I’ll Cry Instead - The Beatles

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"I’ll Cry Instead" - The Beatles (1964)

“I’ll Cry Instead”  was The Beatles first highly successful foray into the country and western vein, with lyrics that are at once amusing and affecting- such as "I’ve got a chip on my shoulder that’s bigger than my feet."

The track was recorded in two separate sections that were then edited together. The melody is heavily bluesy but only in the verses. It is one of the few Beatles songs that does not have a middle jam in it, no guitar solo or licks. It starts, goes through the process, and then ends. It is also unusual as there is no harmony.  Yet through the harmonic basis is the same as that of early rock, it has a more placid effect upon the listener, maintaining a transparent orchestration as well as harmonic progression.

John had written about crying in many of his songs to this date but  "I’ll Cry Instead" was different in that he was saying that once he’d finished crying he would return to seek vengeance. He imagined coming back and “breaking girls’ hearts around the world”, as if by causing people to fall for him and then spurning them, he would be able to punish everyone who had ever rejected him.

Music journalistg Steve Turner wrote that it was a “brutally direct song in which the narrator admits on the one hand to shyness and a fear or vulnerability and on the other to a cruel streak that gained pleasure from hurting women.”

The track narrates its speaker’s manic response to heartbreak against a driving country and western backdrop. The speaker’s anguish makes for a signal moment in the Beatles’ corpus, given that he’s not merely heartbroken, but hungry for revenge in the bargain.

Professor Ken Womack comments that the brute force of the song’s transition—and the larger shift in the Beatles’ previously unswerving veneration of womanhood in their aesthetic—is telling, especially when the speaker, with the bitterest of ironies in his voice, promises to “show you what your loving man can do.”

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