Sunday, June 7, 2009

You Like Me Too Much

Another breezy, gorgeous June day in Boston (June is really one of Boston's best months, I think; in case you're ever planning a visit, try for June or October) and once again I'm cleaning out my entire apartment. Is this becoming a frequent theme of this blog? I'm probably revealing far too much about myself: my tendency for slobbitude, my huge insecurity about same. Whatever. Still here you sit reading about my boring insecurities waiting to get to the good stuff, which is the music. Maybe you just like me too much.

"You Like Me Too Much" is the third original song of George's that made it onto a Beatles album, and the second one on Help! ("I Need You" was actually in the film, whereas this one's on the album B side). I don't think I've ever read about why or how George came to write it, but George seems to never remember writing his earliest songs anyway. I think that even he has admitted that on the early stuff he was still just learning how to write songs, really, and that they're not really about anything except their own process. And that's cool. It didn't take him long to finish learning, anyway-- his real breakout was arguably "If I Needed Someone," destined to appear on the very next album, Rubber Soul, so if he needed to work through a couple of "You Like Me Too Much"es to get there, then so be it.

Because, I mean, the song is good, you know? But it's not like I've ever heard anyone say that it's their favorite. (By all means chime in if it's YOUR favorite-- I'm only speaking unscientifically.) What's most interesting about it is the keyboard work. That little ad lib-sounding intro was done by both Paul and George Martin, playing at opposite ends of the same piano, apparently. Then John takes over on the electric organ for the syncopated keyboard figure that dominates the texture. Everything else but George's double-tracked, reverb-heavy vocal seems to fade into the background, at least until the middle eight when Ringo gets a bit more into the drumming. Even George's guitar is in the background until it duets with the piano again (I think this is Paul playing on his own now) in the solo bit.

As for the lyric, it's so smarmy and conceited that only someone as adorable as George could get away with singing it. (Well, you can see John singing it too, but it would be meaner and less effective, in my opinion.) "You Like Me Too Much" seems to be a love song in only a half-hearted way-- all the stuff about "and I like you" sounds totally tacked on. Maybe George wanted to write a much more obnoxious song than he thought he could get away with, and the lovey stuff is more for the fans than anything else. Why would George have been crowing this way, you ask? Probably because he was shacking up with Pattie Boyd, which would have made any young heterosexual man pretty damned pleased to be alive, don't you think? Truth is, he liked her quite a lot, of course, but a macho song like this is kind of fun nevertheless.

"You Like Me Too Much," released in the U.K. side B track 3 of Help!, August 6, 1965; in the U.S. side A track 3 of the stupid Capitol Beatles VI, June 14, 1965.


  1. I'd say 'I Need You' is the first of George's songs that I like.

    Today's irregularly revealed Fun Beatles Fact that I Just Read in the Anthology Book is that when the Beatles started, the G strings -- I think for all British guitarists -- were wound, like the three lower strings (E, A, D), which means you can get a cool Van Halen-y sound by scraping your pick down it, but it's hard as hell to bend. So on the early albums, on his solos, he did hammer-ons and pull-offs instead.

    Today's Random Thought Unrelated to the Song (besides the one above): How are they going to do the Rock Band songs where there aren't two guitars? Like, how's Hey Jude gonna work? They don't have keyboards, right?

  2. Facts like this make me think that in order to truly understand the Beatles' music, I'm going to have to learn how to play the guitar. Argh, there are too few hours in the day.

    Nope, no keyboards in Rock Band. But they only got rights to like 45 songs or something. My guess is that the more piano-oriented ones might be left out. To say nothing of, say, Eleanor Rigby. I don't know, of course-- maybe they'll introduce a Rock Band keyboard just for songs like that! Or Rock Band violins! For Eleanor Rigby!