Wednesday, December 7, 2011

"Love Me Do"

My Beatles criticism project continued:

The song begins with a healthy dose of John's harmonica, with studio session man Andy White's drums and Ringo's tambourine playing the next most obvious presence. Paul's bass is right there but he isn't doing much to make it distinctive.

"Love Me Do" is simplicity itself. The song contains four verses, one bridge and they fit in an harmonica solo as well. Paul handles the solo vocals, but there is a heavy backing vocal to help fill out the sound. It is a mid-tempo shuffle that doesn't have a strong "rock and roll" feel to it. In many ways the song feels like the last stand of the Quarrymen, the skiffle group that grew into the Beatles.

The lyrics couldn't be simpler. "Love, love me do. You know I love you. I'll always be true. So please, love me do." That covers all of the lyrics for all four verses. The bridge adds "Someone to love, somebody new. Someone to love, someone like you." The chord progression also follows a simple G & C chord structure, with a D chord being thrown in on the bridge. Hardly the stuff of virtuoso performances.

Yet, somehow, the song manages to add to more than the sum of its parts. The group vocals are particularly strong. The harmony used on the elongated "please" in the verses is quite gorgeous. They also layer the vocal effectively. When Paul's voice alone sings "Love me do" it contrasts nicely with the fuller vocal sound on the rest of the record. The harmonica also provides a sort of commentary throughout the song. It adds musical interest to a song that might otherwise have gotten monotonous.

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