One day you came into my mind
And everything looked as though it was all mine.
Loveliness to gaze upon
To feel your magic pulling me away.
I thought I was on top of it all.
Everyone else was so small.
Then I knew what you wanted to do.
I knew what you wanted to do.
Often think of times when all your thoughts and words
Come close to making me lose my mind.
Moment now recalling all the time involving minutes
That we spent alone.
[Repeat 1st verse]
Younger than Yesterday, an album with its title drawn from Bob Dylan’s song My Back Pages, pulled back a little from some of the brash psychedelic experimentation of the Byrds’ previous album Fifth Dimension and returned to a predominantly, though not entirely, folk rock style. Perhaps the group hoped to reclaim an audience it had lost with Fifth Dimension, but ironically, both albums rose to the same position on the U.S. charts. The album did not produce much excitement upon its release, but it was an improvement over its predecessor in that the psychedelic aspect was located more in the structure of the songs and less on the sound effects. Their new producer, Gary Usher (who had worked with the Beach Boys, co-writing with Brian Wilson the song In My Room, and also had worked with the Association to produce Along Comes Mary) provided an even tone that had been lacking in Fifth Dimension, and which gave Younger Than Yesterday a feel of being one project rather than a variety show. However, for an audience becoming accustomed to astonishment in the psychedelic era, it produced “nothing new or startling”, as Richard Goldstein wrote in the Village Voice. The album increased in critical estimation as a growing “underground” audience began valuing albums as a whole more than as a collection of hit singles and filler.
The A section of Thoughts and Words follows a falling minor chord pattern that was beginning to be popular in psychedelic music at the time. The droning effect of the verse suggests drugs, but the effect is given a sharp contrast in the pop beat of the first two lines of the chorus (reminiscent of the Beatles’ She’s A Woman chops) before the last lines of the chorus dissolve into a drone again, as if the person being sung to is eerily taking over his mind. The use of psychedelia to suggest a hypnotizing “other” has modest success in this recording when compared to more successful songs on the theme: the Beach Boys' Good Vibrations, Grace by Country Joe & the Fish, and the Beatles' Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds. It’s a possibility that the “you” in this song is LSD itself, as would be the case with Eric Burdon's A Girl Named Sandoz, soon to be released. In the break, Roger McGuinn adds the first experimentation on record—outside the Beatles’ Revolver sessions—with a guitar recorded backwards.