It starts with just a little glance now.
Right away you're thinkin' 'bout romance now.
You know you ought to take it slower
But you just can't wait to get to know her.
A brand new love affair is such a beautiful thing
But if you're not careful think about the pain it can bring:
It makes you feel so bad.
It makes your heart feel sad.
It makes your days go wrong.
It makes your nights so long.
You've got to keep in mind love is here
Today and it's gone
Tomorrow. It's here and gone so fast.
Right now you think that she's perfection.
This time is really an exception.
Well you know I hate to be a downer
But I'm the guy she left before you found her.
Well I'm not saying you won't have a good love with her
But I keep on remembering things like they were:
She made me feel so bad.
She made my heart feel sad.
She made my days go wrong.
And made my nights so long.
[Chorus and fade (2x)]
The lyrics of Here Today reflect the tone of Paul McCartney's I'm Looking Through You on Rubber Soul, released previously as an address to an old lover: "Love has a nasty habit of disappearing overnight", though the Beach Boys' tune is advice to a third party, the new lover of an ex-girlfriend, telling him to take it slow. Again some maturity is shown here, in the singer's good will: "Now I'm not saying you won't have a good love with her..." in a rather adolescent situation, as if all three characters belonged to the same high school.
To my ears, this song is both a catchy pop number worthy of radio play and adventuresome as a composition, since not only is there variety in sonic tone within the song (a signature aspect of Pet Sounds as a whole) but the song's form makes way not only for an A and B part with chorus, but a C-part as a lead into the chorus, as well as a break that actually reduces the music to the C section down to a keyboard riff with its own character. I appreciate, too, that the chorus has run on lines to emphasize “today” and “tomorrow”. It was the last song recorded for the Pet Sounds album.
It is well known that Pet Sounds impressed Paul McCartney upon hearing it for the first time, so it may not be purely accidental that McCartney’s song about missing John Lennon after his death is titled the same as this Beach Boy’s song. Here Today by McCartney, however, reverses the relation that Brian Wilson had set up—for Wilson, the lover is gone and the import is “here today, gone tomorrow”; McCartney’s song imagines what he might say to Lennon if he were to return to life, and the message is “gone before, here today”.