Bob Dylan

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In Spring of 2014, Kristin called me at work and asked if I could meet her for lunch. It was a cold-ish day, and we met at a little Greek place south of downtown in Indianapolis. At lunch, Kristin presented me with four CDs she’d just bought that morning, and asked me if I knew what they had in common. The records were Pablo Honey by RadioheadÁgætis byrjun by Sigur Rós, Ready To Die by Notorious B.I.G., and Years of Refusal by Morissey. I actually couldn’t figure it out, but after a little prompting realized that all four album covers featured babies. She was pregnant and we were having our first child in November.

Not long after that lunch date I started working on this playlist. It started when I was moved to tears listening to Chris Staples’ song “Dark Side of the Moon” (I’m actually not even sure that song is written for a child, but for me it forever will be). I started compiling songs that were either written for/to children, or somehow represented that to me.

Since then, we’ve had another child (both boys), and things are often more hectic than not, but whenever I play these songs they remind me of the wide-eyed wonder of first becoming a parent, and how incredible it is to be entrusted with these little souls.

It’s late getting posted, but here’s my playlist about parenthood:

mp3: Chris Staples – Dark Side of the Moon

I want to love you, I want to pass it on

I want to give and give until it’s all gone

I want to know you, while we have the time

Because that’s all I’ve got to leave behind.

mp3: Mates of State – Nature And The Wreck

Lying down, I notice what you see

Below us, your arms are like the trees.

I know I haven’t said enough.

I know we haven’t said enough.

How I will protect, and how each day matters.

…I know we haven’t said enough

But I know I’ve never loved this much.

mp3: Stevie Wonder – Isn’t She Lovely

Isn’t she lovely made from love,

Isn’t she lovely?

mp3: Kanye West – Only One (feat. Paul McCartney)

Hello my only one, remember who you are

No you’re not perfect but you’re not your mistakes.

mp3: Mason Jennings – Which Way Your Heart Will Go

Where would I be right now

If all my dreams had come true

Deep down I know somehow

I’d have never seen your face.

This world would be a different place

Darling there’s no way to know

Which way your heart will go.

mp3: King Creosote – My Favourite Girl

Can I make her happy?

I guess that I have not got long

Promise you’ll tell her

She’s my favourite girl

In all the world.

mp3: Lauryn Hill – To Zion

Life for you my prince has just begun

And I thank you for choosing me

To come through unto life to be

A beautiful reflection of his grace.

mp3: Joni Mitchell – Little Green

Just a little green

Like the color when the spring is born

There’ll be crocuses to bring to school tomorrow

Just a little green

Like the night’s when the Northern lights perform

There’ll be icicles and birthday clothes

And sometimes there’ll be sorrow.

mp3: John Lennon – Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)

Out on the ocean sailing away

I can hardly wait

To see you come of age

But I guess we’ll both just have to be patient

‘Cause it’s a long way to go

A hard row to hoe

Yes it’s a long way to go

But in the meantime

Before you cross the street

Take my hand

Life is what happens to you

While you’re busy making other plans.

mp3: Björk – Mouth’s Cradle

There is yet

Another one

That follows me

Wherever I go

And supports me

He always has a hope for me

Always sees me when nothing else

And everyone have left

Can care

That ghost is brighter than anyone

And fulfills me with hope

Those beams assure me.

mp3: Low – In Metal

Partly hate to see you grow

And just like your baby shoes

Wish I could keep your little body

In metal.

mp3: Cat Stevens – Oh Very Young

Oh very young, what will you leave us this time

You’re only dancin’ on this earth for a short while,

And though your dreams may toss and turn you now

They will vanish away like your dad’s best jeans.

Will you carry the words of love with you?

mp3: Bob Dylan – Forever Young

May you grow up to be righteous,

May you grow up to be true,

May you always know the truth,

And see the lights surrounding you.

May you always be courageous,

Stand upright and be strong,

May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy,

May your feet always be swift,

May you have a strong foundation

When the winds of changes shift.

May your heart always be joyful,

May your song always be sung,

May you stay forever young.

mp3: Mason Jennings – If You Ain’t Got Love

At nine in the morning

After nine months of waiting

You were born and I saw your face

And you looked up at me.

