Saturday, February 26, 2011

Tell Me What You See

Richard Furnstein: "Tell Me What You See" is like running across some photos of somebody that you know when they were 14. The adult features are starting to fight against the baby fat. It's more awkward than beautiful. The concessions to cool ultimately seem forced and conventional rather than striking. It's kind of a mess, but you know it had to happen to get into future awkward stages and better looks.

All of this is at play here. This is the Beatles in full on pimple and accidental boner mode. It's a vague sketch of what would become Rubber Soul in a few months. Many of the key Rubber Soul elements are on display: overactive percussion, gentle strumming, an emphasis on vocals in the mix, a lyrical sweetness. It's just not fully formed. And that's fine, you'll get there, the Beatles.

Extra points for John's stilted delivery on the verses. He was probably just trying to spice up the simplicity of the track, but it ended up with a nice English as second language flavor. Power pop!

Robert Bunter: That's a really astute analysis, Richard. As I read it, I couldn't help but recall a certain gawky young man I met one afternoon long ago. His eyes betrayed a spark of raw, unformed intelligence which was at odds with his overall slouching teenage demeanor. I knew that it might take a little bit of effort, but this struggling manchild would be someone well worth knowing. It's the same way with "Tell Me What You See" - sure, it's not going to win any praise for inciting social revolution in its lyrics or melodic references to Aeolian cadences. You could accurately call it the worst song on "Help!" The lyrics are juvenile. And yet ... it is a Beatles song from 1965, which is about the greatest thing a song could possibly be.

Oh, and by the way, Richard? That young man I mentioned? I think maybe you know him. These days, he's got a moustache, a VG+ "Yesterday" picture sleeve and owes me $14. 

Richard Furnstein: All those years ago. Eh, Bunter?

Robert Bunter: Four more years!

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