#585: The Beatles – I Want to Tell You

The fifth Beatles entry so far in the “I”‘s. Told you yesterday, there’s more to come still. Though in comparison to yesterday, with ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ being one of those diamond compositions written by the iconic pairing of Lennon/McCartney, ‘I Want to Tell You’ was written by the band’s lead guitarist George Harrison. The upload above has very poor audio quality, clearly to avoid copyright infringment, so please… try and listen to it on a streaming service or something. Damn Apple Corps.

Revolver, the album on which the track can be found, is my favourite Beatles album. It’s a ten out of ten. Every song on there is great. Well, ‘Yellow Submarine’ is okay. And it also saw the three main songwriters have somewhat of an equal share of the tracklisting with Harrison having three songs allowed on there, one of them being ‘Taxman’ which starts the whole thing off – that’s for another time.

For about two years straight ‘I Want to Tell You’ was always on in my head. Upon hearing Revolver for the first time it was the song that I always kept on repeating endlessly. So much so that it was my most played song in my iTunes library for about two years. It’s not the one on the album that you would find many people talk about, compared to ‘Eleanor Rigby’ or ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’, though for me it always had that quality that gave it that edge.

The excitement is all set up in those opening fifteen seconds or so. The fade-in with the hanging guitar line reels you in, the first striking piano chord along with Ringo’s snare hits keeps you still, the shaking of maracas somehow build up this sense of anticipation for what’s to follow…. and what does follow is a bouncy joint about confusion and errors in communication when in a relationship.

Harrison along with Lennon and McCartney sound like they’re having a good time in the studio just because of their vocal performances, when the latter two come in for their harmonies they sound on form, especially during the ending when Paul goes all crazy on the higher notes. It’s very upbeat, I sang along from ages 14-16… it’s good to put on every now and then.


#584: The Beatles – I Want to Hold Your Hand

Been almost a month since I was last here…. I’m sorry. Can’t say I’ve tried to keep to my earlier statement of doing a blog at least every Sunday. The posts will arrive in due time. Just been suffering from a lack of motivation. Not in a bad way, it’s just work. Weekends have really been reserved for laying down and sleeping.

Recently I decided to listen to all the songs on my phone in alphabetical order during my morning/evening commutes. Only because the shuffle system on iPhones is very poor. In doing so I’ve only properly realised how many songs by The Beatles (that I personally enjoy) begin with the letter ‘I’. There’s a lot of them to come in this ‘I’ series. ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ was the hit that made the four lads huge in the USA, and pretty much everywhere else.

There are some days when I listen to this thing and think it’s just too sappy. The lyrics are too simple and on the nose…. A song like this would never be taken seriously in today’s musical climate. Though the majority it’s just like….. fuck that. This song’s great for all of those reasons. John Lennon and Paul McCartney sing their chests out on this one, singing in unison and in perfect harmony…. The musicality between the four of them is just wild and thrilling but tight and controlled. It rocks without trying too hard. It’s just a good pop song, it can’t be denied.

Again, when it comes to The Beatles and YouTube – it’s very hard to find their official stuff because their record label always takes their music down when you try and upload it. There is an actual video for it; it’s not up just yet. Still, below’s the performance taken from the Ed Sullivan show when John, Paul, George and Ringo appeared on American television for the first time and owned it.

#583: Bloc Party – I Still Remember

‘I Still Remember’ is the ninth track on Bloc Party’s second album A Weekend in the City, released in 2007, and was the LP’s second single. The album was the first one of theirs I ever got, for Christmas 2007 or my 13th birthday either one of the two, and was the special edition that included ‘Flux‘ in the tracklisting. I liked the song upon seeing its video on MTV2 UK for the first time, and my opinion on it hasn’t really changed – still sounds good now as it did back then. Crazy that it’s been eleven years, really.

