article I had read about folk music. It was very interesting to read about Bob Dylan especially his traits. Folk music is defined as a free flowing genre that alters from generation to generation, and I can definitely see how that applies to Dylan. He is a free flowing man, he focuses more on comfortability in the studio more than anything else, so he can just do him. I also found his political views quite interesting. He was a liberal open to new things which if you think about it matches his music. So free, and not strained, he sang what he wanted to. The most interesting part of this article has to be when he talks about pleasing our parents. I have heard all the time, “you represent you and your family”, which I believe. But Dylan could not hold that weight he didn’t want to be what his parents wanted him to be, which I feel shows how the left ideas have kept growing. Nowadays my parents care more about my happiness than what they want me to be. If I did what they wanted I wouldn’t be playing video games, going out at night, and I would be studying to be a lawyer or something everyday. But back then pleasing your parents held a lot more weight because of the control they had. I just found it interesting how our mindsets differed from the section.

    Songs I listened to

    - chimes of freedom
    soft singing on a simple guitar beat and speaks of freedom fights

    - motorpsycho nitemare
    sounds like a campfire song with a simple guitar beat and on beat singing

    - my back pages
    simple guitar beat with soft singing about politics and society

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  11. Ok so this article basically talks about Bob Dylan and a bunch of stuff revolving around him. But there is one part that was really interesting and I could just hear Bob Dylan saying it himself is when Nat asks Dylan about what he meant when he spoke of abandoning finger pointing songs. Bob Dylan replies, “I looked around and saw all these people pointing fingers at the bomb. But the bomb is getting boring, because what’s wrong goes much deeper than the bomb. What’s wrong is how few people are free. Most people walking around are tied down to something that doesn’t let them really speak, so they just add their confusion to the mess. I mean, they have some kind of vested interest in the way things are now. Me, I’m cool.” I could just hear him saying that when I read it. This was interesting to me because he talks about throw people are so focused on a problem it catches other people into the same problem when really there is something else they should be putting their attention into. And that’s what I got from this article. A song I listened to is “Masters of War”. This song was pretty much just about how people who start wars are always making these weapons and giving them to other people to do the fighting while all they can do is sit back and watch. In response to this Bob Dylan says he hopes they die and their deaths come soon. All that was in this song is a guitar and Bob Dylan singing. Fairly simple song but it has a strong message to it.

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  12. Ali R

    I listened to the song “Chimes of Freedom”. It was a very mellow song, like the type of song to play in the background of a montage movie scene. His voice was familiar yet unique. It had a sort of raspy, calm sound. In the song he’s talking about war and soldiers and the horrors seen during wars. It definitely sounds like something that wouldn’t played in the movie “Forrest Gump”. In this song he’s telling a story, I’d assume trying to spread awareness of the wars and the bad that comes from it or how we mist stop it, which makes sense for the time period because of JFKs speech and his motives as president. The beat was simple, I constant strum of a guitar and maybe a banjo too, yet it didn’t sound like a country song. I’m not exactly sure what genre this would be in, I guess the tone of his voice and the way the story is told is like the blues but rather than horns or piano its an acoustic guitar and a harmonica

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  13. Bob Dylan helped popularize the “informal” folk style in the 1960s by turning an anonymous communal genre into his own personal interpretation. His unique attitude, energetic stage presence, and songwriting skills assisted in his music career being a huge success. One of the pieces in the article was “Only a Pawn in Their Game,” which is from his collection of protest songs. Going back to what we learned about folk music, there are a lot of aspects that Bob Dylan adopts in his performances: the unique accent, repeating guitar / banjo strumming, and the simple style of lyrics. Especially during this time of the Civil Rights Movement, we can see that his song speaks out of all of the working and lower class Americans who built this country while the rich get to prosper from it: “Like a dog on a chain / He ain't got no name / But it ain't him to blame / He's only a pawn in their game.” I think that another message that this song sends is the idea that African Americans shouldn’t get the blame that the rich use on them because they are simply another “pawn in the game.” Because folk music comes from such humble backgrounds, it’s interesting to see how black rights and working-class white music can pair together so well.

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  14. I think it is weird to call Bob Dylan a folk singer because he didn’t “anonymously“ make his music. He clearly has some sort of direction/motive for each of his songs because the tone of each song is distinctly different. He says that his earlier works made him popular because he sang about feelings people felt but couldn’t say. The first song I listened to was Blowin’ in the Wind. I feel that the song is left to be ambiguous because people felt “lost” at the time. Bob Dylan told them that no one knows that answers to their problems because its in the wind. The second song I listened to was called Denise. This song feels more personal because it referenced his own personal love life, as he says that he pulls his own experiences from his life in his music in the New Yorker article. The song features the harmonica more, and it gives the song a bluesy tone. This was a signal of the change in nature Bob Dylan approached music, as he wanted it to feel natural and true to himself. In general, I like Bob Dylans perspective on music and the intentional separation from politics later in his career. He’s had bad experiences, but he feels that because politics are so idealistic and based around identity/conformity to a group, his songs would start becoming a message about those ideas and not about himself. I also find it interesting how he also strived for his fame to not affect him and his music, so he intentionally went to isolated places to write. In general, I feel like his feelings about change are still true today: “All I know is that so long as people stay so concerned about protecting their status and protecting what they have, ain’t nothing going to be done. Oh, there may be some change of levels inside the circle, but nobody’s going to learn anything.”

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  15. In the beginning of this article makes an attempt to define folk music. It starts of by saying that folk music is created by communities without an official writer, and about how it changed into a personal copy-written product. The article takes about two artist one being Joan Baez, and Bob Dylan. Bob Dylan wrote his own songs, and these songs when preformed were said to be powerful. Backed by his ability to sing, Bobby was able to express the emotions that young people felt, and said the words that they wanted to say. Those young people being the civil rights protestors of the 1960s. I listened to “Chimes of Freedom” this song was lyrically heavy, there was a clear message within it. The instrumental is a echoing acoustic sounding guitar, and allows the listener to focus on the lyrics.

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