If Taylor Swift is boy-crazy, is Dylan’s ‘Idiot Wind’ confessional?

Taylor Swift is a great writer, yet lately, the media seems determined to trivialize her lyrics as “boy-crazy” and “confessional.” Huh, I thought lots of artists, including, believe it or not,  males, wrote about love and break-ups.


I read all over the internet about how Taylor Swift humiliated herself in April’s Vanity Fair. I finally bought it and to my surprise, the actual piece is so great, I gave it to my nine year old daughter to read. (April’s Vanity Fair is great for kids. There’s a good piece on Malala Yousafzai and also one on Sheryl Sandberg, both which my daughter read.)

What I love about the VF article on Swift is that it makes clear what a driven, hard worker she is:

Watching her rehearse that day, it became clear that Swift works incredibly hard. While her band– which she commands in a friendly, laid back way– was taking a break, she continued practicing, playing songs on her guitar and piano, and going over sound issues with her soundman. “I’m the type of person, I have to study to get an A on the test,” she would tell me later. “I have to work really hard to get that record deal– I have to spend years at it to get good. I have to practice to be good at guitar. I have to write 100 songs before I write one good one.

I would’ve bribed Swift to convey that exact message to my perfectionist, easily frustrated daughter. But, lucky me, no bribery needed and my ethics remain intact.

In another part I love, Swift says:

For a female to write about her feelings and then be portrayed as some clingy, insane, desperate girlfriend …that’s taking it and turning it and twisting it into something that is frankly a little sexist.


This from the woman who says she’s not a feminist. But as I wrote about it then, she is 23 year old. Look at her actions, not what she calls herself. I am so glad she said this. It is SO sexist. For God’s sake, Eminem writes incessantly about break-ups, not to mention classic stars like the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan. Would anyone ever call Dylan, the great poet, “confessional?” Or any male artist girl-crazy? Is that even a term?

Check out the lyrics of “Idiot Wind” rumored to be about Dylan’s wife Sara. Does this song remind you of anyone younger and blonder?

Someone’s got it in for me, they’re planting stories in the press
Whoever it is I wish they’d cut it out quick but when they will I can only guess
They say I shot a man named Gray and took his wife to Italy
She inherited a million bucks and when she died it came to me
I can’t help it if I’m lucky.

People see me all the time and they just can’t remember how to act
Their minds are filled with big ideas, images and distorted facts
Even you yesterday you had to ask me where it was at
I couldn’t believe after all these years you didn’t know even me better than that
Sweet lady.

Idiot wind blowing every time your move your mouth
Blowing down the backroads heading south
Idiot wind blowing every time you move your teeth
You’re an idiot babe
It’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe

I ran into the fortune-teller who said beware of lightning that might strike
I haven’t known peace and quit for so long I can’t remember what it’s like
There’s a lone soldier on the cross smoke pouring out of a boxcar door
You didn’t know it you didn’t think it could be done in the final end he won the wars
After losing every battle.

I woke up on the roadside daydreaming about the way things sometimes are
Visions of your chestnut mare shoot through my head and are making me see stars
You hurt the ones that I love best and cover up the truth with lies
One day you’ll be in the ditch, flies buzzing around your eyes
Blood on your saddle.

Idiot wind blowing through the flowers on your tomb
Blowing through the curtains in your room
Idiot wind blowing every time you move your teeth
You’re an idiot babe
It’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe.

It was gravity which pulled us down and destiny which broke us apart
You tamed the lion in my cage but it just wasn’t enough to change my heart
Now everything’s a little upside down, as a matter of fact the wheels have stopped
What’s good is bad what’s bad is good you’ll find out when you reach the top
You’re on the bottom.I noticed at the ceremony, your corrupt ways had finally made you blind
I can’t remember your face anymore, your mouth has changed your eyes don’t look
Into mine
The priest wore black on the seventh day and sat stone faced while the
Building burned
I waited for you on the running boards, near the cypress trees while the
Springtime turned
Slowly into autumn.

Idiot wind blowing like a circle around my skull
From the Grand Coulee Dam to Capitol
Idiot wind blowing every time you move you teeth
You’re an idiot babe.
It’s a wonder that you still know how to breathe.

I can’t feel you anymore, I can’t even touch the books you’ve read
Every time I crawl past your door, I been wishing I was somebody else instead
Down the highway down the tracks down the road to ecstasy
I followed you beneath the stars hounded by your memory
And all you raging glory.

I been double-crossed now for the very last time and now I’m finally free
I kissed goodbye the howling beast on the borderline which separated you from me
You’ll never know the hurt I suffered not the pain I raise above
And I’ll never know the same about you your holiness or your kind of love
And it makes me feel so sorry.

Idiot wind blowing through the buttons of our coats
Blowing through the letters that we wrote
Idiot wind blowing through the dust upon our shelves
We’re idiots babe
It’s a wonder we can even feed ourselves.

I admit it, I loveTaylor Swift’s ‘Red’

My daughter and I have a favorite song on Red: “All Too Well.” I think it’s about Jake Gylenhaal, clues being: reference to sister, plaid shirt, he’s close to his mom, Taylor had Thanksgiving with his family at Maggie G.’s house and that’s scarf season, right?

Whatever you think about Swift, and I’m a fan, she’s great with lyrics. Some lines from “Well” I really like “you called me up again just to break me like a promise”…”Cause here we are again on that little town street, You almost ran the red cause you were looking over at me” (Can totally picture that) and finally “Time won’t fly it’s like I’m paralyzed by it.”

Swift is a talented story-teller. I recommend the whole CD.

“All Too Well”

I walked through the door with you
The air was cold but something ’bout it felt like home somehow and I
Left my scarf there at your sister’s house
And you still got it in your drawer even now

Oh, your sweet disposition
And my wide-eyed gaze
We’re singing in a car getting lost Upstate
The autumn leaves falling down like pieces into place
And I can picture it after all these days
And I know it’s long gone, and that magic´s not here no more
And it might be okay, but I’m not fine at all

Cause here we are again on that little town street
You almost ran the red cause you were looking over at me
Wind in my hair, I was there, I remember it all too well

Photo album on the counter
Your cheeks were turning red
You used to be a little kid with glasses in a twin-sized bed
And your mother’s telling stories ’bout you on the t-ball team
You tell me about your past thinking your future was me

And I know it’s long gone, and there was nothing else I could do
And I forget about you long enough to forget why I needed to

Cause here we are again in the middle of the night
We’re dancing round the kitchen in the refrigerator light
Down the stairs, I was there, I remember it all too well

And maybe we got lost in translation
Maybe I asked for too much
But maybe this thing was a masterpiece
´til you tore it all up
Running scared, I was there, I remember it all too well

Hey you called me up again just to break me like a promise
So casually cruel in the name of being honest
I’m a crumbled up piece of paper lying here
Cause I remember it all all all too well

Time won’t fly it’s like I’m paralyzed by it
I´d like to be my old self again
But I’m still trying to find it
After plaid shirt days and nights when you made me your own
Now you mail back my things and I walk home alone
But you keep my old scarf from that very first week
Cause it reminds you of innocence and it smells like me
You can’t get rid of it, cause you remember it all too well Yeah

Cause there we are again when I loved you so
Back before you lost the one real thing you’ve ever known
It was rare, I was there, I remember it all too well

Wind in my hair, you were there, you remember it all
Down the stairs, you were there, you remember it all
It was rare, I was there, I remember it all too well

Reel Girl rates “Red” ***HH***