Thursday, February 2, 2012

"P.S. I Love You"

My Beatles criticism project continued:

From the first 5 seconds of "P.S. I Love You" it is clear that we are not in the realm of rock music. There is no steady back beat, there is no hint of a blues sensibility in the music, and there is no energy behind the vocals. What if left is a rather watery pop stew that leaves this listener unsatisfied, and hungry for something else.

Paul's lead vocals have center stage here, filled out by George and John's backing vocals. The lyric carries the conceit of a love letter written by an absent lover throughout. The basic idea has been good fodder for rock artists right from the start, but here it is pap. There is nothing of the uncertainty and anguish that fuel a great rocker like "Please Mr. Postman" or "The Letter." Instead, we have the most dutiful of boyfriends telling his girl (presumably) exactly what she wants to hear. ("Remember that I'll always, Be in love with you") ("I'll be coming home again to you love, Until the day I do Love, P.S. I Love You, you, you, you!") I know we have all come to expect Paul to be a little spineless, but here it is extreme.

The instrumentation gives the song nothing but the lightest of touches. Ringo (or Andy White) hits nary a snare, and the guitar sound is safe enough for the Lawrence Welk Orchestra.

After about 1 minute and 20 seconds of this, Paul seemingly remembers "Hey! I'm in a rock and roll band!" and begins to add totally incongruous vocal flourishes. The background vocals coo "As I write this letter", Paul yells "Oh!" (Although this could be John's's hard to tell.) "Oh!"????? Gee, letter writing isn't usually considered so sensual an experience. The cooing continues "Send my love to you" to which Paul answers with a guttural "You know I want you to remember!" which sounds phoned in from another song all together. But after these moments the song resumes its lackluster character to its "You! You! You! - You! You! You! I Love You!" finish.


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