Sunday, May 10, 2015

Don't Think Twice, It's Alright

No no, please do go.
I loved you, you hurt my pride.
That's fine; I hate you.

I could be wrong, but I suspect that "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" is one of Bob Dylan's most enduring, timeless favorites. It's too bad for me that I don't like it very much. It's undoubtedly brilliant and scabrous, and I can see how lots of people would like a kiss-off song like this because they probably can apply it to more than one romantic finale in their lives. After nearly 30 years of repeated exposure to less-than-perfect endings to relationships, I feel like I'm all out of angry. Maybe it's a great song and I just think it's too mean because I've gone soft. I don't know. The line that bugs me is, "I ain't sayin' you treated me unkind, You could have done better but I don't mind, You just kinda wasted my precious time, but don't think twice, it's all right." That's like complaining that your lie-flat bed in the first-class section of the airplane didn't spray a delicate mist of attar of roses on you while you slept. Moreover, it implies that the trouble in the relationship came from one side only. And though I try to avoid the biographical inspirations of Dylan's songs and just focus on the text, I know that the likely inspiration for this song was ex-girlfriend Suze Rotolo. Whatever their private lives were like, it looks like a case of dirty laundry.

Anyway, as Leonard Cohen said, "read me the list of the crimes that are mine, I will ask for the mercy that you love to decline:"

- You're the reason I'm traveling on, even as your rooster crows at the break of dawn.
- Your light won't reach me because I'm on the dark side of the road.
- Couldn't you possibly do or say something to make me change my mind? Didn't think so.
- We never talked much to begin with.
- I thought I loved a woman, but I guess she was a child.
- I offered heart. She wanted soul. Editors!

Following are two versions of the song. One is the original from 1963's "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan." The other is a strange reggae adaptation from the 1979 live album "Bob Dylan at Budokan."

1 comment:

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