Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Thought for Today: A Touch Can Mean So Much When It's All You've Got

I've been listening to "That Means A Lot" fairly obsessively for the past couple days since re-borrowing The Beatles Anthology CD set from my dad to stick it on my iPod. As in, it ends, and I immediately play it again, and then I think about it a third time.

If there is a better "lost" Beatles track than "That Means A Lot," I have not heard it (I guess that means you've still got a shot, "Carnival of Light").

Let no man speak ill of the Anthology when it brings us such treasures!

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(EDITED to add links if you are inclined to listen to it yourself, and as long as I've got your attention...)

I'm trying to put my finger on what exactly I like so much about this song. It's got a couple strikes against it, actually. The mix on the Anthology is going for a kind of Wall of Sound thing but just comes off muddy. And the lyrics on the song itself I don't find quite up to the usual pop elegance of the Lennon-McCartney team of this time. That "a friend" conceit sort of sticks out and isn't used for any reason, the first verse has a redundancy that doesn't sit well (First line: "A friend says that your love won't mean a lot", last line: "But when she says she loves you, that means a lot") and the pronouns are kind of all over the place. They sound a bit like temporary lyrics, except that there's apparently twenty-plus takes out there all with the same words (although it's possible that this is all used to a secret, brilliant effect that I'm too dumb to pick up on).

The music itself, as a song rather than a performance (although the drumming is great, any take I've found on YouTube that does it differently isn't as good), I find really stirring though, maybe it's as simple as that. I looked up some tab for this song and messed about with it on piano and I really like that Am6 chord (if that's indeed what's actually being played)...


Andrew Hickey said...

Child Of Nature is better (Jealous Guy with Mother Nature's Son-like lyrics). And some of the rehearsal versions of All Things Must Pass with Billy Preston are gorgeous

Justin said...

If I'm being honest, "Child of Nature" is probably BETTER, but there's just some X-factor about "That Means A Lot" that hooked me. Not just as a "lost" Beatles song, but as a song, period.

Never heard those "ATMP" versions with Billy Preston, though, I'll have to look for those in the usual places.