Bob Dylan Has The Answers To Everything: A Playlist

Rowland Scherman / Wikimedia Commons
Rowland Scherman / Wikimedia Commons

Bob Dylan is to American music culture what Mark Twain is to American literature – the nation is better off for having them in its artistic cultural memory. Dylan, along with Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Johnny Cash, and many but also few music icons influenced their era and ours.

The greatest United States’ export is its culture – for better or for worse. This is especially true when it comes to its music culture. In my Nigerian home – whether in the country or in the Diaspora, American jazz and blues and folk music was part of our upbringing thanks to my father.

Christmas time was particularly filled with the likes of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Eartha Kitt. But ordinary memories whether on a road trip or drive to school, I would hear my father’s alto voice humming and singing to, “The answer my friends is blowin’ in the wind, the answer is blowin’ in the wind.”

So yes, even from oceans away and generational differences present, I grew up on Dylan.

Dylan’s music career encompasses everything from folk to blues to country to gospel. His messages political, social, personal, romantic, depressing, joyful, and all the other human emotions taken up by a 56-year career and counting.

I’ve found that for every mood, and almost every situation, almost every feeling, Dylan has an answer. So here’s a playlist with some of my favourite songs for answers to ordinary and sometimes not so ordinary human experiences:

1. The answer to a changing society that you may not quite understand or feel a little lost in: The Times They Are A-Changing


Favourite part:
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who that it’s namin’
For the loser now will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’

2. The answer to missing someone you once loved: The Girl From from North Country (feat. Johnny Cash)


Favourite part:
I’m a-wonderin’ if she remembers me at all
Many times I’ve often prayed
In the darkness of my night
In the brightness of my day.

3. The answer to the times life has got you down and you just don’t want to get out of bed: One Too Many Mornings


Favourite part:
It’s a restless hungry feeling
That don’t mean no one no good
When ev’rything I’m a-sayin’
You can say it just as good.

4. The answer to thinking that you’re the only one going through something, and you need a pick me up: Rainy Day Woman #12 & 35


Favourite part:
Well, they’ll stone you and say that it’s the end
Then they’ll stone you and then they’ll come back again
They’ll stone you when you’re riding in your car
They’ll stone you when you’re playing your guitar
Yes, but I would not feel so all alone
Everybody must get stoned

5. The answer to fairweather friendships and relationships: Positively 4th Street


Favourite part:
Yes, I wish that for just one time
You could stand inside my shoes
You’d know what a drag it is
To see you

6. The answer to the times you just need a good cry (probably from a lot of stress and society in general): Workingman’s Blues #2


Favourite part:
I’m tryin’ to feed my soul with thought
Gonna sleep off the rest of the day
Sometimes no one wants what we got
Sometimes you can’t give it away

7. The answer to feeling like everything is not going to be alright. Spoiler alert – It is: Buckets of Rain


Favorite part:
Life is sad
Life is a bust
All ya can do is do what you must
You do what you must do and ya do it well
I’ll do it for you, honey baby
Can’t you tell?

8. The answer to relationships that left you a little hurt but mostly just wasted your damn time: Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright


Favourite part:
I ain’t sayin’ you treated me unkind
You could have done better but I don’t mind
You just kinda wasted my precious time
But don’t think twice, it’s alright

9. The answer to the times you just want to feel like you can do anything: Forever Young


Favourite part:
May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift

10. The answer to being in love: I Want You


Favourite part:
And I wait for them to interrupt
Me drinkin’ from my broken cup
And ask for me
Open up the gate for you
I want you, I want you
Yes, I want you so bad
Honey, I want you

11. The answer to the people who want more from you than you can give them: It Ain’t Me Babe


Favourite part:
You say you’re lookin’ for someone
Never weak but always strong
To protect you an’ defend you
Whether you are right or wrong
Someone to open each and every door
But it ain’t me, babe
No, no, no, it ain’t me, babe
It ain’t me you’re lookin’ for, babe

12. The answer to feeling a woman, knowing a woman, and/or loving a woman : Just Like a Woman


Favourite part:
She takes just like a woman, yes, she does
She makes love just like a woman, yes, she does
And she aches just like a woman
But she breaks just like a little girl

13. The answer to singing a karaoke song that everyone knows (and the meaning of the song will be argued thereafter): Tambourine Man


Favourite part:
I’m ready to go anywhere, I’m ready for to fade
Into my own parade, cast your dancing spell my way
I promise to go under it.

14. The answer to losing the naiveté of childhood and the harsh reality of experience in adulthood: Like a Rolling Stone


Favourite part:
You used to laugh about
Everybody that was hangin’ out
Now you don’t talk so loud
Now you don’t seem so proud
About having to be scrounging for your next meal

15. The answer to everything: Blowin’ In the Wind


Favourite part:
How many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?

How many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn’t see?

What are you favourite Dylan songs (and answers)?

TC mark

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