Jesse Jarnow

“i wanna be your partner” – bob dylan & “fourth time around” – yo la tengo

“I Wanna Be Your Partner” – Bob Dylan (download)
from Dimestore Medicine bootleg, c. 1966

“Fourth Time Around” – Yo La Tengo (download) (buy)
from I’m Not There OST

(files expire December 21st)

(Re-entry continues…) Yo La Tengo’s two Bob Dylan covers on the soundtrack to Todd Haynes’ I’m Not There — “I Wanna Be Your Lover” and “Fourth Time Around” — constitute a tiny sub-category in Dylan’s work: response songs to the Beatles. The former lifts its chorus from Lennon/McCartney so-cast-off-they-let-Ringo-sing “I Wanna Be Your Man” (supplanting Dylan’s earlier draft, the proto-PC “I Wanna Be Your Partner”). “Fourth Time Around,” meanwhile, is Dylan’s rewrite of “Norwegian Wood,” with a similar plot (cheekily oblique conversation about an affair) set to a similar melody in a similar mood. Dylan’s version is way more sly, of course, with its wry put-downs (“your words are not clear, you better spit out your gum”) and the snotty/Britty crutch/crotch double entendre at its end (“I didn’t ask for your crutch, now don’t ask for mine”). Intentional choice on YLT’s part to mirror Haynes’ meta-textual orgy? Only the nose knows for sure. The nose being Ringo.


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