Friday, April 15, 2011

For No One

Robert Bunter: What a downer! Quite possibly the most unrelentingly sad track in the entire catalog ... well, maybe tied with "Eleanor Rigby." It's not sad in the gentle melancholy way of "In My Life" or the poignantly longing way of "You Never Give Me Your Money." It's just a stone bummer. Paul uses the Fabs' trademark personal pronouns ("She Loves You," etc.) to devastating effect. The whole thing is addressed directly to you, the listener. And you, the listener, are in sorry shape.

Richard Furnstein: An economical weeper from Sir Paul. He gets right to the heart of the matter, describing the sun rising on a broken heart. Paul is more than comfortable telling a story in his songs, but he typically puts the spotlight on boring non-genius people going through their lives devoid of exotic drugs, beautiful blondes, and orgies with Peter Sellers (alleged). Paul keeps things nice and tight (and sad) in "For No One." His break-up songs on Rubber Soul find Paul stuck in the anger stage of acceptance ("You Won't See Me," "I'm Looking Through You"). "For No One" suggests his grief has moved on to depression and acceptance.

The feel of this one really brings me back to "Rigby" (acceptable shorthand in the Beatlemaniacal community). They both deliver some non-rock melancholy on Revolver (Paul's specialty from this period) while focusing on personal details and moments of reflection that speak more about the heartbreak than the early Beatles' focus on loving, leaving, and crying. The cause of the split doesn't matter to the songwriter, the isolation is the selling point here.

Robert Bunter: The song serves as an unsettling grey detour from the otherwise thrilling, ecstatic emotional rocket ride that is side two of Revolver. "Good Day Sunshine" celebrates a nice day with childlike glee; "And Your Bird Can Sing" makes a joyful psychedelic noise ... then, all of a sudden you find yourself waking up with a headache, pondering a girl who not only doesn't love you anymore but doesn't even care. It's like a bucket of cold water over your head. Don't worry, though. You'll surely be cheered up by "Dr. Robert" and his drugs. Then there's "I Want To Tell You," which is suffused with such infectious joy, it leaps right out of the speakers. Then "Got To Get You Into My Life," which does the same thing times fifty million, and finally we end up dazed in the blissful acid ecstasy of "Tomorrow Never Knows". But as you float downstream in the egoless glow of pure consciousness, it's hard not to be haunted by a lingering pale memory of "a love that should have lasted years." Good job, Paul McCartney! You've written a characteristically genius song which adds a nice emotional depth to the single best Beatles album.

Richard Furnstein: Much has been made of Alan Civil's French horn part in pedestrian Beatles writings. The facts are out there, and, yes, the guest solo is quite genius. In addition to providing another layer of British class to an already sterling song, the French horn manages to be both bubbly and burbling, suggesting a steady stream of tears. Our faces are left as damp as Mister Civil's spit valve. One imagines the distinguished horn player draining his instrument into an Abbey Road dustbin after his take as a group of moist eyes watch him from the control booth. Touched to be sure.

1 comment:

  1. FACTOID: this was my favorite Beatles song from 1995-2000