“You’re a Big Girl Now”

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“I can change I swear, oh, oh / See what you can do”. This is a pretty remarkable break-up song that picks right up from where “Simple Twist of Fate” left off.

“You’re A Big Girl Now” is one hell of a passive aggressive love song. Parts are pure, beautiful mush:

Bird on the horizon, sittin’ on a fence

He’s singin’ his song for me at his own expense

And I’m just like that bird, oh, oh

Singin’ just for you

I hope that you can hear

Hear me singin’ through these tears

While other parts, much less so:

Love is so simple, to quote a phrase

You’ve known it all the time, I’m learnin’ it these days

Oh, I know where I can find you, oh, oh

In somebody’s room

It’s a price I have to pay

You’re a big girl all the way

The New York version of this song can be found on Biograph. It’s much more spare in the opening, and gets richer as the fiddle and organ come in during the third verse (the fourth on the album version, he reverses the order of the verses in this version). The Minneapolis version has fuller guitar, plus the cymbal-playing of the drummer. The guitar playing is quite lovely, but Dylan’s vocals are better of the New York version with a single huge exception – the “oooooohs” on the album version are superior. It’s a conundrum. Hard to pick which one is actually preferable. He didn’t play this live in 1975 at all (it debuted in 1978, but has been played more than 200 times since then), so he doesn’t break the tie. I think if push came to shove, I’d go with the version on Biograph.

Of course, the great thing about the song is just how ridiculously patronizing it is. Try to sing the title of this song to any woman that you’ve ever broken up with and you’re likely to get punched in the face. For those who want to argue that Dylan’s break-up songs convey a touch of misogyny, this is a good one to add to the argument.

Did you know that Lloyd Cole covered this song? I didn’t!

Scary Dylan photo above has nothing to do with the song, but it’s just so great.

3 thoughts on ““You’re a Big Girl Now”

  1. Kallen Law

    Bob Dylan was the original Drake.

    (Odds are slim that you or anyone reading this will understand the above but whatever.)

  2. Rebecca

    Excuse me, but you’re assuming a bunch of middle aged Canadians don’t know who Drake is? You know we grew up on DeGrassi, don’t you? Jimmy rules!

    And now back to the Dylanfest.

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