Bob Dylan Countdown #177: “Maybe Someday”

Like many Dylan fans, I’m sure, I demurred at buying Knocked Out Loaded, an album which was widely derided as “Brownsville Girl” and pray for rain. Since I already had “Brownsville Girl” on a Greatest Hits compilation, I couldn’t justify spending the ten bucks.

It was probably the turn of the millennium when my completist urge got the best of me and I picked up the dregs of the Dylan catalog. When I checked out Knocked Out Loaded, I was pleasantly surprised by “Maybe Someday.” I think that any of you readers who may have either overlooked it or ignored it completely might be bowled over as well.

Don’t get me wrong:  There are problems, primarily with the production, which is a bit of a train wreck. The backing vocals are way too high in the mix, and there is a tinny sound that dates the song precisely to the Miami Vice era. Even a few Heartbreakers on the recording (Mike Campbell and Howie Epstein) can’t quite pull this recording out of the fire, and that has to be factored into its place on this list.

Still, this song is too good to be kept down entirely. At a time when his lyrics were at a career nadir, Dylan dug deep and found something special. At first glance, it seems like a putdown of a girl who mistreats the narrator and misinterprets his intentions. But Bob rarely is that one-sided, and sure enough, there are signs that the narrator maybe hasn’t gone the extra mile to keep this relationship afloat.

And so, as the song progresses, rancor gives way to regret, anger to acceptance. Just as “Most Of The Time” uses the title phrase in a way to suggest that the rare times are the most painful, “Maybe Someday” repeats its refrain throughout as a way of speculating on things that will likely never come to pass.

In typical Dylan fashion, after digressions about pieces of silver and San Francisco, the most straightforward and heartfelt lament is saved for the end:  “Maybe someday you’ll see that it’s true/There’s no greater love than I had for you.” In keeping with the theme, maybe someday this underrated track will get the recognition it deserves.


2 Comments on “Bob Dylan Countdown #177: “Maybe Someday””

  1. wardo says:

    This is certainly a daring one to defend. This album came out on my birthday, the same day I saw Dylan live for the first time (with TP & the H’s, no less). The only thing that stood out for me about this track was that last line. And you’re right, he’d improve the lyrical approach on “Most Of The Time”.

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