If Bob Dylan's "Not Dark Yet," from Time Out of Mind was my humid whiskey-soaked night anthem last summer (which it was), the sticky porch-sitting, cricket-listening, pensive streetlight watching theme for Summer-ville, 2008, is Tom Waits's "Hold On," from Mule Variations. It is equally as haunting, beautiful, and evocative of universal human suffering, but it also manages to be "Not Dark Yet"'s exact antidote and antithesis, both tonally and lyrically.
Dylan '97 (Sylvan '07):
I was born here and I'll die here against my will
I know it looks like I'm moving, but I'm standing still
Every nerve in my body is so vacant and numb
I can't even remember what it was I came here to get away from
Don't even hear a murmur of a prayer
It's not dark yet, but it's getting there.
Waits '99 (Sylvan '08):
Down by the Riverside motel,
It's 10 below and falling
By a 99 cent store she closed her eyes
And started swaying
But it's so hard to dance that way
When it's cold and there's no music
Well your old hometown is so far away
But inside your head there's a record
That's playing a song called
Hold on, hold on
You really got to hold on
Take my hand, I'm standing right here
And just hold on.