“Watered-Down Love” (1981)

“Water-Down Love” has couplet rhymes throughout, aa/bb, the first verse a good example:

Love that’s pure hopes all things
Believes all things, won’t pull no strings
Won’t sneak up into your room, tall, dark and handsome
Capture your heart and hold it for ransom

There’s a symmetry to having rhyming couplets when speaking of pure love, which each verse does, couples in tune, yes?

The bridge tells another story, the story of a watered-down love, with just the word love as an auto-rhyme ending the last two lines of a mere three:

You don’t want a love that’s pure
You wanna drown love
You want a watered-down love

“love”/”love” not a rhyme, and nothing coupling with “pure.” And as Christopher Ricks points out “You don’t want a love” does not quite go with “You wanna drown love,” as would the expected “You wanna drowned love.” Adjective turned verb with a flick of the wrist.

Furthermore, “love” repeated as much as it is surely waters it down, doesn’t it? Dylan seems to get the point across with the word beginning each verse and then repeating it twice in the bridge two times for a total of twelve times.

But “pure” gets attention, too as a repeated word, appearing there once in each verse and bridge, but not so watered-down.  And pure love, not watered-down love is what is defined in this song, what it does, why it matters more than what the other wants–the watered down kind.

Some of the instruments sound cheap–as love would be watered-down, and the ending with “watered-down: repeated, with “yes you do, you know you do” conveys the message as well.  Watered-down love is cheap and monotonous.  It’s a catchy tune though, and it has bursts of good organ and piano, and rhymes like this (my favorite on the tune) “stupid wishes”/”you suspicious.”

Here’s the studio version of Shot of Love.  Just play it once.  No need to water it down.

http://d1.val.fm/play/bob-dylan-watered-down-love

“Watered-Down Love”

Love that’s pure hopes all things
Believes all things, won’t pull no strings
Won’t sneak up into your room, tall, dark and handsome
Capture your heart and hold it for ransom

You don’t want a love that’s pure
You wanna drown love
You want a watered-down love

Love that’s pure, it don’t make no false claims
Intercedes for you ’stead of casting you blame
Will not deceive you or lead you into transgression
Won’t write it up and make you sign a false confession

You don’t want a love that’s pure
You wanna drown love
You want a watered-down love

Love that’s pure won’t lead you astray
Won’t hold you back, won’t mess up your day
Won’t pervert you, corrupt you with stupid wishes
It don’t make you envious, it don’t make you suspicious

You don’t want a love that’s pure
You wanna drown love
You want a watered-down love

Love that’s pure ain’t no accident
Always on time, is always content
An eternal flame, quietly burning
Never needs to be proud, restlessly yearning

You don’t want a love that’s pure
You wanna drown love
You want a watered-down love

 

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2 Comments

  1. RB

     /  July 10, 2014

    Fun song! Just don’t water down my scotch….

    Reply

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