You got my attention
Go ahead, speak
What was it you wanted
When you were kissin’ my cheek?
This is from Oh Mercy! (1989), produced by Daniel Lanoir, who arguably helped pull Bob Dylan out of a long artistic slump. In his Chronicles, Volume One, Dylan wrote of his difficulties and pleasant surprises in making the album, and praised Lanoir for the distinctively spooky sound of “What Was It You Wanted”:
…It starts mixed and cooked in a pot like a gumbo, right from the downbeat, dreamy and ambiguous. We had to keep the song level and right-side up. Danny’s sonic atmosphere makes it sound like it’s coming out of some mysterious sonic land…
The song reminds me of the time I was in upstate New York, paddling a canoe on one of the Finger Lakes and thinking about the Indians who did this centuries ago. But more than anything the song evokes a mysterious psychic landscape. You never really know why people do what they do, no matter how close you think you are to them.