I'm Looking Through You - The Beatles

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"I'm Looking Through You" - The Beatles (1965)

McCartney wrote “I’m Looking Through You” when his girlfriend, actress Jane Asher, left on a theater tour. He remarked how the song helped him discard some “emotional baggage.”

In this unique Beatle folk rock style track, McCartney is no longer impersonating the great singers of American rock ‘n’ roll— but by this time had assimilated their influence and become a distinctive singer in his own right. Clearly, he was learning to blend as well as contrast their now multitude of musical timbres, and to do so for novel effects.

“I’m Looking Through You” demonstrates a split personality in its combination and alternation of elements from the hop-rock style and the folk or country-western styles. The acoustic guitar introduction sets the tone with a mixture of folk and country musical traits, which characterize the accompaniment for most of the composition.

The music is upbeat, the melody strong, and although the lyrics are a little dark and heart-wrenching, it is disguised well. Kinetic energy abounds from more than just the beat as the image the song creates in the mind of the listener is “run and jump, now return to the starting point you so you may run and jump again, only this time much farther.”

The instrumental texture is dominated by the sound of acoustic guitar and electric bass, yet the electric lead guitar in this song seems to play the role of a shy lurker, commenting on the main action in a rather tentative, interjectory way. Paul’s lead vocal is double tracked the whole way through except for the outro, where the switch over to single tracking adds a surprising last minute sense of increased intimacy and immediacy.

Ringo doesn’t play the drums- but claps- and while sitting down, slaps his lap in time. When he was asked what the tapping sound is he replied: “Oh, I just tapped on a pack of matches with my finger.”

Beatle scholar Alan Pollack remarked about “I’m Looking Through You” that typical of the Beatles, “the tambourine part is more carefully planned out in a pattern than you might ever notice unless you pay careful attention to it as a listener.”

The narrator accuses his woman of changing so he will hold out a thinly-veiled threat of withdrawing his affection. Love has a habit, he warns, of disappearing overnight.

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