“Something There is About You”



If “On A Night Like This”, the first single from Planet Waves, was an under-achiever on the pop charts, the second “Something There is About You” was an absolute and total dud. It peaked at #107 on the charts, indicating that no one anywhere was interested in this as a single. It is the earliest Dylan single that does not have its own Wikipedia entry. I mean, even “Wigwam” has a Wikipedia entry! That’s pretty damning.

Dylan seemed to believe in the song – he played it twenty-five times (out of forty shows) on the 1974 tour, but then only once since that time. I think he may have given up on it. It doesn’t show up on Before the Flood.

He probably had good reason to quit on it. This is one of those songs that doesn’t really ever catch in my head. I like the guitar just fine, but it’s a bit too long (almost 5:00) to be a good pop song considering how one-note it is. It’s too unvarying to hold my attention for so long, and I actually think that it is one of the least interesting songs on Planet Waves. There are good lyrics here – the first line, “Something there is about you that strikes a match in me”, is great, and the whole second verse about Duluth holds a lot of promise. It just never amounts to very much.

What I find most interesting about this as a single is that it had to have been chosen over “You Angel You”, which is almost the quintessential pop song (2:54, a love song, simple and repetitive). Dylan seems to have hated “You Angel You” though – he has only played it live twice (both in 1990), and he later claimed it had “dummy lyrics”. Too bad, I much prefer it to “Something There is About You”. Of course, “Forever Young” also would’ve made a better second single from this album as well. Actually, most of the album would have been better, and I think that #107 sort of indicates that.

Seriously, I can’t even find a decent cover to link to here….

“On a Night Like This”



The first single from Planet Waves, “On a Night Like This”, seems to tell the story of where Bob Dylan was with the hit parade in 1974. Despite the fact that his tour was sold out, and despite the fact that Planet Waves was his first album to hit #1 on the sales chart, both of the singles died. “On a Night Like This” only peaked at #44 on the hit parade.

Although Dylan had had a semi-hit in 1973 with “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” (peaking at #12), he hadn’t had a top ten single since 1969 (“Lay Lady Lay” – #7). While he would have two songs in the Top 40 Chart in 1975, and another in 1979, he would never have another Top 40 hit after that. We are truly nearing the end of Bob Dylan on the pop charts.

I have to say, it’s sort of hard to see why with this. “On a Night Like This”, which leads off his most successful album to date, is a commercial pop hit if there ever was going to be one. The lyrics don’t add up to much other than romance, but the song is infectious, singable, and danceable. What more could you ask for in a pop song? This isn’t likely going to be anyone’s favourite Dylan song (and it may not even be the best thing from the album), but it is fun and frothy. It’s hard to imagine people actively disliking it. I suppose that isn’t what anyone was looking for from Dylan at this point in his career. Dylan will be an album guy from here on in, even though he will release dozens of additional singles, must won’t go anywhere.

The B-side of “You Angel You” actually probably makes this even twice as poppy.

Here’s Los Lobos with a nice cover, including a second verse sung in Spanish. Just try to hate it. You can’t!