Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by onlyconnect, Nov 6, 2017.
no idea what the lyrics mean, nor do i care
I don't think anyone has yet commented on the music and the sound. I remember reading a contemporary review that compared the song to a lighter-textured "Changing of the Guards," and I agree. The subtle accompaniment reflects the mysterious, visionary nature of the lyrics and allows Dylan's vocals room to breathe. I always wished Dylan recorded more songs like this, particularly in latter years, which would suit his present voice.
I think that's the most political verse, as Jokerman is a politician who might draw support from Sodom and Gomorrah, even though he doesn't have a connection to them in a meaningful way. He also draws political support by seeking to identify himself with a certain martyr, yet punishes a rich man by throwing him into the fiery furnace merely for being rich rather than for religious reasons. This is in contrast to King Nebuchadnezzar trying to kill Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego by throwing them into the fiery furnace for not obeying the decree to worship a golden image. Jokerman punishes the rich because it gives him political power. Jokerman doesn't have a meaningful connection to Sodom, Gomorrah, or the name of the rich man because they are trivial concerns that only serve to add to his political power.
In this song, Dylan is concerned both with Jokerman's passive attitude about freedom and truth and with his visiting a place that he has no real personal stake in other than garnering political power.
To me it is a very interesting song, that may or may not make any sense to some. It is my favorite song of his from the 80’s.
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