Listening to this track now takes me back to about ten years ago when I was just about getting into first year of secondary school. Or at least nearing the end of it. Mainly because it was during those times that the music video for it was shown on TV quite frequently. Back then YouTube was still a baby in terms of being a company, and if a band released the video for their new song – you would actually have to wait and see it instead of having it ready at your fingertips.

The track has lead singer Kele Okereke reminiscing about good times and missed opportunities from his school days. Anyone who is a big fan of the guy and has looked on his Wikipedia page can find that he went to Ilford County High School. No lies, that’s the same secondary school I went to. Of course it was at different times, although I’ve always had the feeling that the person he’s singing about would have been someone he was friends with when he went there. Not just because it’s an all boys school, but because, if you watch the video closely you’ll notice that the train number all the action takes place in is ‘247’. A bus route with the same number runs through Barkingside High Street, which is pretty much right next to the school.

Though that’s just my theory. It’s probably a bit of a personal song for him so we’ll let it lie.

#582: The Beatles – I Should Have Known Better

Back again after a while. So sorry to anyone who usually reads these. I’m always feeling tired on the weekends now…. Work is fun. My ear that’s been clogged for the past two months cleared up and I can hear again which is great. That’s just a bit of catch up material for those who are wondering what’s going on. This has always been at the back of my mind, and I’ve been thinking about possible different features I could put on here to change things up a bit. Though sticking with what I’ve got going now still doesn’t seem too bad an option for the moment.

With the personal stuff out the way, I can talk about today’s song. Another one by The Beatles, ‘I Should Have Known Better’ is the second track on the band’s third album A Hard Day’s Night. Because YouTube won’t allow Beatles songs on its site, I’ve had to embed the whole Hard Day’s Night film (which is a good watch and very funny) above, though it conveniently starts at the point where the track begins.

Great tune. Not much I really feel about it. Like most of their early Beatlemania stuff it’s about love and girls and getting girls to love you and thinking about the future when you and the girl are still together. I think what draws me in is John Lennon’s voice. Paul McCartney doesn’t come in and harmonise at any point during the whole thing; it’s all a double tracked Lennon belting out the lines with gusto. In what is a mostly acoustic affair with a bit of harmonica and George Harrison’s guitar solo in the middle, John’s raspy voice carries the whole thing – especially when he breaks into that falsetto in the ‘ask you to be miiii-hi-hi-hiiiiiiine’ part’. Very glorious. A very innocent track with good intentions, I think.

#581: They Might Be Giants – I Should Be Allowed to Think

Happy new year everybody! 21 days in…. I’m sorry, but I’m now officially a working man. I just haven’t had the time to get back into this. Well, there have been weekends obviously…. but I just haven’t had the inspiration and energy to write. 10am-6pm is a long day, I tell you! I’ll try and get back to the once a week thing on here. Emphasis on ‘try’. Though it will more than likely be a sporadic post here and there.

And so the first track of 2018 is one by They Might Be Giants, who coincidentally just released their 20th(!) album entitled I Like Fun on Friday. Haven’t heard the whole thing yet apart from its title track and ‘I Left My Body‘. I probably should. I leave you a link to its iTunes page where you can buy it for a reasonable price.

‘I Should Be Allowed to Think’ is on the band’s fifth album John Henry, released way back in 1994. Their longest album by a mile, almost an hour in length, it was the first where they performed as a full band with bass guitar and percussion backing John Linnell and John Flansburgh. Thinking on it, I personally see it as their way of showing that they were still able to provide their usual versatility and unique style of songwriting even without their drum machines and backing tapes of the past.

Like many other of the group’s songs, it’s told from a viewpoint which you can look at in two ways… You can listen to the narrator and take their points at face value… or they’re lying and something else is up. Knowing They Might Be Giants, it’s usually the latter. This narrator in particular feels injustice from seeing these rubbish bands advertised anywhere, and sees this as reason to say whatever they want and have their ideas heard by anybody – no matter how stupid they may be. They feel as if there’s this big conspiracy against them, when really they’re probably just thinking about it a bit too much.

