Today, on a certain social networking site, I was informed that Paul McCartney has set up a new Q&A feature on his website entitled You Gave Me the Answer, named after the Honey Pie-style pastiche which appears on the Venus and Mars album. This prompted me to listen more closely than heretofore to the lyrics of said song, and it is not too much to say that the experience stunned me. Below is my analysis.
Let's look at the opening lines for a kickoff:
You gave me the answerWRONG! This is NOT a sound basis for a lifelong relationship. The final line ought to have been:
To love eternally
I love you and you
You seem to like me
You love me.That is the only logical option, inexplicably shunned by Macca. (What? Oh, I dunno, use a bit of melisma or something.)
Anyway, that's merely the first in a catalogue of errors. I have literally only scratched the surface. Hang on. Next verse:
Wherever we wanderAgain, WRONG! One's estimate of the success of a relationship cannot be judged by "local folk", especially if they're like the people I saw in Asda today. Besides, modern conventions of social engagement make it unlikely that passers by would be openly scrutinising strangers' faces, their primary objective being to avoid any display of what might be taken to be confrontational behaviour.
The local folk agree
I love you and you
You seem to like me
Now, striving to mask our disappointment at the trail of careless and shoddy workmanship revealed so far, we move to the bridge:
Heading back to old familiar placesThis is literally unbelievable! Again, WRONG!! "Places where the cobwebs blow away" would not be "old familiar places", which are more likely to be cobwebbed, unless the National Trust have taken over with their stupid signs and gift shops. And - also WRONG! - "airs and graces" are almost certainly integral to the artistocratic narrator, whose whole identity is bound up with maintaining them.
Places where the cobwebs blow away
I can forget the airs and graces
Besides, top poet Charles Lamb tells us that all, all are gone, the old familiar places - and Macca's own experience of playing in the Cavern-which-isn't-the-Cavern ought to have alerted him to the goof, even if he had never come across Lamb's verse.
But these inconsistencies, these instances of gross observational negligence, are as nothing compared with the final verse:
You'll never be crowned by the aristocracyPutting aside the question of the aristocracy's power to create some new ruler willy nilly outwith the bounds of a Stephen Poliakoff miniseries, the suggestion that people of that sort would evince "delight" at the prospect of dining with a commoner is incredibly WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!!!
To their delight, you'd merely invite
Them in for a cup of tea
For make no mistake: whatever small talk might issue from their smooth, oleaginous lips, some sign - a brightness in the eyes, perhaps, or a meaningful glance exchanged after some solecism committed by the untutored teamaker - would put beyond doubt that these lordly types were experiencing a sensation more precisely described as smirking contempt.
What, so you'd call that a kind of delight, would you? Well, I would not: not true delight, unfettered joy, so NO. Once again, WRONG!
It is clear from the above that of all the songs which could have chosen to be associated with a Macca Q&A this has to be literally the wrongest choice ever.
What do I suggest? I'll tell you what I suggest. And I strongly resent the appellation "Smartypants."
Why not make it a phone in and deliberately disconnect each caller in the first instance? This would have the effect of weeding out less determined fans and it would allow Macca to dub the feature Call Me Back Again, conveniently on hand on the same album.
Or, I dunno, you could maybe restrict it to female fans asking irrelevant questions so you could call the feature Oh Woman Oh Why? (Can't remember what that comes off of but I think it's a B side.)
Or going back to Beatle days you could call it Ask Me Why (although you'd have to illustrate with one of those early editions of the Please Please Me album which credit it to McCartney-Lennon, obviously).
In the next post I shall be turning the bright beam of my incisive analytical skills towards Tommy Roe's Sheila.
And almost immediately after that the concept of the Superfluous Man shall be discussed, with particular reference to the shirtfront incident in Rufus Thomas's Funky Chicken.
I know you won't want to miss either.
Tatty bye, everybody, tatty bye.