Bob Dylan – False Prophet | Lyrics Meaning & Song Review

The legendary Bob Dylan continues his streak of releasing new music with the brand new “False Prophet” single out on May 8, 2020. With the release of the song, Bob Dylan also announced his upcoming studio album ‘Rough And Rowdy Ways’ along with the album release date. 2020 might not be so bad after all.

“False Prophet” is the third of the new songs released by Bob Dylan in 2020. Starting with “Murder Most Foul” on March 27, 2020, he followed up with “I Contain Multitudes” on April 16th. The former is also Dylan’s longest record to-date.

The new ballad contains a massive 10 verses and no hook. There is a story unfolding in these verses that touch several worldly topics such as life and death, love and hatred, and about the singer himself.

Listen to “False Prophet” by Bob Dylan

“False Prophet” Lyrics Review and Song Meaning

Verse 1

In the beginning verse of the song, Bob Dylan pretty much sums up the existence of every human being on this earth. When the grind of life begins, it seems as if every day is just an unending parade of mockery. We have to deal with so many awful feelings such as “anger, bitterness, and doubt.” Bob Dylan has seen this happen throughout his existence. We would too if we dare open our eyes. When you open yourself to the world, the world really does make a grand entrance into your soul and doesn’t really leave until you are six feet under.

Verse 2

“Hello Mary Lou” is a song written by singer Gene Pitney and first recorded by Johnny Duncan in 1960. However, Bob Dylan adds “You girls mean business and I do too” which flips the theme of the verse upside-down. “Mean business” could refer to being serious or literally doing business with them. What kind of business? This is up for debate.

Verse 3

In these lyrics, Bob Dylan professes himself as the opposite of “treason,” “strife,” and “unlived meaningless life.” Whilst some may view this as being prophetic, Dylan himself professes to be otherwise; “I ain’t no false prophet.”

“I am the enemy of Strife. I do not wish to excite or stir up anything,” is also a famous quote by Martin Luther King.

“I go where only the lonely can go” can be viewed as being one with themselves. To be prophetic, one must understand themselves first. And such a person can be a loner. And in this age of Internet, without strife, you are just another person in existence.

Verse 4

In the fourth verse of “False Prophet,” Bob Dylan talks a bit about himself. And this is one unparalleled biography.

“Second to none
Last of the best”

He may have a lesser fortune than a mumble rapper of the 21st Century, but his legacy is invaluable and lasting.

Verse 5

‘The Garden’ usually refers to the Garden of Eden as mentioned in The Bible. The Garden of Eden, bountiful and beautiful, is also considered the place where the ‘fall’ of humankind took place when Eve consumed the forbidden fruit.

Verse 6

Holy Grail‘ refers to the folklore as old as time which refers to an object to contain the powers of eternal happiness and youth. The term is also used to describe something that cannot be found, as people have tried to find the Holy Grail in the real world for centuries. Hence, Bob Dylan might be referring that people are all looking for the “next” thing in their existence that they will never reach a destination in life. They will forever be chasing an elusive dream.

Verse 7

Bob Dylan lets us know that his appearance may suggest something entirely different to what he is on the inside. He is a man of vision and achievement, but his ghostly exterior would deceit your eyes. Often is the case with most people among us. We usually don’t see a person for what they are on the inside.

Verse 8

In the eighth verse of “False Prophet,” Bob Dylan does sound like a prophet. He tells his fans that “there’s nothing to hold” in life. Everything slips away with time, even your life. So why not add meaning to your existence by making yourself a follower of the righteous path–whichever God it may be.

Verse 9

Bob Dylan is most likely talking to all of us listening to him. A “poison brain” is something that is polluted with a certain way of thinking or thought process. The singer might be talking about our misplaced faiths, consumerism, greed, jealousy, or a thousand other vile thoughts that crosses our mind.

Verse 10

The final verse of the song is Bob Dylan’s final attempt at spreading his word on salvation. He also adds “Can’t remember when I was born / And I forgot when I died.” Is Bob Dylan speaking as himself? Was he speaking as himself this whole song? Was he a Prophet of The God? or Satan?

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind…!

But isn’t Bob Dylan the same? Doesn’t he fall into the same corrupt and misguided category as all of us? Well, he proclaims that he is no false prophet. So he definitely seems to be within his rights to speak out these thoughts.

Let us hear what you think about this brand new Bob Dylan track in the comments below.

Adam McDonald

Hi! I am the founder and lead author and editor of Justrandomthings music community. A vast range of personal interests from Hip-Hop to Country to Hard Rock and Punk music will keep you entertained.

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