Monday, May 5, 2008

Things We Said Today (Beatles Week)

The Beatles
A Hard Day's Night
"Things We Said Today" – 2:40

Every once in a while I'll hear a song that makes me think "God, I wish I wrote that!" – not necessarily the greatest songs in the world, just songs that display a kind of proud craftsmanship. This song is the first I remember thinking that about.

Long time associate and friend of the blog Ron Littlejohn turned me on to the mysteries of "Things We Said Today" way back in high school – coming from a family of Beatles fans, it was a song I'd heard my whole life, but never grokked the sophistication of the composition until Ron pointed it out. The looping six note melody over the i-v pattern in the verse resolves so perfectly, the change from minor to major for the bridge, that little Bb passing chord[*] to get back into the verse – even if you don't know what those words meant, anyone can hear how well the song perfectly resolves itself, how it ties off musical loose ends. Just a gorgeous piece of songwriting by Paul.

[* passing chord doesn't really describe its function, which is essentially the same as the V7 in the final bar of a blues – that is, a turnaround chord, signaling the return to the beginning. Alan W. Pollack has much more on this weird bII chord, along with a wealth of notes on the details of this, and many other, Beatles songs.]

Update 12:52 PM: Check out this clip of London Jazz covering the song, which sounds like it should be playing in the background of one of those Matt Helm movies:

Thanks to Planet Mondo for the clip!


Planet Mondo said...

This is one of my fave fabs tunes - there's great cover by London Jazz here if you want to grab it