By Chris Moore:
Never in my life have I felt that this song was more relevant than it is tonight and–especially–tomorrow. This is Bob Dylan’s classic protest song, “The Times They Are A-Changin.'” I’ve always appreciated the song, but I don’t think I’ve ever related to it as much as I did tonight as I was recording this music video. Personally, I have always been more interested in the other songs on Dylan’s album of the same name, such as “Only a Pawn in Their Game” and “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll.” Yet, on the eve of the 2008 Presidential election, I could think of no song more fitting to record than this one.
And, God save me, I will be recording “With God On Their Side” for my Thursday video if McCain wins! (Just search the lyrics to this song if you’ve missed the reference…).
I’ve tended to stay away from Dylan’s protest songs. I have a great deal of respect for them, but as Dylan himself, I hate to see him labeled simply as “the voice of a generation.” I am most interested in his more recent material — for instance, I’m still blown away by the new Bootleg Series release.
But tonight is a special occasion. As I began practicing this song, I found that (although I haven’t heard or played this song for months and months) all the words came to me easily. Line after line, verse after verse, this song rings so exceptionally true to me. It doesn’t take a literary critic to connect lines like the following ones to contemporary society:
“Admit that the water around you has grown…”
“Don’t speak too soon, for the wheel’s still in spin…”
“Come senators, congressmen; please heed the call…”
“Don’t criticize what you can’t understand; your sons and your daughters are beyond your command. Your old road is rapidly aging…”
“Please get out of the new one if you can’t lend a hand!”
There is indeed a reason why Dylan’s lyrics have been lauded for decades, and this song is one of the many that have stood the test of time. I hope that you’ll listen to the words and consider their meaning, and then think about “the state of this great nation of ours” (to quote the great Ben Folds) — it’s interesting and not so much of a coincidence that Obama’s campaign calls not only for change, but for “Change we can believe in.” I haven’t been this hopeful for real change for a good long time!
In fact, I was just flipping through a book I bought before the 2004 elections, as I decided who to vote for. I did a lot of research, reading that book and deciding between Bush and Kerry. Looking back, I can’t believe I even hesitated on that particular choice.
This year, I saved the ten bucks I would have spent on a new campaign book, as I didn’t need to do any further research beyond the Presidential debates and subsequent news reports and fact checks, not to mention the SNL skits.
Well, I’m just rambling now, as I’m tired and currently in bed, listening to acoustic Dylan and dreaming of… well, dreaming! Sleep is good. Change is also good. As my super-cool sister reminded me today, how could Obama not win with a catch-phrase like “BA-ROCK the vote!”
Okay; that’s it for me for a few days, but please hurry back to read Jeff’s election night blog post and Jim’s post-election Original Wednesday (I’m anxious to see what appropriate song he’ll choose). Then, I’ll be back on Thursday.
See you next session!