26 September 2005

Dylan theory

here are some reactions
to last night's dylan documentary
(part one only)
with the caveat that i don't know enough dylanology
to say if these ideas are new or old
(i'll do some googling after i post them)

the key to his mystery, i think,
is that he's the farthest thing from a
classic joni-mitchell introspective singer-songwriter

he can't introspect at all in the ordinary way
so he doesn't know himself at all
in the ordinary way

and the first clue in the documentary
was his attempt to play rock for his elementary school
he wanted to perform on stage
and that's still all he wants, on his neverending tour

as banal as the theory sounds
i think his voice closed almost every door

in his duet with baez
and in the singalong of blowin in the wind
it was painfully clear he was a solo artist
whether he chose it so or not

and back in minnesota
he may have fixed on folk
because it was his last best chance to sing

i thought first
he saw the folkie audience as more intelligent and challenging
and fixed his sights on conquering them, one by one
studying the greats, mimicking their styles

but what i saw in the scorsese concert footage
was that the folkie audience bored the shit out of him
and i'm guessing that he went electric
to try to grab a piece of the beatles' vast success
and their power to move, to sway, to rock

and if this was his goal then he probably failed
in his own eyes
and the woodstock retreat
represented a traumatic lowering of his self-expectations
followed by desperate experimentation:

who am i this time?