Interestingly, at the time this article was published the conversation in the comments section alluded to how Dylan had been on the Nobel Prize radar and I remarked, ‘May be one day he might scoop the prize’. Well we know how that turned out!
Dylan is using his voice in Pay in Blood to project a dialogue between four distinct protagonists in this protest song. The first half entails a fierce exchange between ‘slave’ and ‘slaveowner’ but then the song transfigures into a comparably merciless showdown between ‘Soldier’ and ‘Politician’. I’ve always considered it in some sense Dylan’s omniscient update of his own early period piece -‘Masters of War’.
I was translating Pay in Blood into Spanish for a friend when I realised a clear division between the first four lines of the verse and the subsequent four. Then it became apparent to me which characters he was representing in each 4 line stanza. Also his voice changes markedly and the instrumentals shift to reflect the alteration.
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