Art was the speech of the folk revival--and yet, at bottom, the folk revival did not believe in art at all. Rather, life--a certain kind of life--equaled art, which ultimately meant that life replaced it. The kind of life that equaled art was defined by suffering, deprivation, poverty, and social exclusion . . . the poor are art because they sing their lives without the false consciousness of captialism and the false desires of advertising.
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When art is confused with life, it is not merely art that is lost. When art equals life there is no art, but when life equals art there are no people.
When I type "bob dylan" into the search box in my iTunes library, I come up with 551 items (including covers, duplicates, and alternate versions). And yet I know that there are vast depths out there that I haven't even heard, much less own, and my silly boasts wouldn't impress any of the long-time Dylan fans out there who have lived with his music for decades and know obsessive details about every song he's ever released. But as a salute to one of the great American artists, I hereby offer my (as of this minute and sure to change) Top 25 Bob Dylan Songs:
1. Tangled Up in Blue (Blood on the Tracks, 1975) 2. Mr. Tambourine Man (Bringing It All Back Home, 1965) 3. Like a Rolling Stone (Highway 61 Revisited, 1965) 4. Ring Them Bells (Oh Mercy, 1989) 5. A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall (The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, 1963) 6. Ain't Talkin' (Modern Times, 2006) 7. Shelter from the Storm (Blood on the Tracks, 1975) 8. Visions of Johanna (Blonde on Blonde, 1966) 9. It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) (Bringing It All Back Home, 1965) 10. Sign on the Window (New Morning, 1970) 11. Blind Willie McTell (The Bootleg Series Vol. 1-3: Rare & Unreleased 1961-1991, rec. 1983) 12. I Was Young When I Left Home (The Bootleg Series Vol. 7: No Direction Home: The Soundtrack, rec. 1961) 13. Every Grain of Sand (Shot of Love, 1981) 14. The Times They Are A-Changin' (The Times They Are A-Changin', 1964) 15. All Along the Watchtower (John Wesley Harding, 1967) 16. I Want You (Blonde on Blonde, 1966) 17. Ballad of a Thin Man (Highway 61 Revisited, 1965) 18. Love Sick (Time Out of Mind, 1997) 19. Highway 61 Revisited (Highway 61 Revisited, 1965) 20. Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again (Blonde on Blonde, 1966) 21. Bob Dylan's 115th Dream (Bringing It All Back Home, 1965) 22. High Water (For Charley Patton) (Love & Theft, 2001) 23. Lay Lady Lay (Nashville Skyline, 1969) 24. When I Paint My Masterpiece [Demo version] (The Bootleg Series Vol. 10: Another Self Portrait, 1969-1971, rec. 1971) 25. Mississippi (Love & Theft, 2001)