So, this happened.
ETA: From Rolling Stone:
Ke$ha’s love for Bob Dylan is well known, and she has long touted his 1969 release Nashville Skyline as her favorite record of all time. But when it came time to record something special for Amnesty International, she set her sights on “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” from 1963’s The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan instead. She had no idea that the experience of recording it would turn into the cathartic and emotional experience that it did.
“I didn’t want this to sound like a pop version of a Bob Dylan song,” Ke$ha tells Rolling Stone. “That’s the last thing I wanted this to sound like.”She brought her friend, producer Bob Ezrin, on board, and the two of them discussed an interpretation of the lyrics that positioned the song as a suicide note from the female perspective. But then it became something different entirely; something personal.
The first time Ke$ha sang it through, she was all alone, in her bedroom, singing it straight to her laptop. It was one of the first quiet moments that she had to herself in three years, and the first time she had even been home in a few months. Suddenly she was sans entourage, without any managers or body guards surrounding her.
“And there were particular lyrics in the song that you can just tell, once they came out of my mouth – the emotion caught up with me and I just started weeping,” she says. “It’s something that I didn’t plan on, that wasn’t contrived at all. It just sort of happened.”
The suicide note interpretation that Ezrin and Ke$ha talked about had evolved into a different kind of message. “It seemed like a suicide note to the love of my life and to my former life,” she says. “Because everything in my life has changed so much. And it went from being this ambiguous interpretation – this idea we had – to it being so completely relevant to everything I’m going through. I’m so lucky and blessed, but there are moments that are just so incredibly lonely that it’s indescribable. And I’ve never written a song that’s admitted that. Singing Bob Dylan’s words and feeling my own emotion through it – it was a very intense moment for me.”
Paging Frank Kogan.
I WILL FOLLOW THIS WOMAN TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH. A PLAGUE ON ALL MUSIC CRITICS WHO DISMISSED HER. A PLAGUE!!!!!!!!
Reminds me of that Cat Power Covers album. Supergood.
so, honest to god you guys, i mostly hate dylan covers? they’re kind of like spiritually abhorrent to me a good percentage of the time? but yeah i love the shit out of this (and props to ke$ha for being like “DID NOT WANT TO DO POP VERSION OF DYLAN.” my pop-love has few limits but so far that’s a hard and fast one). helps that she picked the best song off freewheelin bob dylan YEAH I SAID IT, BITE ME, BLOWIN IN THE WIND.
also, i love her interpretation of it as like, a new spin but not a gimmick? on the contrary it’s kind of an ideal (note: not THE ideal) female response to a dylan break-up song (my mom has always interpreted “it ain’t me babe” as not quite encouraging suicide but not exactly dissuading the idea either).
also, oblig: ALL OF MY VERY FAVORITE THINGS HAPPENING AT ONCE
Right, so after having listened to it 5 or 6 times, I adore the ambient noise, I love the cello - I especially love that the cello follows the chord progression most of the time but not always, occasionally resulting in dissonance but not so much that it is being SHOVED IN YOUR FACE and the faded bits of guitar feedback towards the end. It’s a brave choice, but it pays off because it lets K$ fuck with the pacing and meter of the lines, when a clear rhythm section would have left less space for expressiveness.
yes to all of this. especially the ambient noise, it’s like aural scenery. it lends the illusion of space that heightens the loneliness she talks about & that is totally present in the song. i love what a performance it is, with the snot-nosed sniffling and the breaking voice and the lines that fall off into a whisper, an interesting mix of theatrical artifice and something that feels more raw. ke$ha at the edge, pondering the fall. trying to keep it together when she’s already broken.
I have never enjoyed Ke$ha. And this particular Dylan song isn’t just my favorite Dylan song, but in my top 10 songs of all time.
And still this cover is… just… wow.