Sunday, September 20, 2009

Oh Mercy

It doesn't take much hanging out at Ennyman's Territory to recognize that Ennyman, yours truly, is a consummate Dylan fan. I was first introduced to Dylan by Ed Hilliker on a school bus, a long, long time ago. Thank you, Ed. In more recent times, my Saturday's tend to be orchestrated around listening to the Dylan Hour on KUMD, our local public radio station, hosted by serious Dylan fans with expansive collections and knowledge of this significant artist.

One thing Dylan has done with remarkable success is to avoid being pinned down to a genre or style. His art is ever changing as are his influences. It's almost as if he goes out of his way to make sure his work is innovative and new. His concerts, too, involve creative expression every night. It is not a formula show. Even his backup band is uncertain where he'll take them next. Their aim is simply to hang on and utilize their skills to make the show as best as it can be, wherever he leads them.

Currently, one of the albums I have been giving a lot of play time to is Oh Mercy. After a pair of weaker albums in the late seventies, Dylan came back with one of his best, the 1979 five star Oh Mercy, an album as close to perfection as it gets. Reviewer David Bowling wrote, "I can think of five or so better Dylan albums than Oh Mercy but not ten, which is high praise given the quality of his catalogue." You can read Bowling's full review here.

Rolling Stone was also happy to give the album its five star praise. "The thematic context for Oh Mercy is defined in 'Political World,' a churning rocker stricken with anxiety and despair, and 'Everything Is Broken,' a rollicking catalog of psychic dislocation. The cultural breakdowns chronicled in those songs are mirrored on a more personal level in the dreamy ballads 'Most of the Time,' a love song of taunting regret in Dylan's characteristic manner, and the self-examining 'What Good Am I?'"

If you're looking for something new to add to your catalog, try Oh Mercy.

Political World

We live in a political world,
Love don't have any place.
We're living in times where men commit crimes
And crime don't have a face

We live in a political world,
Icicles hanging down,
Wedding bells ring and angels sing,
clouds cover up the ground.

We live in a political world,
Wisdom is thrown into jail,
It rots in a cell, misguided as hell
Leaving no one to pick up a trail.

We live in a political world
Where mercy walks the plank,
Life is in mirrors, death disappears
Up the steps into the nearest bank.

We live in a political world
Where courage is a thing of the past
Houses are haunted, children are unwanted
The next day could be your last.

We live in a political world.
The one we can see and can feel
But there's no one to check, it's all a stacked deck,
We all know for sure that it's real.

We live in a political world
In the cities of lonesome fear,
Little by little you turn in the middle
But you're never sure why you're here.

We live in a political world
Under the microscope,
You can travel anywhere and hang yourself there
You always got more than enough rope.

We live in a political world
Turning and a-thrashing about,
As soon as you're awake, you're trained to take
What looks like the easy way out.

We live in a political world
Where peace is not welcome at all,
It's turned away from the door to wander some more
Or put up against the wall.

We live in a political world
Everything is hers or his,
Climb into the frame and shout God's name
But you're never sure what it is.

1 comment:

Christella said...

Recycle the lyrics. Good for today.