Archive for November 2nd, 2009

Ranking Bob Dylan Songs, #30: Subterranean Homesick Blues

Bringing It All Back Home, the album that begins with “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” marked a major sea change in Bob Dylan’s career, for two main reasons. The first reason is well-known and much-discussed: Dylan went electric. The first side of the album, including “Subterranean,” was all electric, alienating many of his loyal folk fans.

Along with that change, though, came a more subtle change in the kind of lyrics Dylan was writing. As a folk singer, his songs had been of a more traditional folk variety: Most of the songs on Dylan’s first four albums could be classified either as love songs or protest songs.

Of course, Dylan stretched the definitions of both of these classifications, coming at them from new perspectives and angles (“Blowing in the Wind,” generally considered a prototypical “protest” song, for example, doesn’t actually “protest” anything in particular), but he was generally working within an established genre or framework; the lyrics to his early songs are straightforward and at times even literal.

“Subterranean Homesick Blues” changed all that. Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read while celebrating Ryan Longwell’s return to Lambeau….

  • We linked a few weeks ago to Malcolm Gladwell’s New Yorker analysis of football and head trauma. Gladwell’s article brought to the fore some issues that have been latent in football for some time (Wait…you mean this is a dangerous sport?), as seen by the attention it’s getting now from Congress and from former Chief Michael Oriard on Deadspin. (What we’d like to see more attention on: the horribly misfigured fingers of former football players. You can see a little with Ted Johnson in the NYT video above, but this is a growing trend among NFL analysts that some of us would rather not see; hence, lack of links.)
  • As part of our extensive World Series preview this week, Tim subtly criticized Philadelphia fans (we believe his words were, “Philadelphia fans suck”). Now, The New York Times‘ Mike Tanier–a native of Philly–examines the differences between the fan ideologies in the City of Brotherly Love and the Big Apple.
  • Here at NPI, we’re fans of both fun and theory; that’s why we’re big fans of “The Fun Theory.” Really, regardless of what it espouses, how can you not be a fan of “The Fun Theory”? It’s arguably our favorite named theory since the good old Theory of Everything.