My Top 10 Bob Dylan Songs
I truly wish that I had something better to do with this platform. But in general, I just don’t like hearing the sound of my own voice, even virtually. Thus, when I have thoughts that need to be expressed I do it through fiction rather than blogging. Nevertheless, I’m trying to blog.
Sadly, my thoughts have been pretty shallow. I’ve gotten into listening to Bob Dylan over the last few weeks and I made an effort to try to compile a somewhat definitive list of my ten favorites. I certainly like more than ten. It was easy to come up with five absolute favorites, and then I came up with about ten more that I also liked and made some pretty painful cuts to get it down to just ten altogether.
Here’s what I came up with (and why!)
- “Boots of Spanish Leather”
This song just has a lot going for it as far to make me like it. For one thing, it was the first song I had heard after committing myself to make a real effort to like Bob Dylan. The guitar and melody are gorgeous. I have a soft spot for soft sentimental songs and it reminded me a lot of some of my favorite High Kings and really just fit right in with my tastes. Plus I absolutely love romantic songs that are more about an emotional connection than a physical one. This song does pretty much everything right, it’s only mistake was being included on the Jobs soundtrack.
- “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right”
There are three or four versions of this song on the playlist that my friend made for me, giving me plenty of time to get used to it. If you haven’t listened to the version that’s on The Bootleg Volume 6: Bob Dylan Live 1964 — Concert at Philharmonic Hall , please take a moment and let joy in your life. This is another song I really like several things about. The guitar is really quite beautiful and it has bits of harmonica which is always a major plus for me! I also love the way he sings on the studio version because it goes so well with the lyrics. He hits the perfect mixture of relaxed but still passionate that the song asks for and in doing so makes the song really easy to listen to at any time.
- “Shelter From the Storm”
This song makes my heart hurt. It’s not a particularly sad song, but it wraps up so many lovely sounds and feelings with a couple of really sad and melancholy pangs that it makes it an emotional roller coaster to listen to. I love listening to this song while I walk between classes because of its calm, even tempo. I’ve replayed it probably 100 times over the last few days. The only reason I don’t rank it higher is because at the frequency I played it at, the hints of sadness brought my mood down so far I ended up in a bad place.
- “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35”
Following up a song that makes me sad with one of the most fun songs you can listen to. This is another song that I absolutely love walking to because it’s so bouncy and fun. To be honest, there’s probably a strong correlation between me liking songs and walking to them a lot. For way too long I was put off of the song by the title because I saw “Rainy Day” and assumed it might be sad. I could literally have not been more wrong. Possessing a very different sound from the first three (which are pretty much just guitar and harmonica) this one sounds like a parade and pure joy. And my love for it only went up after reading that it’s essentially supposed to sound like the inside of his head. How cute is that?
- “All I Really Want To Do”
Speaking of cute. As far as sentiment, this song is by far my favorite. I really hope that you can listen to this and have a specific person (or persons) come to mind. Of course I love the guitar and harmonica as always. Plus I love the little attempts at falsetto. Where Rainy Day Women sounds like joy to me, this song sounds like love.
- “Like a Rolling Stone”
This is definitely one of the more well known ones, which for sure plays into getting it on the list. Probably one of the songs I knew the earliest so was by far most familiar with when I started listening regularly.
- “Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts”
I don’t usually go for super long songs. However, I love ballads. And I mean real ballads, songs that tell stories. As far as ballads go as well this is also such an interesting story. I feel like every time I listen I end up truly wrapped into the story. Not to mention, the melody is a lot of fun.
- “Girl From the North Country” (with Johnny Cash)
Another song that I was somewhat familiar with before, but honestly more because of Johnny than Dylan. While I do like the song itself and find it beautiful, it’s really the duet that puts it on the list for me. Not only do I love these two as a pair just in general, but I love the way they sound together. Their voices are very different but they both work well at the same tempo and sentiment which makes an absolutely lovely harmony.
- “Talkin’ New York”
Sound wise, Bob Dylan is actually my favorite of the albums. I like how it’s practically acoustic with just guitar and harmonica. I picked this song out in particular because of my relationship with it. I’ve been listening to it a lot for a few months because it was on my playlist of New York music that I have as inspiration for a story that I’m writing (although I haven’t touched for months). It became one of my favorite songs on that playlist not just because of the sound — which I do very much love — but also the way it encapsulated the feeling that I wanted to capture in my story, fun yet still realistic and honest about the city.
- “Most Likely You Go Your Way”
It goes without saying that the competition for this spot on the list was pretty fierce. One of the reasons I picked this song was because when I first sat down to listen to Bob Dylan, this came on and I immediately took a liking to it. Despite my love for the more unplugged sounding songs, this one is so upbeat and fun that I have a hard time ever passing it up.
So that’s it! There’s a huge long list of honorable mentions, but that’s not something I can just throw together, because just like this list needs to be cultivated and discussed.
Hopefully in my next post I’ll have something of substance.