Strawberry Fields Forever - Nothing is real

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Better... better... better... better.......

Those of you who really know me, know that not only is "Hey Jude" my favorite song, but that I very rarely listen to it. Since I was closing in on track # 40,000 played through, I decided it was time to listen to it to be the magic # 40,000..

In a way, I like the fact I listen to the song rarely, so the sheer rush of when they build up to the climax of the song "better.. better..." comes through full force. It almost seems that if I listened too often, it would become common place. As Paul McCartney sang in another song (solo career) - "May I never miss the thrill of being near you..." I never want that sheer thrill to grow old.

This may sound cliche to call Hey Jude my favorite song of all time - but it really is. The lyrics are simple, and the chorus may be even simpler - but the joy of the song is so pure that it simply doesn't matter.

The build up to that point where Paul just let loose that one note right before the chorus started crashing in.... I compare it to the build up of the orchestra in the last movement of Beethoven's 5th symphony where it sounds like heaven is just about to open up, only to have the strings come crashing in with a simple, almost flirty melody. I also compare it to that wondrous moment in the Rhapsody in Blue when all of a sudden the full orchestra swells the theme of the piece - but even that disintegrates back into the disjointed piano. (no, I'm not describing either of these well - there was a reason I did poorly in my music class at Berkeley)

The difference between these pieces and Hey Jude, to me, is that unlike those other pieces, in Hey Jude, heaven DOES open up. For that one moment when Paul is holding that note, it's truly perfect. I never want not to experience that sheer thrill. Yes, the chorus afterwards is simple - but so is joy. One doesn't need polyphony, Chaucer-level lyricism and atonality to express joy. And at it's core, that's all that "nah-nah, nah-nah-nah-nah, nah-nah-nah-nah, Hey Jude" expresses. Couple that with Paul's inspired vocalizations as the chorus winds on, and really, how can one not feel a piece of the sheer joy of the song?

On top of that, the story of the song - of Paul wanting to comfort young Julian Lennon at the impending divorce of Julian's parents, further endears it. And while simple, the lyrics are lyrics of hope. Hope of getting the girl, hope of overcoming fear, of accomplishing the great feat, hope of not only being able to make things better, but of doing so.

Oh yeah, the harmony vocals in the first half of the song are also just so ludicrously beautiful.

Yes, I am effusive in my praise here, and likely more than a little silly. But it's hard to be rational - I love this song, plain and simple.


  • How wonderfully put - I shall have to relisten with fresh ears - my favourite will always be A Day in the Life - terrifyingly beautiful. Never fails to take my breath away.

    By Anonymous Conortje, at 12:27 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home