Monday, June 17, 2013

One Too Many Mornings - Dylan (Song)


Dylan is too big, too mythic perhaps, for me to try to tackle in his entirety here (not that I would even be qualified for such an endeavor). So instead I have chosen just one out of his hundreds of excellent tracks to cast a little light on. That light, of course, being my opinion about it, as well as the implied (and usually stated) seal of approval that comes just from being on this blog in the first place.

Coming on his third record at the beginning of the fame plateau he was to cross for decades to come, "One Too Many Mornings" has it's place as classic Dylan, but there's more to this song than that. It stands on its own as an interesting example of minimalist folk. It is "folk" in many ways: the lack of dynamics, the simplicity of structure (both lyrically and musically), but perhaps most of all it echos the very heart of folk music's aim: to voice the inner thoughts and feelings of the common individual.

Folk music could be literally interpreted as "people" music, and rightfully so. Dylan knows this and here it shines through perhaps more so than in his (arguably) more influential politically charged songs. This is a song for anyone who has ever felt worn out by life, anyone who has felt tired and sad and impotent. This does not cross political or ideological lines, it doesn't have to. In the universe of this one track the differences in individuals are even more basic than that. "You are right from your side. I'm right for mine," could be a phrase championing understanding and empathy if it were in another context, but here it carries with it a hopelessness--a feeling that the issues will not and cannot be resolved.

It is a lonely song, despite the lover spoken of, despite the mellowness. It offers no answer to these empty feelings, but simply acknowledges and expresses them. It accepts them, end of story. The harmonica isn't really going anywhere, it's just kind of...hanging around, sawing back and forth somewhat playfully but without real aim, filling in the spaces between stanzas. The main picking riff of the guitar does about as much for the song, if not less. It is simply a stage on which this one aspect of life plays out, then quickly fades away. At the end of this acceptance, perhaps we can start looking for ways to be rejuvenated, maybe we can find meaning in our relationships and trials and opinions, but I think the song is suggesting that first we have to just say, "This is how I feel. Other people have felt this way. Okay."

Happy listening.

-MA 6.17.13


Down the street the dogs are barking and the day is getting dark.
As the night comes in a-falling the dogs lose their bark.
And the silent night will shatter from the sounds inside my mind;
Cause I'm one too many mornings and a thousand miles behind.

From the crossroads of my doorstep my eyes start to fade
As I turn my head back to the room where my love and I have laid.
And I gaze back to the street, the sidewalk and the sign,
And I'm one too many mornings and a thousand miles behind.

It's a restless hungry feeling, I don't mean no one no good.
When everything I'm saying, you can say it just as good.
You are right from your side. I'm right from mine.
We're both just too many mornings and a thousand miles behind. 

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