Wednesday, October 26, 2011

34. Beatles, "I'm Happy Just to Dance With You" (1964)


I see on Wikipedia that this likely qualifies as something of a minor Beatles song—never a hit, written as a confidence-booster for George Harrison to sing, and lightly derided by Lennon and McCartney. It's short too, at less than two minutes. But it has always been among my favorites and even more so as increasingly my favorite albums by the Beatles have become the two bearing the titles of the first two movie projects. This is from the Hard Day's Night album and it's as shimmering and punchy and lustrous and black-and-white as the movie itself, attacking with brilliant ringing chords and a churning rhythm that set the tone instantly. I guess it's rather sing-songy (for George's sake apparently), but it has all the hallmarks of what made those first Beatles songs so perfectly attractive: innocent and full of children's energy, but compressed to diamond-points, overflowing with shrewd musical ideas and strategies that are never busy calling attention to themselves but are simply there to make the songs better. And they do make the songs better, unique and unusual and interesting, not in a way that shouts, "Look how clever we are," but rather that says, "What do you think of that? How do you like that?" "Silly love songs" as Paul McCartney would later make a fetish of it. That's all this is. "Before this dance is through / I think I'll love you too / I'm so happy when you dance with me." But it's driven by those chords and that rhythm and God knows what other musical tricks. It gets right under my skin and makes me instantly happy and I'm happy just to play it over and over—and particularly thrilled when it shows up unexpected on the radio, which believe me is not often enough. Hardly ever, in fact.

No comments:

Post a Comment