Monday, 19 July 2010

Chapter 2.13 With The Beatles - This Boy

I guess one of the advantages of having your own blog is that you can be totally biased, irrational and just plain opinionated and you can get away with it. So I think This Boy is a great song, but I understand if you disagree!

It is a totally stock doo-wop song that ticks all the boxes of a very simple genre. So why do I like it?

Logic, harmony & a strong bridge

Lyrically the ‘This Boy/That Boy’ device is nice and (unusually for the Beatles) the internal logic of the lyrics actually holds up all the way through the song.

The three-part vocal harmony makes the chord progressions sound far clever than they really are. Often someone is singing a major 7th over a straight major or minor chord. Nice.

The bridge. For once rather than being the weak link in an otherwise good song (e.g. Do You Want To Know A Secret, P.S. I Love You) it’s absolutely the high point. The tune rises with each new chord creating a feeling of rising tension which finds it’s release with the band stopping and Lennon’s impassioned “cry – i – i – i” leading perfectly back into a subdued verse (a dynamic shift which they achieved via editing).

So that’s it. It’s a dumb little song but it moves me. Isn’t that what it’s all about?

And that wraps up chapter 2. Next we’re going to shake things up a little bit. Stay tuned.


  1. Yeah, I'm a sucker for a good tune and tight harmonies. So kill me.

  2. Although I'm late to this party, make it three votes. I LOVE "This Boy." One of my all-time favorites, as a matter of fact. I have, of late, wondered what it would sound like sung by Dhani Harrison, Julian Lennon and James McCartney.

  3. Interesting idea Rich. I don't think it's too outrageous to say it would probably not be as good as the Beatles! Simply because in this song they were going back to the root of the music they loved. I'm not sure what Dhani etc common roots would be - probably Led Zeppelin?!

    Anyway - welcome to the party - there's still some mouldy vol au vents down the side of the sofa...