July 21, 2004

Classic mock

The thing about songs you've had memorized pretty much since you learned how to talk is that they predate your critical faculties. Anyway, for some reason, a complaint about "Yesterday" popped into my head today, after years and years of this lyric getting a free pass:

Why she had to go, I don't know, she wouldn't say
I said something wrong, now I long for yesterday

Hmmm. Perhaps the reason she had to go had something to do with the fact that you...said something wrong? Just a theory.

Posted by Francis at 02:53 AM

With all the Beatles lyrics that aren't in the same zip code as making sense, you choose to quibble with that one?

Posted by: Ken/Cazique at July 21, 2004 09:53 AM

When I was a young'un and din't know the real lyrics to Yesterday (not that I do now) I made up the following:

Today was called tomorrow yesterday
And the day after tomorrow they
Will call tomorrow yesterday

Posted by: Dan at July 21, 2004 10:22 AM

It sounds like every hack comic mars/venus premise.

"What did I say, honey?"

"If you don't know, I'm not going to tell you. I'm leaving."

Posted by: ugarte at July 21, 2004 10:51 AM

I always read that as "I said, 'Something wrong?'" The ice queen won't tell him why she has to go, and the poor sap is just questioning what could possibly be wrong with what he saw as a fine relationship.

Posted by: Alex Gordon at July 21, 2004 11:09 AM

Much like Alex, I also assumed that there was a question mark in there, but I thought it was "I said something wrong?, now I long for yesterday." I.E. He doesn't know if he said something wrong.

Posted by: Mark at July 21, 2004 01:18 PM

I never read a question mark in there, but, similar to Mark, I figured it meant "I [must have] said something wrong [though I have no idea what it could have been]."

Posted by: Lance at July 21, 2004 01:40 PM

I always read it as "I said something? Wrong now! Elongate yesterday."

Like, the guy said something that opened up a rift in space-time that popped him into another dimension where time moves more slowly, and also the South won the Civil War. So while he landed in what would be equivalent to his present, it was a different present, or a "wrong now," and also he noticed that time moves more slowly where he is now, and therefore yesterday has been elongated. Naturally McCartney knew what the magic word was that would pop you into the Walrusiverse, but he didn't want to put the actual word in the lyrics because then he'd have been sucked across space-time when he recorded the song. So he just said "something."

Posted by: Billy Joel at July 21, 2004 08:31 PM

I always thought it was ""I?!" said Something, "Wrong! Now, I!" Long...for yesterday."

In other words, Something (some unidentifiable entity with the power of speech) is accused of an offense, and angrily denies it, saying "I?! Wrong!" Then it realizes, the next moment, that it has in fact committed the offense that very second, and amends its denial: "Now, I!" The narrator reflects that this admission has taken a long time...for yesterday, when admissions generally came much more quickly.

Posted by: Martha at July 22, 2004 11:55 AM

Actually that sounds pretty plausible to me.

Posted by: Billy Joel at July 22, 2004 01:35 PM

Though the more I think about it, I wonder if it's actually "John, while Jim had had had, had had..."

Posted by: Lance at July 24, 2004 01:02 PM

In the lyric "Suddenly, I'm not half the man I used to be. There's a shadow hanging over me. Oh, yesterday came suddenly.", shouldn't it be "Yesterday went suddenly" instead of "Yesterday came suddenly"?

Posted by: Eileen at July 25, 2004 08:38 AM

I don't know...at one moment, it was 11:59:59 PM, two days ago, and then, suddenly -- only one second later! -- it was yesterday.

If you are, however, referring to the fact that yesterday is when things were fine, and today is when he screwed things up, and thus that it's weird he seems to be complaining about yesterday in this verse, when the rest of the time yesterday is the day he is nostalgically longing for...then, yeah, that's weak.

Posted by: Francis at July 25, 2004 05:18 PM