The Sunday Times has reproduced a part of Bob Dylan's new book, where he discusses 66 pivotal songs. It's behind a paywall, but here it is...
Pump It Up
This Year’s Model (Radar, 1978)
This song speaks new speak. It’s the song you sing when you’ve reached the boiling point. Tense and uneasy, comes with a discount — with a lot of give-away stuff. And you’re going to extend that stuff till it ruptures and splits into a million pieces. You never look back you look forward, you’ve had a classical education, and some on the job training. You’ve learnt to look into every loathsome nauseating face and expect nothing.
You live in a world of romance and rubble, and you roam the streets at all hours of the night. You’ve acquired things and brought people the goods.
It’s not like you have a promising future. You’re the alienated hero who’s been taken for a ride by a quick-witted little hellcat, the hot-blooded sex-starved wench that you depended on so much, who failed you. You thought she was heaven and life everlasting, but she was just strong-willed and determined — turned you into a synthetic and unscrupulous person. Now you’ve come to the place where you’re going to blow things up, puncture it, shoot it down.
This song is in full swing. The one-two punch, the uppercut, and the wallop, then get out quick and make tracks. You broke the commandments and cheated. Now you’ll have to back down, capitulate and turn in your resignation.
What is it about you anyway? You want to boost everything up, exaggerate it, until you can grip it and fondle it.
Why does it all seem so crooked and hush hush?
Why all the trivial talk and yakety yak?
Why all the monotonous and lifeless music that plays inside your head?
And what about that little she goat that won’t go away? You want to maim and mangle her. You want to see her in agony, and you want to blow this whole thing up until it’s swollen, where you’ll run your hands all over and squeeze it till it collapses.
This song is brainwashed, and comes to you with a lowdown dirty look, exaggerates and amplifies itself until you can flesh it out, and it suits your mood. This song has a lot of defects, but it knows how to conceal them all.
Bob Dylan on Pump It Up
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