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5.29.11
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5.7.11
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Another look at Dylan's IS YOUR LOVE IN VAIN?

11.6.08
When the album STREET LEGAL first came out in 1978, Bob Dylan was criticized for a streak of misogyny that ran through many of the songs on the record. His first "post-divorce" album, he seemed to be vindictive to his former wife, Sara, and at best, uncharitable to women, even in what passed for the album's love songs.

Lines like "Can you cook and sew, make flowers grow," were ripped out of context and used against Dylan to make him out to be an old-fashioned, male chauvinist pig.

But another reading of "Is Your Love in Vain?" reveals the song to be a brutally honest examination of the transitional period one goes through -- men and women alike -- after the breakup of a long-term relationship, particularly a marriage.

As it turns out, this song could well be Exhibit A in the steps one needs to go through after the pain and heartbreak of divorce in order to come out the other side as a complete person, one who is at peace with oneself in the world, and therefore able to offer all the more to a potential partner in love.

With this in mind, take another listen to "Is Your Love in Vain?" and see if your appreciation for this song, like the song itself, hasn't matured.


"Is Your Love In Vain?"

Do you love me, or are you just extending goodwill?
Do you need me half as bad as you say, or are you just feeling guilt?
I've been burned before and I know the score
So you won't hear me complain.
Will I be able to count on you
Or is your love in vain?

Are you so fast that you cannot see that I must have solitude?
When I am in the darkness, why do you intrude?
Do you know my world, do you know my kind
Or must I explain?
Will you let me be myself
Or is your love in vain?

Well I've been to the mountain and I've been in the wind,
I've been in and out of happiness.
I have dined with kings, I've been offered wings
And I've never been too impressed.

All right, I'll take a chance, I will fall in love with you
If I'm a fool you can have the night, you can have the morning too.
Can you cook and sew, make flowers grow,
Do you understand my pain?
Are you willing to risk it all
Or is your love in vain?

Copyright ©1978 Special Rider Music


Commentary by Seth Rogovoy, author of BOB DYLAN: Prophet, Mystic, Poet, forthcoming from Scribner Books/Simon and Schuster



11/7/2008
Well worth a second look....and a third and fourth.

Always has been a favourite of mine this song. To me it is incredibly open, romantic and honest.

I can completely agree that if you take the line "Can you cook and sew, make flowers grow." by itself it is open to an interpretation which could not be put against the whole song.

However, if you look at the song in its entirety it is the performer looking in on himself, asking questions inside his head which may possibly never become spoken questions.

Well, thatís my view.

Another reason I like this song is that 1978 was the first year I had a real job after leaving college. Iíd left northern England and was working in Greece. Trust me, blasting out Street Legal in the Greek sunshine that year was just pure magic.

From IP address: 222.153.147.137




11/7/2008
Wonderful song. And very very beautiful version sang by Barb Jungr...

From IP address: 85.54.198.196




11/7/2008
This is one of Bob's most powerful I am who I am love songs.Few of us do not know his "world" or his kind,and most cannot explain.Therefore all the world around appears to love in vain.-jan sevastakis

From IP address: 74.229.153.25




11/7/2008
p.s.-meant to write few of us know Bob's "world",I'm not very good at this write quick or loose the thought type of thing!---jan

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11/8/2008
Well when I bought that album I was feeling uncharitable towards men, as were many of my female friends! However I was also going through the disappointment and hurt of a broken relationship and moving towards a new one. This song speaks to me and I am so thankful to have Dylan to listen to at that time and now. As someone else said recently, he tells me how I feel.

From IP address: 91.105.64.180




2/20/2009
Nice if you want someone to tell you what to think. And yes, I hope he's just "thinking" this all to himself. Otherwise - where is the other person? Selfish wee besom! You think other people have no feelings at all? "Me, me, me" is not going to help anyone fall in love with you, no matter how condescendingly you claim you're doing that just now.

From IP address: 129.112.109.250





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