Friday, January 23, 2009

I'm So Tired

It's been a long week, and for various allergy-related reasons I'm pumped full of Benadryl, which makes me an absolute zombie for at least 24 hours no matter what. So today "I'm So Tired" seems like an appropriate song for me to wallow in. I've read in various places that I now don't remember that this song is sometimes associated with John's heroin use, which might be true-- I can't recall when he started using, and the hazy opiate-riffic stuff he was apparently into might have influenced the song's production. But this song was definitely written in India at the Maharishi's getaway, thus pre-heroin.

Drug-stuff aside, though, this is a Beatles song that frequently feels like JUST the song I want to hear. I used the word "wallow" above, and that's it exactly. Whether it's an episode of true insomnia, or just feeling too lazy to get out of bed and get a glass of water on a rainy Saturday at noon, that heavy, gross, tired feeling is perfectly captured here. Everything sounds sluggish, from the barely-there guitar during the verses to the lethargic almost-behind-the-beat drumming. Total musical Benadryl.

But compare this to John's other soporific masterpiece, "I'm Only Sleeping," and you see that by the time of "I'm So Tired" he's in a much darker place, taking out his rage at Sir Walter Raleigh and focusing mainly on his next drink or cigarette. The music doesn't just sound sleepy, it sounds hazy and miserable and probably hungover. As Tim Riley so perfectly puts it in his book, Tell Me Why (one of my all-time favorite Beatles books), it sounds like the band is "trying to get through the track without knocking anything over." But this is before the more pointed angst of the bridge, in which John's vocal becomes so impassioned it almost hurts to listen to, and the guitars and bass swirl around accusingly.

I'm honestly too tired to write any more. Have a listen, but be prepared to start dropping your head on your desk.

Or, if you prefer your Beatles songs backwards and creepy, enjoy this, courtesy of PF9ThePikachuLover!

"I'm So Tired," released in the U.K. side B track 2 of The Beatles a.k.a. The White Album, November 22, 1968; in the U.S. side B track 2 of the The Beatles a.k.a. The White Album, November 25, 1968.
I am indebted for all discography information to the tremendous

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