Bob Dylan Releases New Single ‘I Contain Multitudes’

Words by Riley Fitzgerald
Graphic by Press

Bob Dylan has shared a new single titled ‘I Contain Multitudes‘.

Following the release of ‘Murder Most Foul’ on March 26, Dylan’s new number takes a line for American poet Walt Whitman‘s Song of Myself for its title.

In keeping with its name, Dylan’s new composition makes a number of literary namechecks in addition to discussing his fondness for “British bad boys” the Rolling Stones, pretty women, blue jeans and fast food.

As Bob Dylan himself puts it, “I’m a man of contradiction, I contain many moods. I contain multitudes.”

This is not the first time Dylan has alluded to Whitman in his work.

‘Chimes of Freedom’, ‘Desolation Row’ and ‘Cross The Green Mountain’ all make direct to Whitman’s transcendent poetry.

Dylan also recalled walking past the poet’s home on 7th Avenue after first moving to New York in 2011 book Chronicles – Volume 1.

I paused momentarily imaging him printing away and singing the true song of his soul,” Bob Dylan wrote of Whitman, who passed away in 1892.

He had the most grand view of America,” Dylan shared in one 2009 interview with Rolling Stone. “Almost like he’s America himself.”

Dylan being Dylan, this is is about as much explanation of his admiration for Whitman as a fan is likely to get.

An extract of Whitman’s poem below.

Song of Myself
The past and present wilt—I have fill’d them, emptied them.
And proceed to fill my next fold of the future.
Listener up there! what have you to confide to me?
Look in my face while I snuff the sidle of evening,
(Talk honestly, no one else hears you, and I stay only a minute longer.)
Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
I concentrate toward them that are nigh, I wait on the door-slab.
Who has done his day’s work? who will soonest be through with his supper?
Who wishes to walk with me?
Will you speak before I am gone? will you prove already too late?

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Bob Dylan. I Contain Multitudes. Link in bio.

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