We're Going Wrong
shows the soft side of a nascent hard rock group, and is in that way similar to the softer side of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, such as May This Be Love
, released in August 1967. Both songs are built around rolling drums (Mitch Mitchell having a different style, but sharing a similar jazz technique as Ginger Baker). Both provide a platform for soulfully sweet singing lead guitar. But there are differences as well that are interesting. May This Be Love
delights with its likeness to falling water. Sound effects were popular in the psychedelic aesthetic, but Hendrix played at higher stakes of musical mimicry with his guitar playing skill. We're Going Wrong
aims its music entirely at the emotions, as would most of Cream music, without introducing sonic elements of the outside world. May This Be Love
is more complex structurally, and even adds variety of tone with an interruptive and angry B section, while We're Going Wrong
continues with the same chord progression, the same pace. We're Going Wrong
changes intensity due to increase or diminishment of sound from the drums and rhythm guitar, restrained electric guitar accents from Eric Clapton beginning in the second verse, and the urgent pleading in the singer's voice. The ending is a decisive and emphatic traditional blues conclusion, a goodbye, as the singer seems to get no response from the listener.
We're Going Wrong is not the sort of song that makes for good acid trips. The song appeals through trance, through direct appeal to the listener and the usual psychedelic bromides like "Open Your Mind", but whatever is on the other side is not love (as promised by earlier psychedelic artists) but estrangement. In this it shares the mood of People are Strange by the Doors. Yet We're Going Wrong is far more emotional and intimate; it sounds like it was constructed to make its listener cry with guilt or regret, almost too late to save the sinking ship. The lyrics are as broad in meaning as possible, so that the listener can find something wrong in a relationship (or in the world, as some of the audience seem to hear it). The progressive tense of the refrain indicates a direction rather than a state of being (we're going wrong, rather than we've gone wrong) so maybe the estrangement can yet be turned around.