Thursday, July 20, 2017

TRACK SIX: "Tell Me Why VS. The Word

Before we continue, let's catch up.

I have this theory, though I am sure I am not the only one, that we've all come to believe by dint of simply saying so for such a long time, that certain works of art, music and film especially, are the best in their field. "Rubber Soul?" Of course it is better than "A Hard Day's Night." And though this method is admittedly flawed, stacking up the songs from those two records against each other, just might give "A Hard Day's Night" the edge.

One last thing- to clear up some confusion, and maybe I should have thought of this at the beginning of this battle, try to vote with your heart, not your head. What might be a better composition might not be what you'd rather listen to. I know most of the time I'd rather watch "Jaws" than "Citizen Kane."

I find all of this very interesting, and by the amount of comments here and on Facebook, I think you do too. So enough of my yakkin'!

"And I Love Her"- 30
"Think For Yourself"- 18

When I was a kid, I would skip over "The Word." There was something about the chorus, specifically the 4-note melody, over and over again, that would give me the twitch. Many years later, I've grown quite fond of it, with its funky feel and rhythm not unlike "In The Midnight Hour," this is yet another example of what these four lads could do. In the middle of a 60's, folky pop record, they toss in a little bit of R&B it feels like fits perfectly.

"Tell Me Why" was apparently written by Lennon as filler. Tossed off while on tour. What great filler! Another great Ringo performance. More great harmonies behind a soulful Lennon lead vocal. Those indecipherable falsetto vocals right before one of my fave lines, "I really can't stand it, I'm so in love with you." This track is a monster. And it gets my vote.

1. A Hard Day's Night
2. Norwegian Wood
3. If I Fell
4. Nowhere Man
5. And I Love Her

Previously on Album Battle:







Brett Alan said...

I love "The Word", for its psychedelic rockin', but also because only John would have the balls to write "Now that I know what I feel must be right, I'm here to show everybody the light." Hey, I just figured it out, but it feels right to now everyone NEEDS to listen to me! And I think he believed that.

FWIW, I'd much rather watch Citizen Kane again than Jaws.

Sal Nunziato said...

"FWIW, I'd much rather watch Citizen Kane again than Jaws."

I knew writing that would be a mistake

Shriner said...

Two songs I could take or leave.

Tell Me Why gets my vote because I dislike it less than The Word.

TMW seems like the definition of a "let's throw a song together in 15 minutes" Beatles song.

cmealha said...

"Tell Me Why"
I just feel it's a better, more developed song than "The Word" which I like but it always felt like something they just knocked off quickly to get something done for the album

buzzbabyjesus said...

"Tell Me Why" kicks ass while "The Word" sucks it.

I'm an only child, so I didn't have elder siblings records to steal. That's why there were gaps in my Beatles collection until I went to college and started buying everything. That's when I first heard "Rubber Soul" in it's entirety. It was 1977 and "The Word" did not stand up well to The Sex Pistols "God Save The Queen". Still Doesn't. A stupid song. The only ones worse are yet to come.

itsok2beright said...

The Word happened to come up on my shuffle on my way to work. Immediately thought to myself that you were going to restart the challenge. Right after it finished, I hit again for an 'instant replay-replay-replay' (ok, you needed to remember when ABC 770AM had music back in the day).

I'm going with The Word. Tell Me Why just never did it for me.

Charlie Messing said...

Tell Me Why. Why? It's not bad, but when I hear The Word, I think "Next!"

Rick said...

For what it's worth, I'd rather watch When Harry Met Sally than either Citizen Kane or Jaws. Voting for Tell Me Why...

Jeff in Denton TX said...

Love both songs, but prefer "The Word" a bit more.

Anonymous said...

Hello, please remain seated,

The Word never really got the enzymes flowing in my music appreciation gland. I go with Tell Me Why.


Alexi said...

For me this one is a tossup- I like the energy of Tell Me Why more, I like the slightly more mature outlook on The Word. Both have nice full-Beatle harmonies in John-dominated songs, with The Word a little more intricate on the backups, but Tell Me Why with a more exciting lead vocal. The Word also has that nice R & B feel as Sal mentioned. Overall, I'd say it's more ambitious, but I'll go with Tell Me Why for its more effective simplicity and youthful energy.

soundsource said...

