Unless you purposely dig this song out, you're probably not going to hear it played much these days. It's certainly not, as far as songs go, one of the most melodic tunes from a vast catalog of music. Interestingly, 41 years after it was a top 40 hit, it's freewheeling' hyper-kinetic vocals and rhyming scheme almost sound more like rap with strum and twang, than folk music. Secondly, all the references to cultural and political unrest (as obtuse as they may be) with the Vietnam War as a backdrop, don't seem terribly distant from events and circumstances swirling around us today. “Subterranean Homesick Blues” from Bob Dylan's 1965 release Bringing it All Back Home, is certainly full of enough allusions and illusions to keep any discerning listener—with or without a lyric sheet—busy for quite a while. But again, what really strikes me is the fact that Dylan felt compelled to take a look around, shake his head at what he saw, and serve it all up in a catchy (semi) digestible format for anyone to ponder and analyze. Where is that today? It's not like the time ain't ripe to take a few swipes, make a few jabs, and question what's going on… All is not well at home, and artists—including popular musicians shouldn't ignore that fact.
Admittedly this song is also a favorite of mine because it's almost impossible to hear it and not see what some would regard as one of the very first music videos. A young, deadpan Dylan stands in three different locations: the roof a building, a park, and an alley behind the Savoy Hotel in London, shuffling through a stack of hand-written cue cards. Sometimes the cue cards accurately reflect the words in the song and other times they don't. There's no attempt to lip synch. In fact I don't think Dylan opens his mouth once. He simply shuffles through the cards, discarding them out of frame as he tries to keep up with his own voice. The “music video” is actually a segment from the D.A. Pennebaker film Don't Look Back, and it features the beat poet Allen Ginsberg in the background. Today's Happy Medium Song of the day continues the theme of “home,” but this time as a place where much is suspect, indiscernible and confusing. If only those damn vandals would return the handles… (Please use the comments box to share your thoughts.)