Story, Value, and Becoming More Real
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The Quality of the Song

September 18, 2020

Roy Salmond


A good friend of mine was driving with her daughter, listening to an album by the singer Adele.

A successful songwriter, my friend listened closely as one particular song progressed. Smitten with the melody and the lyrics she asked her daughter, “Who wrote this song?!” 

Her daughter didn’t know. When they arrived home my friend chased down the source, discovering to her surprise and delight, Adele’s song, ‘To Make You Feel My Love’, is a Bob Dylan tune. 

The quality of Dylan’s song-writing radiates.

He has an uncanny ability to access the depths of the human soul and our shared experience that my friend recognized.

What is common in all of us is timeless.

Generation after generation, good art reminds us who we are and who we’re yet to be, articulating questions we haven’t even asked ourselves yet.

It mirrors our complexity, as well as our simplicity, pointing out the universality of our human condition. Our pain, our joy, our hope, our doubts, and our love in all its permutations.

We see ourselves in the poems of Homer.

In the writings of Dante.

In the paintings of Da Vinci.

In the sculpture of Rodin.

In the plays of Shakespeare.

And in the songs of Bob Dylan.

My friend recognized the quality of the song. A self-evident energy with an imagination that is “faithful to the full house of the heart, with all its rooms.” (John O’Donohue)

Artists have to work hard to produce quality. It has to be objectified, honed, and practiced, taking a “long obedience in the same direction.” (Nietzsche)

In art as in life, the quality of the song radiates.

The featured image is courtesy of Michael Maasen on Unsplash.


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