Something - The Beatles

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"Something" - The Beatles (1969)

The original intent of the song was as a devotion to Lord Krishna as George was a student of “Krishna Consciousness” when he wrote it. His only comment on the track was:

“They had blessed me with a couple of B sides in the past. But this is the first time I’ve had an A side. Big deal!”

Engineer Geoff Emerick remembers the smugness on the face of George when he first presented the track to the band. Emerick recollects how he had the guts to tell Paul how to play the bass part of the song and that he wanted it to be performed in a simplified manner.

Emerick writes:

“It was a first in all my years of working with the Beatles: George had never dared to tell Paul what to do. For the first time, John and Paul knew that George had risen to their level.”

Author Jonathan Gould described “Something” as a duet between Harrison’s voice and his own lead guitar. Through it gives the impression of being highly melodic, the tune in the verse is actually very narrow, moving in a range of five notes, which enables Harrison to sing it with great relaxation and force.

George’s guitar solo is in counterpoint with McCartney’s jazzy, melodic bass. Yet the bass line somehow manages to still keep out of the way of the melody and doesn’t overtake it. Ringo comes up with an immovable backbeat and varied tom-tom fills.

George supplies the entire vocal arrangement in a neat pattern of alternating sections of single tracking, double tracking at the unison, as well as singing in harmony with himself. The restrained string orchestra adds a pleasantly lush finish to the arrangement. Because the song is a ballad, it’s slow enough to create large spaces the musicians to fill in which gives the track a feel of aesthetic simplicity.

Despite its elusive quality, “Something” stands as a supreme, affirmation of love, the attraction of the “Other.” Of the reality of that something that connects one with another in the universe.

The overriding theme of the track is doubt and uncertainty. The composition can be interpreted as an internal struggle within an individual who doesn’t love a woman- but lusts her. She entices him and essentially manipulates him. She knows he has nowhere else to go and that is leverage for keeping him in this relationship.

The man really loves this woman that he is in a relationship with. But there is something wrong in it and he’s trying to decide whether he should end it and if by doing that- then if this will be the end of his problem. He is torn between his deep love for her the knowledge that his love for her can’t grow any more.

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