013 – “God Knows”

Episode 13. “God Knows.” The Apartment. May 25, 2017. Rainier.

“God Knows” was officially released on 1990’s Under the Red Sky but was originally recorded for Oh, Mercy (those cuts being heard in 2008 on The Bootleg Series, Volume 8: Tell Tale Signs).



My reactions to the song

  • I like it. I like the thumping bass more so on TBLS version than Red Sky
  • Uncharacteristic musical introduction
  • The fading out of the Red Sky works because God knows” is an endless concept so him knowing you’re ugly, strugglin, need water, be bold, or need a sweater.
  • It’s a weird return to the openly religious nature from a decade ago it was recorded between Born in Time” and Disease of Conceit” 
  • Other reactions:
    • “The first Dylan album after Oh Mercy shows Dylan characteristically retreating from that album’s mainstream production values and safe terrain, and refusing to offer a follow-up.” (Gray, BDE)
    • “(The best thing about God Knows’ being the way the shape of the song mocks the sermonising inside it, perhaps unintentionally, the singer has to rant more and more to squeeze the lines in as it works itself up like a sermon: and as soon as he starts to rant, they start fading him out. For the listener, it’s as if you’re slowly but surely closing the door on a Jehovah’s Witness.)” (Gray, BDE)

Under the Red Sky

  • Dylan set out to write an album for his 4-year old daughter (hey, I’m the same age as his 4-year old daughter!) so he wanted to write songs in a nursery-style format. It’s dedicated to her as Gabby Goo Goo.” This often is overblown, as all Dylan things go, as him doing Dr. Seuss.
  • It’s also weird because Dylan had so many guest artists on this, of all, his albums: Jimmie Vaughan, Slash, Elton John, George Harrison, David Crosby, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Bruce Hornsby.
  • This is a record that’s always been lower on my list of Dylan records but, like so many in this period, I’m excited for a revisit.


ENDING / 1-652

Kelly: #43 – “Seven Curses”

Real #594 – “Wallflower”

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