130: Tamborine

Around the World in a Day (1985)
Bob Dylan’s Mr Tamborine Man has people arguing to this day over what the tambourine represents. Is it drugs? Inspiration? Distraction from existential loneliness? His poetry is beautifully ambiguous enough that people can relate on many levels. With Prince’s tambourine I think almost everybody’s in agreement as to what he’s singing about. Let’s just say Dylan’s line “my hands can’t feel to grip” does not apply. But who needs nth dimensional lyrical dexterity when Prince runs the gamut of emotion from yelled frustration (“too bad we’re not allowed to scream”) to comically condescending (“yeah, yeah, too bad”) all in the same line. Tamborine is laugh-out-loud funny and yet the claustrophobic arrangement of drums, bass, triangle and, yes, a tambourine makes for an unsettling experience. The weird mix of joy and self-loathing that comes with playing your own tambourine. Boomers can keep their jingle jangle morning.