Essay on The Basement Types; interpreted

1869 Words Apr 16th, 2014 8 Pages
Amanda DeFrehn
Professor T.J. Boynton
English 201
1 April 2014 In the book, The Old Weird America, the author, Greil Marcus, interprets Bob Dylan’s album, The Basement Tapes, and its “weird” views on the old America. Marcus compares Dylan’s music to several well-known people’s music and speeches in such a way to support his argument about how past historical events affected the public eye. He believes that the mood, instrumentation, and not as noticeably, the lyrics all lead up to the fear, wonder, and curiosity for when Judgment Day will arrive. He portrays the album as an America where the puritans were against the pioneers, suggesting the Puritans settled the land where they were free to practice religion while pioneers settled
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Marcus also implies that the album shows the clash between the puritans and the pioneers. “ …the Puritan climbs down from the pioneer’s back, here that the pioneer bucks the Puritan off…”(64), implying that the songs in the album have to do with wanting the Puritan, who still has power and bases everything off religion, to jump off the pioneers back, who want to live the American dream. Marcus shows how religion started changing music and artists started revising folk music, “…rock steady revision of “Like a Rolling Stone,” Dylan’s huge hit of the summer before…new verses written as if straight from the Old Testament Apocrypha.” (69), Marcus feels that it’s important to include in the book, because it shows how religion, or the Puritans, had an effect on music. The Puritans also had an effect on some artists, changing folk music to what seemed to be music out of the Old Testament. The pioneers want the Puritans to stop pushing religion on them so they can live the lifestyle they chose, which is to explore and find a new life- which is where the American dream comes into play. The pioneers were out to find the American dream, a place where dreams come true.
In the song “Bessie Smith”, the character is unsure about his feelings for Bessie, now that their relationship has ended. While the relationship is done and over, the character decides
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