Beatles Diplomacy

Filed under:Jerks,Language Barrier,Music,Not Cool — posted by Anwyn on August 16, 2008 @ 11:12 am

A post on the Beatles. I don’t know what this blog is coming to. I blame SarahK, whose ongoing saga “We Can Wiirk It Out” has got the Beatles stuck in my head today, much to my distress.

I dislike the Beatles. I like individual songs here and there (“I Will” leading that category by several lenths), but in general I find them (the group) overblown and overrated. On the “overrated” charge, I am willing to concede that, being far too young to have been around for the furor they caused when they were coming up, I probably cannot appreciate by how far they were the first of their kind. And I certainly have not missed the fact that a lot of my favorite musicians cite them as influences. So I don’t want to be ungrateful. But sometimes their sheer pompousness really gets to me. Have you ever really listened to the words of “We Can Work It Out?”

Try to see it my way,
Do I have to keep on talking till I can’t go on?
While you see it your way,
Run the risk of knowing that our love may soon be gone.
We can work it out,
We can work it out.

Think of what you’re saying.
You can get it wrong and still you think that it’s all right.
Think of what I’m saying,
We can work it out and get it straight, or say good night.
We can work it out,
We can work it out.

Life is very short, and there’s no time
For fussing and fighting, my friend.
I have always thought that it’s a crime,
So I will ask you once again.

Try to see it my way,
Only time will tell if I am right or I am wrong.
While you see it your way
There’s a chance that we may fall apart before too long.
We can work it out,
We can work it out.

Wow. We can work it out, as long as “work it out” means you immediately drop your POV and position and embrace mine. Otherwise we’re through.

“You can get it wrong and still you think that it’s all right” is undoubtedly said between many a couple during arguments. If one person didn’t think the other was unutterably wrong, there probably wouldn’t be the fight to begin with. But it’s not a basis for “working it out.” It’s the basis for the ultimatum being given here: Drop it or I’ll drop you. Seems like they’re past the point of presenting arguments with evidence and logic behind them to try to sway the other person or at least get a compromise. So what is there to work out?

The bridge is possibly the worst of all. “Fighting sucks, so stop doing it. Obviously I’m not the one fighting; it’s just you being so very, very wrong.” If you go to war, needlessly, for I did not desire it, then men will be slain. Saruman sez: I didn’t desire the war, I just decided to overrun your lands and lay waste your forests and plunder your people and you were supposed to do nothing. Because you didn’t do nothing … war! See what you did?

This song is the same thing in microcosm. It is horrible, and not worthy of McCartney, the man who wrote “I Will.” Looks like there may have been some personal overtones to it, but once you put a song out there like that it becomes a general recipe, and this is one of the worst I’ve ever heard.


  1. I’ve always taken it tongue-in-cheek.

    Comment by sarahk — August 16, 2008 @ 4:40 pm

  2. Hmmm. I might be humor-impaired, wouldn’t be the first time.

    Comment by Anwyn — August 16, 2008 @ 5:06 pm

  3. My understanding was also that it was a sarcastic commentary about what most people mean when they say they’re willing to work something out.

    Comment by Venomous Kate — August 18, 2008 @ 11:11 am

  4. I think you two ladies are smarter than McCartney and Lennon. A little googling mostly reveals descriptions of this song as “a direct appeal” to McCartney’s girlfriend at the time, and the biggest Beatles guy I know kindly took a look and said “utopian pap.”

    Comment by Anwyn — August 18, 2008 @ 9:38 pm

  5. FINALLY someone agrees with me that the Beatles were overrated. You want to talk bad lyrics? How about “Let It Be,” which, if memory serves, goes like this:
    Let it be
    Let it be
    Let it be
    Let it be
    Let it be
    Let it be
    Let it be
    Let it be
    (repeat chorus)
    And don’t even get me started about that “I am the walrus” nonsense.

    Comment by Zabaduba — August 19, 2008 @ 4:35 am

  6. Hello, stumbled across yr blog. Hearing you badmouth the beatles is sort of like having someone badmouth my baby sister (not that I have a baby sister), but I will try and respond calmly:)

    Not overrated at all, but a band full to overflowing with talent. Anyhow, I agree that it is tongue in cheek. I actually love the song, as the verses/chorus written by Paul have his optimistic feel, but then the bridge (I think written by John) is full of his pessimism and minor chords– a great mix.

    Anyway, I’m sure you don’t really want to read my critique on the Beatles. And I won’t take yr bait on Let It Be.

    Comment by Ben McLaughlin — August 19, 2008 @ 3:00 pm

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