I’ll Get You - The Beatles
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"I’ll Get You" - The Beatles (1963)
Lennon said of “I’ll Get You.”
“That was Paul and me trying to write a song…and it didn’t work out."
“It’s got an interesting chord in it- “it’s not easy? To pre-TEND…That was nicked from a song called “All My Trials” which is on an album I had by Joan Baez.”
This is a rare Beatles song with twin-lead vocals by McCartney and Lennon where they are not harmonizing. It featured Lennon’s harmonica, and a songwriting device few other lyricists of the day did.
The opening line, “Imagine I’m in love with you,” was refreshingly inventive in that it used a simple hypothetical suggestion to immediately transport the listener to another time and place. It also disarms both the listener and the object of the singer's fantasies. The entire first verse suggests that the pursuit being described exists, has existed, will go, will vanish and shrink.
The composition is full of contradictions—both textual and musical—that belie its innocuous veneer. For instance, a primarily placid musical surface is interrupted in the recurring chorus by a sudden violent outburst, while textually the protagonist's sense of fact and fantasy are exchanged, even confused. After a verse of apparently innocent imagination, the singer announces in the chorus that his dreams will be realized "in the end". In the protagonist's mind, there is no chance that the pursued will escape.
Harrison's bluesy guitar rhythm and McCartney's dotted-note bass pattern provide some flow and rhythmic variety. Against that flexibility, and in the absence of the conventional relief supplied by drum crashes, rolls and other types of fill, the constant ticking on Starr's hi-hat builds tension throughout the first verse and into the first chorus.
“I’ll Get You.” works its audience so brazenly that it isn't easy not to laugh at is cheekiness.
Musicologist Tim Riley writes:
“It comprises none of its aggressiveness to achieve a real sweetness; its lure is gently seductive and pressing only when the singers’ passion overtakes them on the swelling note. Innocence is overcome by desire. The beautiful truth that lies in the harmonic blend of their voices says that they believe in what they’re singing- and since the song is not really a threat but a self-pep talk, that’s all that really matters.”
The track has John formulating his creative visualization- the idea that by imagining changes we want to see, we can actually bring them about. It offers an immodest celebration of true love’s capacity for triumphing over every possible obstacle. In the world of the song, love is a miracle that can be realized through the simple act of faith and fantasy.
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