Sunday, October 19, 2014

I tried to telephone

The first three songs on Beatles For Sale may be my favorite opening trio on any Beatles LP.   All three were written by John Lennon, and they capture him at his early peak.   His songwriting would evolve over the course of the next three years, but these sad melancholy love songs from late 1964 are just my cuppa tea.  John was still fully invested in the Beatles and their future at this point, and for at least a couple of more albums he would lead the way with his amazing songwriting talent.

No Reply was a brave choice for the opening cut.  Of course Paul McCartney's fingerprints are all over this song, from the great harmony work (in tandem with George) to the uptempo middle eight.   But it is John's glorious sense of melody and the emotional explosion with "I Saw The Light..." that just sends this over the top.   His singing turns raw and anguished, and it hits me right in gut.  The acoustic strumming and Ringo's sublime syncopation just add to the atmosphere.

1 comment:

Holly A Hughes said...

You are so right -- this is a great and yet underrated cluster of songs. Hold this up against the pop conventions of the time, and it breathes so much new life into them. I love how it starts in medias res, "I tried to telephone" -- like a little novella in song. And you're so right, it just explodes into that "I saw the light" -- so fraught with emotional tension. Sometimes it just overwhelms me, how instinctually genius these guys were.