Saturday, May 19, 2012

Song #194 of 9999 - Don't Think Twice, It's All Right by Bob Dylan

Song #194 of 9999

Title: Don't Think Twice, It's All Right
Artist: Bob Dylan
Year: 1963
Album: The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan was hardly through with protest songs with the release of 1963's The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan. After all, the record featured "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall," "Blowin' in the Wind" and "Masters of War" among others. But with "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right," the world got a glimpse of Dylan's ability to write songs that were personal in nature. Although he claims "Don't Think Twice..." is not a love song, the tenor of the song is surely rooted in a recently deceased relationship. Dylan says the song is "a statement that maybe you can say to make yourself feel if you were talking to yourself." This perspective adds a layer of sadness to a lyric that, on the surface, is quite acerbic. 

Still I wish there was somethin' you would do or say
To try and make me change my mind and stay
But we never did too much talkin' anyway
So don't think twice, it's all right 

I could have chosen just about any verse—none of them miss their mark—and the titular refrain is brilliant all by itself. Dylan biographer Howard Sounes writes: "The greatness of the song was in the cleverness of the language. The phrase "don't think twice, it's all right" could be snarled, sung with resignation, or delivered with an ambiguous mixture of bitterness and regret. Seldom have the contradictory emotions of a thwarted lover been so well expressed, and the song transcended the autobiographical origins of Dylan's pain."

Unfortunately, the studio version is not available on YouTube (but it is on Spotify). I find it to be superior to any live version I have heard, where Dylan tends to amp up the tempo and shout the verses. Find the tender studio version for the best results. 

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