DYLAN´S WRITING STANDARDS
By Norman Warwick
I noticed a recent Facebook post that referred to Bob Dylan´s latest book, The Philosophy Of Modern Song. From Inside The World of Music. It reminded me why we recommended you to build a bigger bookshelf to make room for the book. In Dylan At The Philospher´s Stone on 8th December 2023 we provided a short introduction to the work, and Inside The World of Music have amplified our thoughts on an fb post.
They say that ´Legendary singer-songwriter Bob Dylan seldom speaks and can go years without saying a word in public. Thankfully, Dylan has now broken his silence, and among the topics discussed is creativity.
Dylan has given a rare insight into his mind to Wall Street Journal for a wide-ranging discussion, including his thoughts on streaming, his favourite television shows, and how he approaches the art of song-writing. In his perspective, music today is more disposable than ever, and most songs ´ won’t go on to become standards´.
The musician wrote: “Creativity is: a funny thing. When we’re inventing something, we’re more vulnerable than we’ll ever be. Eating and sleeping mean nothing. We’re in ‘Splendid Isolation,’ like in the Warren Zevon song; the world of self, Georgia O’Keeffe alone in the desert. To be creative you’ve got to be unsociable and tight-assed. Not necessarily violent and ugly, just unfriendly and distracted. You’re self-sufficient and you stay focused.”
Dylan continued: “Very few songs of today will go on to become standards. Who is going to write standards today? A rap artist? A hip-hop or rock star? A raver, a sampling expert, a pop singer? That’s music for the establishment. It’s easy listening. It just parodies real life, goes through the motions, puts on an act. A standard is on another level. It’s a role model for other songs, one in a thousand.”
Fascinatingly, Dylan also discussed his own songwriting methods and his flexible approach to creativity. He added: “I write songs when the mood strikes me, not with a set routine. My method is transportable. I can write songs anywhere at any time, although some of them are completed and redefined at recording sessions, some even at live shows.”
Dylan recently released a book full of his musings on the world of music in The Philosophy Of Modern Song. The book has been released through Schuster & Schuster and finds him analysing 66 songs which have been crucial in the development of the format of a song into what it’s become today.