“YOU’RE GONNA MAKE ME LONESOME WHEN YOU GO” (1975)
Blood on the Tracks has ten tracks on almost every single one is a type of love song. From the unbearably angry (“Idiot Wind’) to the unbearably sad (“If You See Her, Say Hello”), Dylan covers all the bases and then some. Even the epic story song “Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts” is a tall tale about the dangers of misplaced affections. Though I was sorely tempted to go with “Simple Twist of Fate” here, I’m picking “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go” because it somehow manages to be the simplest-yet-most-profound observation of the vast majority of romances.
The genius of “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome…” is that it is written from a place of sheer joy. The music hurls forward with the peppy guitar and harmonica of early Dylan. Love, he announces in the opening lines, has “never been this close before.”
Yet despite that wonder of a new love, he knows it is terminal. He knows it will end. He knows “you’re gonna make me lonesome when you go.” He knows from the very beginning that this is a new, mature type of relationship. He knows he will be questioning why he could not simply accept a good thing when he presented itself.
But he knows, as sure as the sun will rise and Taylor Swift tickets will sell out in minutes, that it will end. He even manages to reference two of his muses – French poets Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud – whose own tortured romance was no doubt an inspiration for much the this album.