Monday, January 28, 2013

My favorite (ex)Beatles song right now

When critics assail Paul for his lightweight material, it's songs like "Tomorrow" that they have in mind. I'm glad I don't belong to those circles, because I can't imagine not appreciating all of the melodic charm, rosewater whimsy and - believe it or not - disguised tension that "Tomorrow" has to offer. Notably more fetching than "Yesterday," this polished, piano-driven cut from 1971's Wild Life - the debut record by Wings - finds Paul beseeching his dear to stay strong and true as they map out a brighter future. Using an altered vocal that makes him sound younger and more tender and backed by airy "ohs" and "ahs," Paul projects hope - urgent, infectious hope - even as doubt and pain are plainly evident. "Don't you let me down tomorrow" doesn't exactly brim with confidence, and "Holding hands we both abandon sorrow" means there's sorrow to overcome. And as he sings in my favorite line, "Through the week we beg and steal and borrow/Oh for a chance to get away tomorrow." It's a tricky balancing act - cloudy skies and uncertainty mixed with idyllic visions of picnics and "country air." The glue seems to be those spacious, sustained "ohs" that Paul belts out again and again. They pack both anxiety and optimism. Far from merely twee, "Tomorrow" is fraught emotion made irresistible.
(If the video is removed, go here.)

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