About this time last year, we ran a post about lyricists who we thought were somewhat overrated. Predictably enough, including Bob Dylan in said feature set off something of a comments section firestorm, even though we were pretty clear about the fact that we didn’t think the lyricists in question were bad — just perhaps not as great as people liked to make out. Anyway, we’re not Dylan haters here, and in celebration of the arrival of his new album Tempest, which is out tomorrow, we thought we’d share our all-time favorite Dylan lyrics. Of course, this is entirely subjective, so do let us know your favorites, too.
“Hurricane,” from Desire, 1976
Key lyric: “How can the life of such a man/ Be in the palm of some fool’s hand?/ To see him obviously framed/ Couldn’t help but make me feel ashamed/ To live in a land/ Where justice is a game”
Our all-time favorite Dylan song, and we’re not sure if that many people would disagree with us. It’s strident and angry without ever being overly didactic — Dylan catalogs the injustices meted out to former boxer and falsely accused murder suspect Rubin Carter in a manner that manages to be matter-of-fact while burning with outrage. Sadly, the publicity it generated wasn’t enough to help Carter — it wasn’t until 1988 that all charges against him were dropped.