When I Get Home - The Beatles

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"When I Get Home" - The Beatles (1964)

Lennon based “When I Get Home” on the sound of Wilson Pickett’s ,”Come Home Baby.” It has been called an “R&B-inflused rocker.”

Influenced somewhat by the music of the Shirelles, it features a series of very unusual chord progressions which are constantly changing from major to minor keys- and then back again. Lennon liked the technique and used it on many other songs. As they did in other songs around this time- there would be a vocal leap into falsetto.

Beatle scholar Ian MacDonald described the track as a “burden-lifting rocker featuring some of Lennon’s most rangingly pugnacious lyrics and a vicious push in the chorus that several times defeats Starr’s cymbal crash.”

The song’s story is about a guy going home to his girlfriend. It is one of the very first songs Lennon would write involving guys that weren’t about teenage romance and infactuation with the opposite sex- but rather- to dominate them.

Professor Ken Womack adds:

“It tells the story of the speaker’s urgent return to his beloved. At one point, he even rebukes himself for loitering in the company of a third party—another woman perhaps?: “Come on, let me through, / I’ve got so many things I’ve got to do, / I’ve got no business being here with you this way.”The speaker’s crucial phrase—“this way”—turns out to be the crux of the matter, hinting, as it does, at the compromising situation in which he has placed his wayward heart. Only a swift return to his darling, it seems, can salve his growing remorse, as opposed to any burning desire that he may have for romantic return.”

beatle scholar Alan Pollack points out that some listeners find in this song a tense agitation in the refrain and a fierce determination in the verse that are irritatingly out of proportion to the situation implied by the lyrics:

“This contrast only goes to heighten a sense of irony and intrigue about the song.   Is the hero simply worried that he'll be somehow prevented by the second woman from returning "home", or perhaps is it more the reflection of an inner ambivalence within the hero himself about wanting to effect such a return? I similarly wonder what in blazes he possibly means by the line "I'll love her more till I walk out that door again" — just going to work or out on errands the next day after his planned return, or is this some off-handed allusion to the inevitability of repeated philandering?”

What’s even the point with this song?, asks Russian music critic George Starostin. He claims it is pretty lame to begin with- not just because its melody is less memorable (which it is), but also because through all of its two minutes John is straining so hard to get his message across to us that when this message actually does get across, the immediate psychological reaction is: "Now wait a minute... he simply wants to get home as quickly as possible?"

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