Song: "Make You Feel My Love"
Writer: Bob Dylan
Original Performer: Billy Joel (as "To Make You Feel My Love")
Release Date: August 19, 1997
Album: Greatest Hits Volume III
I would not say I'm an Adele fan, though I do find her easier to take than many of her contemporaries. I don't always care for the songs but there's no denying the woman can sing. This song isn't even close to her biggest hit. But it is her best. At 19, she took a song written by music royalty, recorded by industry giants and made it all her own.
As heart-wrenchingly beautiful as the melody is, I mostly love this song for its lyrics. While it's easy enough to envision the song being sung to a lover, I perceive greater depths. Listen to the song again, this time imagining it sung parent to child. Listen once more, this time as a message from a god to a reluctant believer. It works pretty well for all three. One could probably find other possibilities. The mixing of religious devotion and earthly love - even lust - within the same text is a trick as old as the troubadours, probably older. Doctor Robert is an old soul and I wouldn't put it past him, though I haven't found anything to confirm any intentional hidden meanings. That they work anyway speaks to his remarkable genius.
I have included three clips below: the song's two most famous pre-Adele performers and the composer himself. Yes yes, we all know Dylan's music is best sung by other people. That doesn't change the fact that he is, at worst, Top 3 among living songwriters.