Monday, March 30, 2009

Preview of New Dylan Song: Beyond here lies nothin’

A one-day-only download from Bob Dylan's new album is available at his website today only. It's called Beyond here lies nothin’. In this recording he's got that "I've been around the world and sung my life into a drain" sound - but the happy-go-lucky arrangement, it's quite a contrast once the words come into view. And then there's the accordion. That accordion changes the entire landscape. And landscape is everything in this song, crafted by a painter of words. What sense of place does the song evoke?

The album has been described by one early review as "Border Cafe." But I am having second thoughts listening to this one song. What do I picture, with the music and the words and the sound of Dylan's voice - what do I hear?

I hear America in Baghdad.

I hear America at war.

Beyond here lies nothing ...
well I'm moving after midnight
by boulevards of broken cars ...
beyond here lies nothin’
nothin’ beyond the moon and stars
Does this not sound like a soundtrack from the life of the American soldiers in Iraq?

Does it not sound like America at war?

And typical Dylan, he doesn't tell us what his views are - he paints a landscape with his words, while slyly refraining is own judgment which is often shrouded in wit. Even in this song.

And who do we think "baby" is this time? "Just as long as you stay with me, the whole world is my throne, beyond here lies nothing, nothing to call my own."

The landscape Dylan paints in this song, despite the lilting arrangement, is quite bleak. And again, look at the play of words in the song's title. "Beyond here lies nothing ..." One could write an essay on that alone, thinking of America in the last year abroad.

From the view of the soldier who is out on patrol while young women walk by with bombs strapped to their bodies to the politicians back home shaking their heads and wondering where the hell the WMDs went, while campaigns run with American leaders saying that Iraq was pointless while men and women still put their lives on the line every day. With assistance from their PR firms, the politicians run their races pretending to care about military families while at the same time saying that fighting for Iraq was for nothing. "Beyond here lies nothin’" so just get out. Where was the truth? What is the truth? What are we fighting for?

What of the courage of the soldiers who carry on their mission while a country turns it's face inward, is it for nothin’?

beyond here lies nothin’

well I love you pretty baby
you’re the only love I've ever known
just as long as you stay with me
the whole world is my throne
beyond here lies nothin’
nothin’ I could call my own

well I'm moving after midnight
by boulevards of broken cars
don’t known what I’d do without her
without this love that we call ours
beyond here lies nothin’
nothin’ beyond the moon & stars

down in the street there’s window
and every window made of glass
we keep on loving pretty baby
for as long as love would last
beyond here lies nothin’
but the mountains of the past

well my ship is in the harbor
and the sails are spent
listen to me, pretty baby
lay your hand upon my head
beyond here lies nothin’
nothin’ done and nothin’ said

-B. Dylan 2009

Download the song here. This is what I heard when I listened to the song this morning. For others it might remind them of their latest trip to Disney World. Who can tell with Dylan?

LATER: The audio has now been uploaded on YouTube:

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