“True Love Tends To Forget” (1978)

Image result for street legalI’ve binged listened to this song in my car a number of times.  I enjoy the interplay of the instruments, the lyrics, and Dylan’s vocals especially in the twice repeated bridge,

I was lyin’ down in the reeds without any oxygen
I saw you in the wilderness among the men
Saw you drift into infinity and come back again
All you got to do is wait and I’ll tell you when

The rhyming in this song is all couplets, each verse strumming and humming with aa/bb.  So it sounds like a love song, and “love” is in the title.  For Christoper Ricks, rhyming involves memory. We must remember what the sound of a previous word was for us to get the rhyme.  He even refers to rhyming as “a kind of loving, two things becoming one, yet not losing their own identity.” And this song captures that paradox that is love because as Michael Gray says about all the songs on Street Legal, “Every song deals with love’s betrayal.”  And maybe when the need to assert one’s identity becomes stronger than the need to become one with another, betrayal of that love is inevitable or even necessary.

There’s struggle and pleading in this song, this song draped, cloaked in “loving” couplets.  The beloved though loved is hard to recognize, days are like Russian roulette, she is seen with other men, and with her he experiences a weekend from hell. But the last verse gets out what is really on his mind or in his heart,

You belong to me, baby, without any doubt
Don’t forsake me, baby, don’t sell me out

A reminder–one thing certain–without doubt even, she belongs to him (remember another Dylan song of that title?).  That can’t be forgotten even though true love tends to forget.  “Tends” is the key word. It’s not a certainty this forgetting with true love involved.  It can be defied.  And maybe through the rhyming so certainly so without a doubt couplets from beginning to end keeps the balance of love, the Ricksonian one–becoming one while keeping both ones’ identities one, not betraying each other, not betraying each one’s self.

Some inventive rhymes, too, and assonance in this tune, e.g., eyes/recognize; near/sincere; oxygen/men; Mexico to Tibet/tends to forget. Each joined by similar sounds, each its own meaning.

Here it is, in “Remastered” form:

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