Continuing my Half the Man marathon, “Not At All” is an epic song featuring a Faustian character who comes to the end of the line and realizes that all his life’s dreams are evaporating before his eyes. It was originally entitled “Dialogue with the Devil” as an homage to the Bruce Cockburn song of the same name, and also to make it clear who the “you” is, with whom the singer has bargained his soul.
There are lots of things that please me about this song and recording, and probably just as many that leave me unsatisfied. The main question that’s nagging at me is whether this is epic enough. That is, at 7 minutes and 23 seconds, it’s certainly of epic proportions as far as pop songs go; but is there enough Sturm und Drang in the performance and recording to sustain that?
Like all of these recordings, I’ve spent so much time with the song at this point that I’ve lost all perspective. I’ll be happy to put it away for a while and let you, my faithful readership, chime in with your wisdom and clarity.