"Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You," performed by Bob Dylan / by Patrick Shea

Performer: Despite being just about the best thing ever, Bob Dylan is not such a prominent feature on the Billboard charts, coming in at #21 on the Greatest All Time Billboard 200 Artists, and having no #1 singles on the Hot 100.

Writers: Bob Dylan

Title: A specific phrase that identifies the main idea of the song.

BPM: 80

Length: 3:22

Structure: A / A / B / A / instrumental / A1

Points of Interest:

1) The charts didn't move a whole lot this week, so I'm taking the opportunity to do something a little different. I've been interested lately in the idea of saying goodbye, and along these lines, I've been interested in Bob Dylan's "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You." I've been drawn to this song in particular because the title points at the opposite of goodbye, but in the rest of the lyrics we understand that the act of not saying goodbye to this person is the same act of truly saying goodbye to a lifestyle, as well as the unhappiness that has accompanied that lifestyle for the narrator. As is typical for songs with the AABA structure, there is an economy of lyric here, but a complexity in the ideas expressed.

2) Dylan uses several techniques together to accelerate and decelerate the lyric throughout the song. The most obvious technique is musical; after each of the first two lines of each verse, the vocal pauses for several beats, before moving straight through the final three lines, including the title, with very little space between lines. There's a physical tension that gets resolved in the title at the end of the verse.

3) A more subtle technique for accelerating and decelerating the lyric is in the rhyme scheme. Although we don't know this on first listen, the first line of each verse will not rhyme with any subsequent line, so there's a tension there which is added to the tension of the physical space mentioned above. The second line rhyme will not resolve until the final line of the verse; so again, tension as before. Then we have the very gratifying release of the fast phrases and perfect rhymes of lines three and four, before resolving the entire verse in line five with, not surprisingly, the title. The title is the star of every verse, and the main idea of the song.

4) I like the idea of writing a love song about saying goodbye. We often think of goodbyes as being sad or negative, but in the context of saying goodbye to a past life, the goodbye is a happy moment that releases the narrator from his troubles, and allows him to build something new and hopeful moving forward.

5) Your thoughts about the idea of saying goodbye in this song? Other favorite songs about saying goodbye? Post in the comments below!