I'll go with The Word

David said...

my vote "Tell Me Why"

Michael Giltz said...

Two good songs, each with some "flaws." As Sal suggests, I've always gone with my heart over my brain on these picks and so I pick "The Word."

I love the rush of "Tell Me Why" but after playing both songs back to back three or four times throughout the day, I became less interested in "Tell Me Why" and more interested in "The Word." Mind you, "Tell Me Why" has that bonkers falsetto they throw in almost out of nowhere that I love and it's a great little single. Still, it feels like the "let's write another song" entry that it is rather than one of their more inspired efforts.

The lyrics of "The Word" are just as pedestrian on the surface (and I've always hated the "It's so fine; it's sunshine" passage. Come on, lads! On the other hand, I think it would make an absolutely rocking tune for evangelical Christians to make their own, not that John would approve. he of course beautifully undercuts his certainty about the awesomeness of love by pointing out he's just figured it out himself.

Both songs have awesome drumming from Ringo, needless to say. But dig the electric organ solo by George Martin (or actually I guess a harmonium/pump organ). that wins me over every damn time and makes me want to listen to it again right away. Neither song inspires massive passion, but "The Word" wins out.

Michael Giltz said...

I think you made the "I'd rather watch Jaws than Citizen Kane" joke before. Both are great of course and I think Kane is funny and gripping and endlessly entertaining. Maybe it would be clearer to compare, say, Ingmar Bergman's Wild Strawberries to his Seventh Seal. Both are masterpieces but one is a delightful bon bon and the other is quite a bit more dour (though not without humor if you see it with a crowd).

Some movies just lend themselves to repeatability more than others, even if both are great. I could watch Casablanca and The Adventures Of Robin Hood and Star Wars a thousand times, whereas major films like "Solaris" or whatever feel like a full meal you don't need to dive into again right away. In fact, some films are so emotional or moving to me I DON'T want to see them again too often in case I dull their appeal and impact: "Au Revoir Les Enfants," The Double Life Of Veronique," "Shoah. "

Scorsese's "raging Bull" and "GoodFellas" are his best films but the more poppy and fun "GoodFellas" is a lot more fun than the tough and brutal Raging Bull. Still. if either comes on I can get sucked in and I'd rather watch either than the more unpleasant greatness of "Taxi Driver" which has a bleakness and nasty world view via its character I don't really enjoy immersing myself into all the time.

So yeah, two albums can be great but you just want to play one over and over again. I think it's less to do with quality than something inherent to what the artist was doing. Mind you, for me it's the rare artists like the Beatles and Dylan and Sinatra that I simply never get tired of at all. Never.

Sal Nunziato said...

The Jaws/Citizen Kane comment wasn't a joke.

Anonymous said...

This is the easiest choice so far: Tell Me Why by a country mile. TMW has always been one of my favorite tracks on Hard Day's Night, and The Word has always been one of my least favorite tracks on Rubber Soul.


A guy called Tak said...

'Tell Me Why' gets my vote. Why? The Beach Boys covered 'Tell Me Why', I don't think they ever covered 'The Word'.
BTW, I've never seen 'Jaws'. 'Citizen Kane' twice.

Troy said...

Going with my heart over my head, I go with Tell Me Why. Love the chorus, gets me singing out loud. Isn't that what rock'n'roll is all about?

Dave said...

I'm right in line with the consensus. "Tell Me Why" for sure, although I prefer the Beach Boys' version on "Party" more.

Dave F.

Michael Giltz said...

Not joke as such. I meant it was a line you knew would get a reaction, I guess. A provocative statement. Though most people haven't watched Citizen Kane the way most people certainly of a certain generation have seen Jaws so I don't know how it plays -- both are hugely acclaimed films, though of course kane is held up as one of the best of all time while Jaws has tons of acclaim but is better known for kicking the idea of a wide release and "summer movie" into high gear. I was just looking for other examples to illustrate the idea.

dogbreath said...

"Tell Me Why" for me and I'll tell you why (see what I did there?): it's just a deceptively simple, lovely melody & a great chorus that still moves me all these decades later & I'll be singing the damn thing all day now!

Rodger Stroup said...

"Tell Me Why" would win this battle everytime. Filler or not, I never tire of hearing this one.

Joe said...

Tell Me Why. joe

Anonymous said...


Both songs really good but not great.

Captain Al