…Someday, someday soon

You and I will both be gone

And lately, I can’t help but think

That the love we feel will live on.

mp3: Ben Sollee & Daniel Martin Moore – Try

I can’t wait to hold your little hand

…How to give it all to someone not yet born

That must be how

We’ve learned to love.

mp3: My Brightest Diamond – I Have Never Loved Someone

I have never loved someone

The way I love you

I have never seen a smile

Like yours

And if you grow up to be a king, or clown, or pauper,

I will say you are my favorite one in town.

I have never held a hand

So soft and sacred,

When I hear you laugh

I know heaven’s key,

And when I grow to be a poppy in the graveyard

I will send you all my love upon the breeze.

And if the breeze won’t blow your way

I will be the sun

And if the sun won’t shine your way

I will be the rain.

And if the rain won’t wash away

All your aches and pains,

I will find some other way

To tell you you’re okay.

You’re okay.

mp3: King Creosote & Jon Hopkins – Your Young Voice

It’s your young voice that’s keeping me holding on to my dull life.

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Sometimes my reading lists can be a bit on the heavy side. I’ve spent the last three months with my nose in books about nuclear missiles, submarines, shaky foreign relations, one-sided arms agreements, and things that could eventually result in the end of the world.

And what with the recent events in Korea and the “missile” sighting here in California, I figured a playlist is in order. Something to burn and place in your bomb shelter alongside canned goods and water.

mp3: Janelle Monae – Cold War

mp3: Andrew Bird – MX Missile

mp3: Morrissey – Everyday Is Like Sunday

mp3: Billy Joel – Leningrad

mp3: The Morning Benders – Cold War (Nice Clean Fight)

mp3: Andrew Bird – Scythian Empires

mp3: Bob Dylan – A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall

mp3: R.E.M. – Its the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

And finally one more that has nothing to do with the Cold War, but was nonetheless the soundtrack of a video shared in class showing the accuracy of a Minuteman III missile.

mp3: Talk Talk – Its My Life

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“He didn’t want to take a picture with me.”

Dylan played “The Times They Are A-Changin'” for the First Family back in February during a Civil Rights celebration, but Rolling Stone just recently published some of his feelings on the performance. You can (and should) read the whole quote on Stereogum. Turns out Bob was (perfectly) enigmatic. As always.

I love this so much, and not just because I recently re-watched Dont Look Back



Well I finally fulfilled one of my life-long musical goals last night when my wife and I made our way down to Bloomington to see Bob Dylan at IU’s Auditorium. It’s kind of remarkable that it’s taken me so many years to actually see him, but it’s just never quite worked out before. Well this time everything fell into place, so my wife and I used our Ticketmaster giftcard that a very good friend gave us as a wedding present (awesome, I know), and $70 I earned for being a guinea pig for a clinical trial, and got ourselves some sweet balcony seats. The auditorium wasn’t too big, so there really wasn’t a bad seat in the house – and even though we were up near the top, I never felt too far away from the action.

I won’t bore you with details – especially since you can get them on any number of Dylan fan-sites – but I just wanted to say how great it was to see someone at Bob’s age (68, I think) rocking out like he was last night. Seriously. He rocked. Like when his band was ripping through “Highway 61 Revisited” I thought I was hearing some Zeppelin-style thunder on that stage. Simply put – this was a ROCK SHOW. And it was fun, because ROCK SHOWS are fun. It’s in the rules or something. I kept thinking of my friends that don’t listen to a lick of Dylan, but who would’ve probably loved last nights set – you know, because it was rockin!

Anyway, I also loved hearing how much liberty Bob took with his songs – turning “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” into a riffed-out bluesy rocker and “Cold Irons Bound” into an even more haunting affair than it already was, with plenty of organ and rumbling percussion. “Ballad of a Thin Man” was especially incredible, with floor lights casting long shadows across the back wall and ceiling every time Bob raised his arms ominously, singing “Because something is happening here!”

So, short version: it was amazing. Thanks for reading.

mp3: Bob Dylan – It’s All Good
from the album Together Through Life (Amazon/iTunes)

The set list is after the jump… Read the rest of this entry »