Saturday 15 October 2011

Make You Feel My Love

I can't get enough of this song. This is why Bob Dylan is a genius. It's why anyone who is passionate about music appreciates him. Adele certainly does. She made 'Make You Feel My Love' her own. It has a sadness and a world weariness that the original doesn't capture. I've been listening to both versions repeatedly. I love them both but for different reasons -- because they both carry different messages. 

Songs are a bit like movies. The Dylan version of the song was written & directed by Bob Dylan, but the other version was written by Dylan and directed by Adele. It's her version. It works and it keeps you up at night listening on repeat because she's an artist, she's putting herself into the music -- all of those years of singing, of having her heart broken, of perfecting her art -- they're present and alive in the song. You don't get that with X Factor contestants. They may sound beautiful for four minutes but then you don't care anymore. 

The Dylan version is genius. It's resolute and assured. Dylan knows who he is, knows what he has to offer. He sings: 

"I know you haven’t made your mind up yet
But I would never do you wrong
I’ve known it from the moment that we met
No doubt in my mind where you belong"

And you trust him. You believe him. He'd never let her down.  

Both versions are masterpieces -- that's the rarest thing. It works because they're so different, despite being almost the same. It's the subtleties, the nuance, the tiny moments of honesty in their voices. 

The best line is "You ain’t seen nothing like me yet", it's the type of thing we think when we're feeling good about ourselves; when we're firing forth with confidence and self-belief. At least; that's how it is with the Dylan version. He says it with certainty, even a touch of arrogance. 

When Adele sings the line, she sounds vulnerable. You just want to give her a big hug. It reminds me of an old girlfriend --  A few years back I was going out with a lovely woman; and the sad thing was that she liked me more than I did her. And the worst part was how aware she was of that fact. And I remember, as she felt me pulling away from what we had, she told me that I'd never have another girlfriend like her, because she's the real deal and there's no-one better than her. It's not as arrogant as it sounds, she just loved me. But she didn't really believe what she said and neither did I. Things were ending. And that's how Adele sounds when she sings "You ain’t seen nothing like me yet"; it's like she doesn't quite believe it. 

That's how it sounds to me -- but my ears are colored by my own thoughts and experiences. That's why art is so subjective, we all see and hear things differently. 

It sounds to me like Bob Dylan is patiently making his love realise he's the one for her, whereas Adele is poignantly and regretably losing the love of her life and not quite accepting it.

At least, that's how these songs sound to me on this particular night. They'll mean something else next time, and that's how you know they're keepers.

Care to share?


  1. Great post. Wonderfully articulate and well written. It's funny, I've been listening to Adele's version of that song a lot lately and am thinking of using it as a lullaby for a character I'm writing to sing to her newborn son.

  2. I want to thank you for this post because you've shared a song I'd never heard before; either version.

    I've always respected Bob Dylan as a songwrite but could never listen to his voice much. I gave both listens a try and Adele's version just really tugged at my heart. Your explanation of it was perfect, it was directed by her.

    The way you wrote and directed this blog was a love letter that's as passionate and cleverly constructed as their performances. After reading this, I remember what I love about writing. Especially when something so wonderful inspires great words about it.