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notes on ...

Notes on "I'll Cry Instead"


Notes on ... Series #53 (ICI)
  by Alan W. Pollack
       Key: G Major
     Meter: 4/4
      Form: Intro | Verse | Verse | Bridge | Verse |
                  | Bridge | Verse (with complete ending)
        CD: "A Hard Day's Night", Track 9 (Parlophone CDP7 46437-2)
  Recorded: 1st June 1964, Abbey Road 2
UK-release: 10th July 1964 (LP "A Hard Day's Night")
US-release: 26th June 1964 (LP "A Hard Day's Night")

General Points of Interest


Style and Form

  Next note The "official" version, found on the British "Hard Day's Night" album, is a standard two-bridge model with neither an instrumental solo section nor double verse in between the two bridge sections. An small unusual twist here is the lack of an outro, proper; instead, the song simply comes to a complete halt at the end of the final verse.
  Next note Strange as it sounds, the song was planned at one point to be used in The Film as the musical accompaniment to the "running and jumping" scene, instead of "Can't Buy Me Love". In order to lengthen it out to match the timing of the film scene, an "alternate" version, with the first verse repeated at the end, was artificially spliced together. This formalistic oddity can be found on the American film album (from United Artists) as well as the mono pressing of "Something New".

Melody and Harmony

  Next note As we've seen in many other songs on the "A Hard Day's Night" album, the melody of this one is heavily bluesy but only in the verses, and even in there, the use of the blue minor third and seventh is not consistent; look carefully at the tune and observe the continual alternation of B-natural and B-flat, and the extent to which this lends a characterizing flavor to it.
  Next note Similarly, the chords of the verse are limited to the bluesy set of I, IV and V, while the bridge features a full-blown, albeit short-lived modulation to the key of V (i.e. D).


  Next note John's solo is the only vocal part heard on this track. The double tracking is quite noticeably better synched here than usual, leading me to half suspect that it might have been artificially done, even though I don't believe that the Beatles had yet discovered the special effect of ADT at this point.
  Next note The overall instrumental sound is rather countryish by virtue of the strumming style of the rhythm guitar, the chordal obbligato part for the lead guitar, and the prominent use of the tambourine. Note the way they all "zoom" into the opening G-Major chord from the note below, and the extent to which this effect recurs throughout.

Section-by-Section Walkthrough



  Next note There's not much of an intro to speak of here, except for two measures worth of vamping on the I chord (i.e. G). The guitar part hints at a shift to the IV chord (i.e. C) on the off-beat, but I believe these are heard more as transitional neighbor tones filling in between the I chords on either side, rather than as a discrete change of chord root.


  Next note The verse is sixteen measures long with four phrases all of equal length:
      |G       |-       |-       |-       |
   G:  I

      |G       |-       |D       |-       ||
       I                 V

      |C       |-       |-       |-       |

      |G       |D       |G       |-       ||
       I        V        I

   [Figure 53.1]
  Next note The harmonic rhythm is almost plodding, but the momentary speed-up in the final phrase helps create a sense of formal closure to the section.
  Next note The melodic phrase heard over the C chord in measure 9 (D -» F -» D -» C -» B-flat-» C as in "if I could see you now") — with it's flat seventh and third, as well as the way in which the F and D run roughshod over the C chord below it, are extremely characteristic of both this song and the Beatles' semi-bluesy style of this period in general.
  Next note The penultimate phrase of each of the two verses which follow a bridge section feature the dramatic touch of the other guitars dropping out to make way for a long walking bass solo plus tambourine. Together with the specific choice of words that starts off these verse ("and when I do you better ..."), this musical effect has a way of connecting them to the preceding bridges and making them feel as if they tie off some kind of business left unfinished back in the bridge.


  Next note The bridge is eight measures long with two phrases of equal length:
      |b       |-       |A       |-       |
   G:  iii   
   D:  vi                V

      |D       |-       |e       |A   D   |
   G:                                 V
   D:  I                 ii       V   I

   [Figure 53.2]
  Next note The pivot modulation from G to D is somewhat ingenuously awkward. The move to the b-minor chord does not by itself signal the start of a key change, and although the move from there down to A tells you something is afoot, it is a move which is more ambiguous than sure-footed.
  Next note In truth, one does not regain a clear sense of key again in this section until near the end when the new key of D Major is firmly established by its own ii -» V -» I progression. And yet, just as this happens, we just as quickly scamper right back to the home key in the final measure of the section, a moment which contains the fastest stretch of harmonic rhythm in the entire song. Indeed, this jumpy kind of tonal shifting around neatly reflects some of the unease of the lyrics.

Some Final Thoughts

  Next note It's tempting to describe this one as a less mature, less self-aware warm-up for the later "You've Got To Hide Yourself Away". Most notable, in contrast to the few other bitter songs of this still relatively early period (e.g. "You Can't Do That" and "Tell Me Why"), is the complete focus in this song on the forlorn aftermath of the breakup, accompanied as it is with thoughts of self-pity and revenge. There are no descriptions or allusions here to any past pleasures, why's or wherefore's; only pain.
  Alan (042192#53)
Copyright © 1992 by Alan W. Pollack. All Rights Reserved. This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and otherwise propagated at will, provided that this notice remains intact and in place.