McCartney says he thought of "Your Mother Should Know" as a “production number.”
He claims he was advocating peace between the generations- for all the parents and children out there who “misunderstand” each other.
Apparently he was upset at all this waste of motherly love- and how such things wind up having both sides carry so much hatred for many years. It bothered him, adding:
“I was trying to say your mother might know more than you think she does. Give her credit.”
It has an old-fashioned sound which fits perfectly with the idea that it’s a favorite of a past generation. McCartney apparently hoped that the rich pitch and rhythmic tricks would allow him an empty salute to the Fred Astaire era.
A poignantly bouncy period piece- "Your Mother Should Know" is danceable; while at the same time radiates a sorrowed tone. It has a ballad-style- but with a comparable fusion of wit and nostalgia. However, the lyricism is dreamily mysterious.
Professor Ken Womack writes that the music on the track proves to be the composition’s most interesting feature, with Harrison and Lennon playing hypnotic passages in a psychedelic duet of dueling Hammond organs. The track walks in place, both lyrically and musically, without ever moving forward.
The backing track is dominated by keyboards, bass, and drums; the latter being held back, in typical fashion, until the final measures of the first verse, and the harmonium reserved for the bridge sections.
Musciologist Tim Riley commented how the bright and clear the harmonic turns are. He points out how the bridge is a piano solo that disrupts the oom-pah-pah meter; but it suggests more than it actually expresses. He adds:
“With its echo-laden pianos, somber lower register, and subterranean nostalgia, the lyrics trace the rather one-dimensional story of a speaker whose friends have become lost on their way to meet him.”
In his book Displacement and Belonging in the Contemporary World, James McGrath points out that the lyric repeatedly implores an imagined audience to dance, and sing along, to another song that "Your Mother Should Know"
The lyric is upbeat, the mood is undermined harmonically. The song remains elusive: the chorus merely repeats the title, and there is no middle-eight.
“After each chorus, the melody wordlessly bridges back to the verse refrain across the descent and rise of Lennon’s funereally wistful organ motif, as if searching for this other song, only to return without it. Many of Lennon-McCartney songs suggest certain psychoanalytical overtones to the persistent, yet usually elusive, notion of belonging. However, their songs transcend the autobiographical in addressing key aspects of how belonging is experienced, or imagined, in the modern world, placing the individual in relation to wider cultural ideas.”