riding the echoes...

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23 May 2007, 10:44

Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde is my all-time favorite album. I know so many good albums, but none has so many hits in a row. Take out Pledging My Time and I can close my eyes and listen the whole album.

I've been asking myself what is so special about the album. I guess there are three reasons. First of all it is the only Bob Dylan album, where the music matches and sometimes surpasses the quality of the lyrics (especially I Want You). The multi-layered and multi-chromatic and in the artists own words "mercury-like" sound is open for discoveries.

Secondly there is a general feeling of mysticality to the album. It is like knowing something exists in the heart, but not being able to be sure about it's existence. It's as if Dylan found a clue about the "direction home" he talks about in Like a Rolling Stone (Sarah?), but lost it on a drunken night, and went searching for it in a trip... This feeling is most obvious in Visions of Johanna which brings me to the third strike of genius in this album.

I think his lyrics are his most poetic, both in terms of the literary tricks he plays and the content of the lines. I will use Visions of Johanna as an example:

"Louise, she's all right, she's just near
She's delicate and seems like the mirror
But she just makes it all too concise and too clear
That Johanna's not here..."

He carefully builds a loving feminine character, who sees his soul like a mirror. While my intellect tries to grab the meanings of the first part, and settle down the waves they caused, the rhymes in the next part constantly echoes the lyrics from previous parts. so When I hear "That Johanna's not here..." I enjoy the meanings of all the lines together, by riding on the echoes...

My favorite example of this phenomenon is the following:

"The ghost of electricity howls in the bones of her face
Where these visions of Johanna have now taken my place"

I am still contemplating on what does the ghost of electricity's howling and the hunt becoming the hunter got in common. I am completely satisfied, that I still haven't found the answer...

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