This is not the same Dylan, glorying in the down and out life of the folk singer. He is angry now, weary of wailing about the hard times:
Tears of rage, tears of grief,
Why must I always be the thief?
Come to me now, you know we're so alone,
And life is brief.
The anger comes out more strongly in "This Wheel's on Fire." Again, there is a story, someone to meet again some day, lace to tie in a sailor's knot, but what does it all mean? All we know is
This wheel's on fire, rolling down the road.
Just notify my next of kin,
This wheel shall explode.
In "Blond on Blond" Dylan reached the exhausting limit of rock, but it left him filled with tension. In these two songs he is getting some of the pent-up anger out of his system. He had to make this emotional break with "Blond on Blond" before he could begin to create a new style.
"I Shall Be Released", all Dylan, is like an old time spiritual, the comfort Dylan needed before he could write the far-away, preaching songs of John Wesley Harding.
They say every man needs protection,
They say that every man must fall.
Yet I swear I see my reflection,
Somewhere so high above this wall.
I see my light come shining,
From the West down to the East.
Any day now, any day now,
I shall be released.
For Dylan this song is a transition to a new form, and it fits nicely with the band's own songs. The Big Pink sound is not as glamorous as straight rock, but its simple folk flavor, spiced with a hint of rock, is a welcome change.