Syria is a country in need of help right now, and Dylan's music sings out for it. Take a listen with me, and stand up and do something good for them.
As you may or may not know, I typically listen to these albums on Spotify. It's just easier, and I can drag and drop what I like into my "Stuff I Wouldn't Mind Hearing Again" playlist. I started this up in the same manner, but the CD was actually sitting right next to me, considering I saw Dylan play a show a few weeks ago. I opened it to see if any good liner notes were in there, and I was blown away to see that there are actual descriptions of the songs, where they came from, and what they mean, all within a simple two-page insert. This guy knows how to get to my musical heart, clearly. "Blood Like Fire," the title track, kicks things up in this really fascinating almost western way, with a very steady traveling pace. It's a great opener that introduces the strong people of the nation. The song was written four years before it truly came into meaning, as on March 15th of 2011, the Syrian revolution began.
"Feza Feza" features the opener from that same concert, Omnia Hegazy. This is a cry out like nothing else. Dylan explains that "Feza Feza La Horan" was shouted around his father-in-laws house, and throughout the home province as a cry for help. What an incredibly story of the people and what they stand for, just simply looking for peace and acceptance in this incredibly hard time. The song itself is almost reminiscent of old protest songs of the 60's, with a swaying sweetness of peace and love.
In an awesome 90's-esq twist of music, "Weary World" tells of the people who are literally living in the hardest world you can probably imagine. Seriously, listening to this makes you wonder why no one's waking up to do anything at all. Listen in to the lyrics closely, because the music seems to be so light that you may consider starting to dance around. But really, the words are so dark and painful in their descriptions of these horrific sights. I don't want to drag anyone down, but a predominant image that haunted Dylan while writing this was that of a baby with shrapnel in his chest, dying in his father's arm… which you can hear sung to you around the three minute mark of the song.
"Not a Civil War" took my by surprise. My thought was that it was deeper - as in there was nothing civil about this war. And yes, that's the case. But really, it's a call to the media to get it right. There are a lot of foreign powers involved, taking advantage of the fractured country, yet the media keeps referring to it like it's all just a squabble within the borders. The song is, yet again, very light and a-typical of protest music of old, on the surface. There's more here for sure.
The final song on this short but powerful EP is "Syria the Healer." This was featured here on ELAH a few weeks back as a song of the day, and it's so catchy I can't help but still sing along. This was a song written for a movement for peace entitled The Moral Alternative. This was run by Dylan's cousin, who was imprisoned for two months in a cell "too small to lie down in." This song is for him and Syria, in a beautiful display of the country's inner spirit that heals them all with or without the much-needed super power help from around the world.
And if you stick around just a few more minutes, you'll get to hear this simply gorgeous soft acoustic version of "Feza Feza" that seems to somehow bring even MORE meaning to the song's words. Funny how simplicity can be even more powerful.
Added to My Playlist:
- "Blood Like Fire"
- "Feza Feza"
- "Weary World"
- "Not A Civil War"
- "Syria the Healer"
Anyone going into this with knowledge of the stance taken on the situation in Syria is bound to know the music will be powerful. Personally, I was excited to hear it recorded since I've heard it all once live before. But take yourself out of my shoes, or even someone with prior knowledge - I'm guessing that'll actually leave a lot of you. Did you listen to the real words? And the real meaning? There's something powerful here, and a message to be heard. I don't get preachy every often, but stand up and listen.