Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Tight Connection to My Heart (Has Anybody Seen My Love?)

Looking for my love,
I stumble on a film noir
And try to escape.

This opening song from 1985's "Empire Burlesque" album is one of my real Dylan soft spots. It's a strange song about strange goings-on surrounding a woman with whom the singer is no longer involved. It's a reworking of a 1983 song that he recorded called "Someone's Got a Hold of My Heart," and as essayist Jonathan Lethem points, out, it replaces a number of the more heartfelt lines with hardboiled lines from Humphrey Bogart movies as well as some other films, including one featuring Gary Cooper. I don't know why he did it, and many people say that it doesn't work. I think it does. It works even better when you watch the MTV video for the song. It takes place in Tokyo, I think, where Dylan is facing trouble with the police over a possible murder, three Japanese girls sing karaoke in a bar with Dylan's voice emanating from their mouths, an American woman sings in a different bar, and a fight between some folks on a Japan street breaks out. It makes no sense that I can see, but it's fun.

Notable lines from the song:
- "Well I had to move fast, and I couldn't with you around my neck. I said I'd send for you and I did. What did you expect?"
- "I'll go along with the charade until I can think my way out." (From a "Star Trek" episode)
- "There's something I've got to do tonight, You go inside and stay warm."
- "I must be guilty of something, You just whisper it in my ear."
- "Madame Butterfly, she lulled me to sleep, in a town without pity where the water runs deep. She said, "Be easy, baby, there ain't nothing worth' stealin' here."
- "I can't figure out whether I'm too good for you or you're too good for me."
- "What looks large from a distance, close up ain't never that big."
- "Never could learn to drink that blood and call it wine. Never could learn to hold you, love, and call you mine." (That blood/wine line comes from Dylan's own song, "Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again," in which he notes that Mona tells him to stay away from railroad brakemen because they'll just drink up your blood like wine."



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