Continued from prior posts
41. Hello Goodbye — Lyrically, it’s terrifically simplistic. Musically, there’s a lot going on, many layers to the song. There are a bunch of instruments you can’t even hear on the new remasters. HG is a fun song, well sung by Paul.
42. Help! — John later admitted it was his “cry for help,” but at first blush it’s a very cool power pop song. Help is iconic, one of those songs that epitomizes the mid-60’s and the British Invasion.
43. Drive My Car — Another one of Paul’s attempts at capturing the Motown sound became a great bit of early white funk. The opening guitar riff is delicious. Follow the bass through the song; it has that flow.
44. Things We Said Today — Following this song is a tiny bit like trying to imagine what would happen if you traveled back in time and did something that prevented your existence. How could you go back in time and do that if you had never been born? The lyrics themselves are hardly artsy, but the changes in tense is what makes the song interesting. Paul starts singing about something his lover just said about the future, but he refers to it as an exchange that took place in the near past. “Someday when we’re dreaming, deep in love, not a lot to say, then we will remember things we said today.” In the future things will be different and they’ll look back to the past to see that. Pay attention to how it jumps around and you’ll see its subtle cleverness.
45. Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except for Me and My Monkey — It’s a dirty little guitar driven rock track, some of the best hard guitar work the Beatles ever did. I really don’t remember where the title came from, but there’s never been another rock song that pull off something that lyrically clumsy so…awesomely! “Come on it’s such a joy” is apparently something the Maharishi was fond of saying. His influence all over the White Album despite the way the Beatles’ love affair with him ended.
46. Sexy Sadie — Speaking of the Maharishi, Sexy Sadie’s all about him and his alleged transgressions in India which was cause for John, George and Magic Alex to leave the Ishram. From what I know about the story, Maharishi allegedly made a pass at a woman camper, which apparently John felt was a breach of etiquette. (Maybe there was a feeling that the campers were supposed to be living a clean lifestyle and that the master should, therefore, lead by example.) McCartney later said that leaving under that pretext seemed a little “prudish” on John’s part. When Lennon went back to England he proceeded to dump his wife in favor of Yoko. Apparently yogis cannot hit on women but pop stars can dump their ways. Whatever really happened, it resulted in a great song.
47. I Will — Probably because it was on the Beatles Love Songs double album that I had as a kid that I have always liked this one. Paul sings it beautifully. It’s one of those dozen songs that helped cement McCartney’s reputation as a sentimentalist and a balladeer. What works best about the song is, intentionally or unintentionally, it’s got a Buddy Holly thing going.
48. Can’t Buy Me Love — I’ve never been able to tell if “me” means “for me” or “my.” Money can’t buy love for me or it can’t buy my love. You know how the Brits sometimes say “me” in place of me. I’ll never know I suppose. It’s one of the best pop songs ever.
49. I Saw Her Standing There is proof that John and Paul had an innate ability to write songs that they just happened to be blessed enough to be able to hone to a sharp point. It was probably written in the late 50’s and stands up against pretty much any of the early American rock n’ roll hits. It would fit nicely in the Chuck Berry catalog.
50. Do You Want to Know A Secret — I believe there are a bunch of Beatles songs that are better in both measureable and immeasureable ways, but this works as a kind of doo-wop rock piece that is especially catchy. It’s dated but almost sounds better after all these years. You gotta love George’s nasally Scouse accent pouring through the speakers.