Friday, 1 September 2006

Bob Dylan's Modern Times: some highlights from the lyrics

Best image
I’m as pale as a ghost holding a blossom on a stem.

Best chorus
Oh, I miss you Nettie Moore,
And my happiness is o’er,
Winter’s gone, the river’s on the rise.
I loved you then, and ever shall,
But there’s no one here left to tell;
The world has gone black before my eyes.

Most audacious rhyme

Gonna raise me an army, some tough sons of bitches,
I’ll recruit my army from the orphanages.

Best eschatological image
The judge is coming in, everybody rise:
Lift up your eyes.

Best image of forgiveness
In you, my friend, I see no blame,
If you want to look in my eyes, please do.

Funniest biblical allusion

If it keep on rainin’, the levee’s gonna break,
Everybody’s sayin’ this is a day only the Lord could make.

Funniest lines about women
I’m flat out spent, this woman she been drivin’ me to tears,
These women so crazy, I swear
I ain’t gonna touch another one for years.

Funniest lines about love

I’ve been sittin’ down studying the art of love,
I think it’ll fit me like a glove,
I want some real good woman to do just what I say.

Funniest lines about sex

Ain’t nothin’ more depressing
Than trying to satisfy this woman of mine.

Most peaceful lines

I’m trying to feed my soul with thought,
Gonna sleep off the rest of the day.
Sometimes no one wants what you got,
Sometimes you can’t give it away.

Best lines about faith
I practise a faith that’s been long abandoned,
Ain’t no altars on this long and lonesome road.

Best lines on unfaithfulness
Sometimes I wonder why you can’t treat me right
You do good all day, and then you do wrong all night.

Best lines about violence

Well, I don’t wanna brag, I wanna wring your neck:
When all else fails I’ll make it a matter of self-respect.

Best lines about a relationship

I got the pork chops, she got the pie,
She ain’t no angel, neither am I.

Best image of universities

Well the world of research has gone berserk:
Too much paperwork.

Best lines about life
I laugh and I cry, and I’m haunted by
Things I never meant or wished to say.

Best lines about ageing

I can see for myself that the sun is sinking –
How I wish you were here to see.

Best line about dying
But I’ll be with you when the deal goes down.

Finally, my own favourite:
Well, I’m listening to the steel rails a-hum,
Got both eyes tight shut.

Note: See also my review of Modern Times here; and see this site for a full annotated set of the album’s lyrics.

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