This is a great song, another mainly penned by John Linnell though Flansburgh sings in the bridge. I do find myself humming along to its bass line when hearing it, particularly the second half of the chorus. Fair play to Tony Maimone, who plays the bass a fair few of the songs on John Henry. It’s a standard rock song I would say, although it’s not really because it’s They Might Be Giants. There’s always something a bit different when it comes to them. In a good way.

‘I Should Be Allowed’ was recorded on the band’s home equipment and could be listened to on the phone through their Dial-a-Song service before the song was officially released. Thanks to the Internet, that demo version can be heard all the time. It is below.

#580: Ween – I Saw Gener Cryin’ in His Sleep

Not a very festive or momentous song for the coming new year, I know. But these things aren’t planned. I just do whatever song is next on my phone. And on this New Year’s Eve the track is ‘I Saw Gener Cryin’ in His Sleep’, the thirteenth track on Ween’s major-label debut Pure Guava.

For any Ween fan reading (quite unlikely) wondering where I would place Pure Guava in my favourite albums of the band, I’ll say to you that it probably isn’t in my top five of theirs. To me it just feels like The Pod Part 2, though with less songs and… a bigger sound to it maybe? There’s a larger emphasis on grooves and the drums on Guava, but The Pod in itself is just a lot more interesting and has a lot more variety – no matter how out there it is. I only have four songs from Guava on my phone and for some reason ‘I Saw Gener’, which I feel a lot of people would probably skip over after a while, popped out to me on that first album listen in 2015 or so.

I guess it’s because Ween are known for being this silly band who make a lot of silly stuff (even though their music is actually amazing and you should listen to anything of theirs as soon as you can) and this song details an instance where things aren’t as they seem. Dean Ween – real name Mickey Melchiondo, affectionately known as Deaner by Ween fans – sings about seeing bandmate Gene Ween crying in his sleep and offers some advice to help him through bad times. It’s all a bit heavy.

However, it’s shoddily recorded and set to upbeat, bouncy music which completely overshadows the downbeat lyricism. The drum machines skip out of time and some points, the drum machine cymbals thrash about wildly, there’s some piercing feedback after the first chorus. It’s a great listen. It makes it so funny, but it’s not supposed to be. It’s so conflicting. But that’s the beauty of many a Ween song.

That’s the end of 2017. Hard to believe I revived this back in August when I was stuck at home relentlessly searching for jobs online. Now I have one. I start next week. Hopefully this is the start of something special. Will see you in 2018. Many more songs to come.

#579: They Might Be Giants – I Palindrome I

I may or may not have mentioned that They Might Be Giants are one of my favourite musical acts bar none. I enjoy a large majority of their songs and many of their albums hit that sweet spot. I wrote my dissertation on them that’s how much I find their material so interesting. I’ve made many a post about their songs in the past, and there are many more to come in the future. Surely I must have said why I enjoy them so much and how much their music means to me and how they came into my life by chance. I can trust you to look back for me.

‘I Palindrome I’ can be found on Apollo 18, the fourth album by Brooklyn alt-rock band They Might Be Giants. Another display of infectious melodies and witty lyricism packed into just over two minutes, the John Linnell written composition kicks in straight after the abrupt ending of Flansburgh’s ‘Dig My Grave‘ which starts the album off.

I don’t really know what to say about this track. I know I like it. It’s not even one of my favourites from the album, though it is in general for many a fan of the band. But every time Linnell comes in with that “Someday Mother will die and I get the money” line with the peppy rhythm and guitars behind him, I’m always singing along. He and Flansburgh are simply great at writing a sequence of notes that are meant to be sung, I can’t say much else.

Here are a few clever/funny things about the track that could interest you:

It is 2:22 minutes long – a numerical palindrome.
John Flansburgh sings two palindromes at various points in the track – Seek ’em out.
The bridge is a form of antimetabole…. quite the fancy word.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas.