#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.

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#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.

#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.

#574: The White Stripes – I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself

Gotta say I don’t have much on the brain about this one….. Nothing on the personal side of things anyway. I think the song’s great don’t get me wrong, The White Stripes achieve a fantastic cover of Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s composition (originally made popular by Dusty Springfield in 1964), but I think I just saw the music video on MTV when I was about nine and thought it was cool. And because I was only nine and still thought girls were icky, I never got the appeal of Kate Moss pole dancing and writhing on a table. The song just simply sounded awesome. That is the official music video by the way for any new readers or listeners, not my doing.

The White Stripes were alright. They have great songs but I’m not a huuuge fan… It always was a big thing when they announced a new single or album though. I recall the video for ‘Icky Thump’ being shown almost every hour on MTV2 in 2007 when it was released. Good times being 12 and everything. Good tune too. Though you wouldn’t find me being the first in line to buy their albums. Was a shame when they split though. Probably still had so much to give.

So anyway ‘I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself’ appears on the band’s 2003 album Elephant as its fourth track. This track’s tone is what pulls me in every time. There’s something very slinky, sneaky and sly in the way it’s performed. Jack White gets that ashy tone on his guitars and sounds like he’s wailing his vocals about in an empty corridor. Meg White gets all primal on the drums. The contrast between the quiet verses and the sudden release in the choruses. That triumphant ending where the song title’s repeated and everything fades out. Man. This is a great track. Whenever anyone attempts a cover of an old track, I feel they should always adapt it to their style whilst trying to capture the magic of what makes the original. The White Stripes did it here. This is one of those good covers.

My iPod #560: Wilco – I Am Trying to Break Your Heart

The story goes that Wilco were going through some inner turmoil during the making of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, particularly between lead singer and guitarist Jeff Tweedy and fellow guitarist and composer Jay Bennett. Their original record label weren’t so impressed with the final result of their work, rejected it and told the band to get out of their faces, leaving them with an album to provide but no label to release it. Eventually things all fell into place. Wilco got signed again. The album, originally slated for September 2001, was physically released to the masses months later in May 2002. Critics ate it up, fans loved it. Still do to this day. It has gone down as one of the best albums of the opening decade of this century.

‘I Am Trying to Break Your Heart’ is the album’s opener. It’s seven minutes long. It takes about a minute of that time for the song’s main chord progression to make itself known after a sort of instrumental prelude of pianos, percussion and organs. Tweedy’s mellow voice comes in with the album’s first (and possibly most quoted) lines “I am an American aquarium drinker/I assassin down the avenue/I’m hiding out in the big city blinking/What was I thinking when I let go of you?”, and it all goes on from there really. You have to listen to it for that full experience.

Tweedy doesn’t have the greatest singing voice. Not soulful, or belting from the stomach or whatever. But it’s just perfect for the whole mood of the track. And the album in general. The vocal melody is the most simple thing. But it’s great. It will get in your head. And accompanied by the very full mix provided by Jim O’Rourke, it’s an enrapturing listen. It’s hard to not find yourself in a bit of a trance when hearing this. You probably won’t feel it on your first listen. It’ll sink in.

Above is the supposed demo of the tune, as recorded by Jay Bennett before it went through remixing for the album. Some prominent smooth Rhodes(?) piano in there, but not quite the same.

My iPod #527: AC/DC – Highway to Hell

However tired out they were by life on the road over the years, guitarists Angus and Malcolm Young along with lead singer Bon Scott were inspired enough to write a song about the bane of endless touring that would become one of their most popular for years to come. “Highway to Hell” was the result, and was placed as the opener to the album of the same name in 1979.

Admittedly I’m not the greatest AC/DC fan; I think the first time I ever heard the song was when it was used on the credits of a Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episode years ago. But listening to it over the years has made me appreciate it more immensely. The riff, the chugging rhythm, the rousing chorus…. just musically the thing is fantastic. What I enjoy the most about it is Bon Scott’s vocal performance. I can’t help but try and match his raspy voice and ad-libbed yelps and screams when singing along and I can end up going over the top a bit while doing so. It is the great karaoke song if ever there was one.

Sadly the album would be the band’s last to feature Scott before he died a few months later in 1980, but his charismatic presence and voice are still emulated by many to this day.

My iPod #492: The Streets – Has It Come to This?

“Has It Come to This?” was the first single from Original Pirate Material, the debut album from 2002 by English rapper Mike Skinner under the alias The Streets. Emerging from the UK garage scene that occurred during the late 90s, the tracks on the album deal with everyday occurrences and relatable issues such as love, getting drunk, and going out and manage to capture those little moments that many young people go through. The album was, and still is loved, to this day thanks to Skinner’s delivery, humour, observational lyricism and good beats.

“Has It Come to This” is the second track on the album after Skinner starts things off with brutal confidence on “Turn the Page”, and it is on it that the observational lyricism that runs throughout the entire album really begins. With calming vibes and a chilled piano sample, the song is Skinner’s invitation to the listener to sit back, relax and enjoy the album whilst also giving us a wealth of information about himself and what he sees around him on a daily basis.

Constantly reminding us of his name and album title in the choruses Mike Skinner demands us to get acquainted with what you are about to experience. This was only the beginning.