Saturday, 11 October 2014

Jokerman

This blog post is a song request for Tania Coutts in Whangarei, New Zealand (Aotearoa)

I recently read an article about a group of Swedish academics who have had a longstanding 17 year bet.  What does that have to do with Bob Dylan?  The bet was to include as many references to Bob Dylan songs as possible.  http://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/sep/29/swedish-cientists-bet-bob-dylan-lyrics-research-papers



Standing in the water, casting your bread
While the eyes of the idol with the iron head are glowing
Distant ships sailing into the mist
You were born with a snake in both fists while a hurricane was blowing
Freedom just around the corner for you
But with truth so far off, what good will it do

This track was released in 1983 and it is reminiscent for me of the theme song from The Ellen Degeneres Show with the cast shot in the desert in the opening credits (it's some parts of the musical motifs that are similar to my ear, not what the music video looks like). I love the instrumentation.  I am particularly drawn to the bass guitar in this piece (which is strange as I'm not a bass player) but it definitely helps to drive the pace of the music forward.  The last line almost suggests that the truth is as far from us as anything welcome.

Jokerman dance to the nightingale tune
Bird flying high by the light of the moon
Oh, oh, oh . . . Jokerman

The lyrics in Jokerman have been widely connected to images of the AntiChrist as well as American president Ronald Reagan, particularly with the reference to America's intervention in Iran (the nightingale widely recognised as a symbol of Iran).

So swiftly the sun sets in the sky
You rise up and say goodbye to no one
Fools rush in where angels fear to tread
Both of their futures, so full of dread, you don't show one
Shedding off one more layer of skin
Keeping one step ahead of the persecutor within. . . 

You get to a certain point where you become super secretive and don't disclose information.
When you start trying to divide information or keep things, but especially people, on a "need to know" basis.  How many layers of skin will you shed before you show your true self?  Who will you choose to reveal yourself to anyway?  Who gets to see the real you?  

For me this song represents who we can be - we can be our own Jokerman.
Whether being the Jokerman allows us to put on different facades and not face up to reality is a good thing, we still need to proceed with caution.  We need to be mindful sometimes that we don't get too caught up in trying to identify those marks rather than living our best lives - right now.        

I hope that you dance to the beat of your own drum.
I hope that you sing the melody to your own soundtrack of your life.
I hope that you act in the greatest joy and sense of gratitude that you already know.

Jokerman dance to the nightingale tune
Bird flying high by the light of the moon
Oh, oh, oh . . . Jokerman