Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Things We Said Today

Richard Furnstein: Ch-ch-ch-ch-chug. Pop quiz: how many absolute perfect melodies have been created by humans in our four thousand years in existence? Two hundred? Forty? Like seven? However you break it down, "Things We Said Today" is hanging out at the top of the list. Paul's
wistful pledge of a new love is so unbelievably exciting and beautiful. The sadness of the verse melody is suspended in a cloud of minor chords; you hardly even notice that Paul's lyric is optimistic. Indeed, Paul loads up on "love" at the all you can eat songwriter buffet (check out "love to hear you say that love is love" in the tremendously awkward bridge). Save some loves for grumpy George, silly!

Robert Bunter: Well I'm just going to have to disagree with your assertion that "Things We Said Today" numbers among the "absolute perfect melodies" of men. Sure it's great, but do you remember a little tune called "Power Cut"? What about "Yesterday," "You Never Give Me Your Money," "You Won't See Me," and "She's Leaving Home"? I'm not going to argue that all of the greatest human melodies (without exception) were written by Paul McCartney - but I'm putting "Things We Said Today" near the upper middle of the list. Sure, it's ahead of "Goodbye" and "I'll Follow The Sun," but it's a ways away from "Blackbird," "Junk," and "Take It Away."
That being said, it is undoubtedly a true pleasure to hear Paul's urgent yet thoughtful meditation on the delights and vagaries of young bohemian love.


Richard Furnstein: More on the lyric: we're not entirely clear how we should interpret the "things we said today." Paul is anticipating a split (either distance or an actual divide with his new love) at the same time he is envisioning a time when he is "deep in love, not a lot too say" with his new lady. He is clearly placing a lot of value on these words; it's a tremendous moment and Paul's head is still cloudy with the new exciting prospects. The listener gets a whiff of the potential love twice in the song: in the introduction and the (hasty) fade-out. The aggressive strum of the acoustic guitar takes the place of the young lover's hearts. The rhythm tumbles throughout the song, pushing melodies into one another. It's so beautifully perfect that you have to accept Paul's minor lyrical fumblings. The boy has a lot on his mind and he has no idea how to tell you what he's been through.

Robert Bunter: Yeah. This song captures the essence of young love, when you're intoxicated with the heady emotions of incipient adulthood, yet still an unformed boy. Maturity is still just a concept; powerful new feelings define a compelling world of grown-up agency and freedom, but then as soon as you smell her hair, all control is forfeited in a swirl of boyish confusion. She holds all the cards, yet who even knows the rules of the game? What's the move? What's the object? Is anybody asking for promises? That is what it was like for all of us. Paul's haunting melodic construction (I would call it perhaps the most perfect melody ever created by humans) revels in the contradictions.

Richard Furnstein: I like to walk up to dudes wearing Beatles t-shirts or bomber jackets and say "Things We Said Today" to them. If I get a thumbs up, I know the guy is a true Beatlemaniac and he has a lifetime pass to the brotherhood. If he says "Pardon?" or "Get bent" I'm putting him on poseur notice. This song is for the true hearts.

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