Thursday, February 19, 2009

Your Mother Should Know

I've been longwinded here on the blog, lately, I know, drowning my sorrows in rambling, opinionated pieces, and anyone still reading has my gratitude for hanging in there. Hope you've liked the songs, at least. But in the end, I can't work up a super-strong opinion about every single Beatles song. It would be too emotionally exhausting anyway. Oh, I can listen to them all (and listen I will!) but there are some songs that I find pleasant enough without having too much else to say. Anyway, here it is a Thursday in February, and I am too zonked to work up a strong opinion about much of anything, having been out last night attending a get-together that involved copious amounts of pie and the heart-stopping drama of Catchphrase. So, I mean, let's just all get up and dance to a song that was a hit before your mother was born.

The story I always remember about this is that the Beatles were invited to perform on Our World, the first international satellite TV special, broadcast live in June of 1967 all over the world. This was a big deal, and they decided to debut a new song for the occasion. John and Paul each pitched a new song-- Paul had "Your Mother Should Know," and John had "All You Need Is Love." Now, whatever you feel about the merits of these two songs (I wouldn't put either in my own personal top 10), clearly "All You Need Is Love" is more appropriate for a touchy-feely worldwide TV special like Our World, and it won. "Your Mother Should Know" ended up in Magical Mystery Tour, the head-scratcher of a film that Beatle fans love and people with taste snivel at.

The song itself makes a decent enough big-finale number in the film, with the Beatles descending that staircase in some kind of '30s-musical parody, hopping about cutely as Paul delivers his earnest vocal. And the song is nice. The melody kind of meanders in a pleasantly unpredictable way, and the instrumental breaks with John on organ provide some interest. You can definitely swing your head around to this and find it a soothing accompaniment to your day, can't you? I'm not even bothered particularly by the lack of lyrical variation. It just makes it that much easier to sing along to.

You know what the problem is, actually? That "Your Mother Should Know" follows "When I'm 64" (from Sgt. Pepper) so closely-- it sounds a lot alike, another music hall nostalgia piece from Paul, but it doesn't have anywhere near the wit or musical punch  that "When I'm 64" does. It comes off as almost lazy, which, OUCH, I know, but don't you think? There's definitely a laconic feel here where there should be more energy, more pizzazz.

Well, whatever. It's OK, Paul. I'm not really feeling the energy or pizzazz today either. So I'll swing my head and watch you dance your way to the end of the magical mystery tour and have a nice little smile and maybe a cup of tea and get on with my day. It's a good song, lad. Da da da da da da da da.

"Your Mother Should Know," released in the U.K. side A track 2 of Magical Mystery Tour double EP, December 8, 1967; in the U.S. side A track 5 of Magical Mystery Tour LP, November 27, 1967.
I am indebted for all discography information to the tremendous

No comments:

Post a Comment