Things We Said Today - The Beatles

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"Things We Said Today" - The Beatles (1964)

Recorded in June 1964, McCartney said "Things We Said Today" was based on the idea of a future nostalgia where a person remembers the things that were said in the present- but sometime in the future. It’s one of the first Beatle songs that deals with the issue of time in a specific manner- albeit superficially.
 
McCartney's vocal was double-tracked to make it stand out. The vocal arrangement is neatly organized around the novelty of using only Paul’s voice throughout. The ominous mood matches the sombre lyric and he sings the simple melody in such a quiet, measured voice it allows him to hold out the ends of his lines as if he was purposely trying to prolong the joy and happiness of the present moment. His voice is filled with both wonder and apprehension.

The song itself stands out as one of the type of  innovative harmony ploys the Beatles would try due to their innovative nature- and their refusal to “stick to the rules of the game.” It has an ominous feel which matches the sombre mood of the lyrics. The music assists the words in the evocation of an otherwise difficult to verbalize complex of emotions as the lyrical optimism is in disagreement with its musical pessimism.

Says Beatle Scholar Dennis Alstrand: 

"On the musical level, every instrument on this song is bent away from self-expression and directly toward "song expression".

The track is notable for its repetitive use of blues motives in a hypnotic, nonblues context. Ensemble playing (by all four) is at its finest. Paul's bass contribution  is very tasteful that drives the song along. The music moves between slow and fast- and in fact, it is really two separate songs skillfully blended together. During the slow part, Paul’s voice covers the sound almost like a blanket. During the rock part, his voice carries the tension of a rocker.

On the surface, it can be said that the song is your standard love ballad. But is actually about true love in the face of logistical challenge, and the viability of love's lasting for always. It speak of the reality of love, involving responsiblity and wonder as well as pleasure. 

The narrator seems to be presenting the wisdom of the ages which anticipates the sadder and lonelier time that awaits us all. It reminds us to hold close those dear to us, and to love them deeply for as long as we can, because someday all we’ll have left are the memories of all those people and the faint echo of all that love. 

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