Posts Tagged ‘Mr. Jones’

Monday Medley

What we read while they were walking with their feet ten feet off of Beale…

Ranking Bob Dylan Songs, #18: Ballad of a Thin Man

I really like the lyrics to this song. I mean, I get that I probably appear to like Dylan’s lyrics all the time, but I really like them in this song. They’re caustic and clever and cogent. Just the refrain itself is a beautiful piece of simple, forceful poetry: “Something is happening here/But you don’t know what it is/Do you, Mr. Jones?”

The song is pretty clearly directed at a music critic, which may seem petty or small-minded of Dylan, particularly since Dylan himself admitted that “Mr. Jones” is a real person who would have been known by name when the song was released (although you have to take anything Dylan said to the press at that time with, like, 87 grains of salt). But it’s not petty. Not at all. Because Mr. Jones isn’t just a music critic—he’s a tastemaker, a peddler, a card-carrying member of the establishment and the status quo. Continue reading