Friday, November 2, 2012

She's A Woman

Robert Bunter: This song stinks.

Richard Furnstein: Certainly. Can we leave it there? We can't? Alright, "She's A Woman" finds Paul once again favoring his tender throat over actual songwriting. Songs like "She's A Woman," "The Night Before," and "I'm Down" provided nice little rock showcases in the late period Beatles live shows, replacing a string of dusty Little Richard covers. These sloppy half songs find Paul making up the recipe as he goes along ("My love don't give me presents") and the resulting dishes are soggy and uninspired. They are lucky that Gordon Ramsey was either unborn or just a stupid child because he would probably raid their kitchen and throw out their moldy steamer trays of Little Richards and Larry Williams covers and make Ringo scrub the Hobart with his toothbrush.

Robert Bunter: Wait, what? “Soggy and uninspired?” Something must be wrong with your speakers, man. Knock the wax out of your ears. Maybe you’re not hearing the Beatles primal explorations of raw funk. Paul is at the top of his game. The vocal reeks of conviction, and the bassline struts and bobs and weaves through the iron-clanking rhythm guitar, percussion shaker, and funky little old-lady piano part like Deion Sanders charging up the court to sink a three-point shot in the paint at the bottom of the fourth quarter! Sure, it’s no “Yesterday” or side two of Abbey Road, but that wasn’t the necessary function here. This was a 1964 b-side, my friend. These four lads were rushing around the globe, inspiring hearts, minds and crotches … not necessarily in that order! Then they strode into the studio and cut a brainless, snappy track that would liven up any sock party or weenie roast when some shaggy youngster gives it a spin on the old brown GloanTone phonograph. Quit carping about soggy lyrics and bang your head to this electrifying early masterpiece!

Richard Furnstein: The Beatles For Sale/Help! period found The Beatles struggling to determine what kind of band they were. They needed to be prolific and road ready while slowly giving into the marijuana haze forming in their minds. The tracks from the "Fat Elvis" period can only really be grouped by their inconsistency and apparent resistance-to-growth after the fertile A Hard Day's Night album. Sure, you can point out the raw crunchy genius of John's guitar intro or George's playful lead rolling around like hyenas in post-kill euphoria. But really, that's like saying that a rusty, broken down car has "character." I'm not buying it, friend. This song is fatally flawed, even for a McCartney howler. I'm putting it at the bottom of a dank pile of shredders, including "Why Don't We Do It On The Road" and "Mumbo."

Let's sum up--this song stinks.

Robert Bunter: I’m not going to argue with you, man. Paul and the Beatles were capable of so much more. This is possibly the most awkward 12-bar-blues I’ve ever heard. “I know that she’s no peasant” is such a dopey lyric that it’s like an insult to the listener. Paul is laughing, secure in the knowledge that this track alone will earn enough future royalties to buy the rights to “Annie” and “A Chorus Line,” which in turn will make him another fortune. So why bother to waste the effort on lyrics? When you come right down to it, Beatles analysis is really just a matter of dollars and cents. Why waste the output effort resources when the time-adjusted anticipated returns are so massive? Considered in that light, even the feeblest Beatles efforts (“She’s A Woman,” “Matchbox”) start to seem like very generous gifts. They could have quit after the “Hard Day’s Night” film and still come out ahead. I, for one, am glad that they didn’t.

Richard Furnstein: We haven't even discussed the stupid guitar solo on this thing. George probably had the most difficulty during this transition period. His spurting, aggressive, and unfocused solo is the sound of puberty derailing his once promising mind. He'd experience a strong recovery in the coming fertile years ("Old Brown Shoe"), so let's not judge him too harshly for that that awful solo. At least he wasn't responsible for writing this jar of crap.

Robert Bunter: Yeah, it’s pretty grim. So, let’s sum up – this song stinks. There were far greater achievements ahead for the Beatles, but back in 1964 nobody could be certain about that. I know of at least one fan who became very nervous after hearing this track for the first time. Would they be able to recover? Was the sweet promise of “If I Fell” and “It Won’t Be Long” illusory? Tomorrow never knew, but now it does. Stay tuned, young lad. I have a feeling it’s going to be a hell of a summer.

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