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2.03-AND YOUR BIRD CAN SING (Beatles)

Beatles

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[Intro]

You tell me that you've got everything you want
And your bird can sing
But you don't get me,
You don't get me.

You say you've seen seven wonders
And your bird is green
But you can't see me,
You can't see me.

        When your prized possessions
        Start to weigh you down
        Look in my direction,
        I'll be round, I'll be round.

[Break]

        When your bird is broken
        Will it bring you down?
        You may be awoken,
        I'll be round, I'll be round.

You tell me that you've heard every sound there is
And your bird can swing
But you can't hear me,
You can't hear me.

[Coda]


And Your Bird Can Sing is first of all a hard driving rock song, more akin to Ticket to Ride than Strawberry Fields, yet the tightly composed dual guitar melody of McCartney and Harrison likens it to the Baroque Rock of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson. For this reason I include in the Supplemental Psychedelia. Alan W. Pollack wrote of the song in his Notes On website that "the opening riff feels intrinsically Baroque just by virtue of its perpetual-motion-in-even-eighth-notes and its embellished scale-wise melodic content. But the gesture is further intensified by Paul's occasionally walking bass line, and most of all, by the way that the riff is cyclically repeated in the manner of a concerto grosso's ritornello or a da capo aria's obbligato." The melody thrives on an extraordinary composition, resembling the Byrd's blend of psychedelic and folk rock, yet moving more quickly and deliberately than Jim McGuinn. The lead guitar melody introduces itself before the singing, but one hears only the first half of the elaborate phrase, which is given completion later in the coda.

As a lyrical composition, the song has an A and B section without a sung chorus (it seems to me that the guitar melody serves that function). The composer, John Lennon, was himself dismissive of And Your Bird Can Sing, calling it "fancy paper around an empty box". I believe Lennon is referring here to the lyrics. The song reflects a Messianic tendency in Lennon that started with The Word and he had brought also to Rain. The words echo Rain ('Can you hear me?"), and evoke a "square" bird (or girlfriend, as in Norwegian Wood) who thinks she's seen and heard everything, but can't seem to "get" the singer. The lyrics do break down, as the "bird" seems to change identity...and I find the green bird especially clumsy. Yet, the words imply an anti-materialism important in the hippie movement, and therefore secondarily to the psychedelic era, capturing the spirit of the times. Another snapshot of the past is added to the song when the lyrics change "sing" to "swing", reflecting the "swinging London" of the 60s.

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