Friday, September 26, 2008

Dylan vs. Cage

I thought the love song discussion in class today was interesting, and it was weird having so many people in the room. Seriously, we usually have only like ten people, and all of a sudden we had about twenty-five. It changed the feel of the class.

I honestly think that some people need to learn the difference between B.S. and hyperbole. Hyperbole is a pretty common part of language (I’m starving, I need a drink). I’m honestly not sure how productive it is to go around listening to love songs (because we all know how calm, rational, and levelheaded people in love are, don’t we) and finding the hyperbole in them—it’s not exactly hard, and also kinda misses the whole point of the song. Not that I want to criticize whoever teaches that other FYS, but still.

As for the Bob Dylan songs, I thought they were interesting. I can’t say I listen to much Dylan—I enjoyed the songs we listened to today, but I can’t say I’m rushing out to download more of them. I think that Dylan is somewhat overrated—he is undeniably talented, but I think that some of his “poetic” and “voice of a generation” attributes are overrated. (If he had had all that big an impact on his generation, I doubt that his listeners would have all gone out and become yuppies—I’m pretty sure he wasn’t a big fan of that sort of thing).

But still, Dylan was talented, and as I said, I enjoyed his music. One thing I noticed was the difference between his stuff and modern music—regardless of genre, it seems (at least to me; maybe I’m wrong) that most modern music follows a strict formula—beginning stanza, chorus, middle stanza, chorus, optional ending stanza, chorus. The chorus seems to be the most important part of the song. Dylan didn’t do that, and I like that.

Dylan is, in many ways—that anti-John Cage. Cage’s music didn’t always make sense because he tried to strip away all emotion and feeling. Dylan’s music doesn’t always make sense (what exactly happened in the “come in from the storm” song? And could anyone quite follow the “turn of fate”track?), but his imagery—even if it doesn’t quite make sense—serves primarily to create a mood, an emotion. That’s why I think that Bob Dylan was a talented artist—while John Cage was a pretentious and unnecessary musician.

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