I’m So Tired - The Beatles

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The Beatles

I’m So Tired (1968)

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Lennon wrote "I’m So Tired" one day in India when he couldn’t sleep.

McCartney commented:

“I think we were all pretty tired, but he chose to write about it.”

A perfect exercise in mood, pace, and melody,  "I’m So Tired" is probably the only song ever written that manages not only to musically describe insomnia, but to also make it sound entertaining. The track features an excellent dynamic flow of the musicians and vocalist. Providing the perfect undercurrent for the singer is vital and there are some points in this song that indicate that this aspect had become second nature to the band.

The song is exceptional in Lennon’s unusual use of non-harmonic tones.

Says David Quantick, author of the only book on The White Album:

“Lennon simply gave the performance of his career, moving from inertia to a droll final mumble. Harrison added some superbly jagged lead guitar. Starr drummed impeccably, a mixture of sluggishness and thunder wherever appropriate. McCartney was also slinky and, as ever, intelligent in his playing. Lennon simply gave the performance of his career, moving from inertia to a droll final mumble.”

An interesting aspect of Lennon’s performance on the recording is the underlying tension caused by his threats to break out of his lethargy and indecisiveness. Occasionally his voice rises and tenses (particularly in the choruses), ultimately peaking with desperate unanswered exclamations of “I’m going insane!” and “You know I’d give you everything I’ve got / For a little piece of mind”, only to fall back into sluggishness. “I’m So Tired” is desire without resolution, and that’s what makes this sloth-like deep album cut unexpectedly compelling.

In his discography on the Beatles’ musical canon, Tim Riley writes of "I’m So Tired":

“The opening line droops down a half step with weariness and the entire beat moves along grudgingly, sinking beneath the weight of exhaustion. A guitar makes sharp, jagged accents right as Lennon’s delivery works itself into anger, his resignation rising to hostility on the line: ‘I wonder should I call you/But I know what you would do.’ The hung-over pace of the players sounds as though they’re trying to get through the track without knocking anything over.”

The song relies on “plural perspectives, based on multiple narratives” which generates discourse between the reader and the text, because when a text does not explicitly spell out its meaning a place develops for the reader to contribute to the production of meaning.

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