Tuesday 26 October 2010

12:6 She Came In Through The Bathroom Window (pt.1)

Now we get to our first song that forms part of The Long One. The music is cool in a variety of ways but the lyrics are some of the worse that the Beatles ever released. In fact they’re so bad that I feel it’s time to inaugurate the Lyrical Hall Of Shame.

The lyrics stink in a myriad of ways but the overarching crime is that they’re portentous nonsense. Now I’m not against nonsense per se. When we get to Strawberry Fields  and I Am The Walrus  *SPOILER ALERT* expect me to gibber like a bewigged fanboy. But this is a different story…

Let Macca Tell You A Story...

She came in through the bathroom window.
Good start. Attention grabbing. I wonder who is this girl and why she is coming in though the bathroom window? Heck I wonder whose bathroom it is? I’m sure we’ll find out soon!
Protected by her silver spoon.
Is it some kind of magic amulet? Or a ninja weapon like a throwing star? What does she need protection from? Unpleasant bathroom smells?
Now she sucks her thumb and wonders.
About what exactly?
By the banks of her own lagoon. 
Which is presumably in the bathroom. Or is she no longer in the bathroom? If so, what was the bathroom incident all about?

Didn’t anybody tell her? 
What? Sucking your thumb is a bad habit? Or that there was nothing of interest in the bathroom and it really wasn’t worth the effort of climbing through the window.
Didn’t anybody see?
Her magical ninja spoon? Her unorthodox entry? (Perhaps she is a thief?!!!)
Sunday’s on the phone to Monday. Tuesday’s on the phone to me. 
Let’s take a break for a self-referential nod towards Lady Madonna. The fans will dig that.

She said she’s always been a dancer. 
A spoon-wielding, thumb sucking dancer. Or maybe even dancing thief!
She worked at fifteen clubs a day. 
That has to be against all union regulations. You would think a woman who owns her own lagoon wouldn’t need to work so hard.
And though she thought I knew the answer. 
The answer to that question that you haven’t actually mentioned so far? We’re beginning to have a few questions of our own Paul.
Well I knew what I could not say. 
You do surprise me. You’re normally so articulate.

And so I quit the police department. 
There’s another little detail you forgot to mention. You’re a police officer. Or you used to be. Is it too much to ask why you quit?
And got myself a steady job. 
Most people would say being a police officer is a steady job Paul. Pension, health care, no chance of work drying up.
And though she tried her best to help me. 
Presumably by performing another cross-city dance-a-thon? Why doesn’t she sell that lagoon?
She could steal but she could not rob. 

Does anyone know another word for synonym?

To sum up

This is a bad song (lyrically) because -

  • It introduces numerous details out of the blue, only to drop them and never mention them again.
  • Has pointless imagery and personification that don’t mean anything or represent anything.
  • It is cast as a narrative but has no narrative flow or structure.
  • It takes a word and tries to make it mean something that it doesn’t.

2/10 McCartney. See me after class.

(Never fear, the rest of you, it all gets better from here!).


  1. I wonder if McCartney was trying to ape John Lennon's playfulness with words. It's a Fail, as you noted. It's absolutely no fun to sing along with, whereas Strawberry Fields and I Am The Walrus are great fun to sing along with.

  2. Good point - maybe he was trying to do a Lennon. Or just feeling lazy...

  3. I've always thought it was "attracted by a silver spoon" not "protected by." Which would give her a reason to come through the window. This one word ties the rest of the song together a bit. She's a thief and a dancer (a junkie? spoon reference) who breaks into a policeman's house. He likes her enough to not turn her in, and eventually quits the PD to join her free swingin ways and all whatnot. She's still a thief ("and though I tried my best to help her"), and he just doesn't care.

    Also ties in "she could steal but she could not rob" - she stole my spoon but I got her fine self.

  4. Ingenius Norm!

    I wish you'd written the song - it would have made more sense!

  5. Yes, Norm's version makes sense sort of

  6. OK, I'll try my hand at a quick commentary interpretation. It sort of makes sense, but Paul was probably tripping around the time of the composition.

    She came in through the bathroom window - self-explanatory
    Protected by a silver spoon - from a wealthy family
    But now she sucks her thumb and wonders - she's a lazy Luftmensch
    By the banks of her own lagoon - she's isolated and alone and sad

    Didn't anybody tell her? - Money was provided but not guidance
    Didn't anybody see? - Surely she could have had a mentor.
    Sunday's on the phone to Monday,
    Tuesday's on the phone to me - We're always stuck between our ever present past and the future, living in the moment, and communicating with and about the previous day and the next.

    She said she'd always been a dancer - She's a bit artsier
    She worked at 15 clubs a day - people don't appreciate artistic work
    And though she thought I knew the answer - (Love)
    Well I knew but I could not say. - I didn't feel comfortable telling her I loved her.

    And so I quit the police department (So this song is from the perspective of a cop who fell in love with a dancer, eh)
    And got myself a steady job (A job with which I could go steady and actually love)
    And though she tried her best to help me
    She could steal but she could not rob. (So maybe his "steady job" is robbing now?)

    Didn't anybody tell her?
    Didn't anybody see?
    Sunday's on the phone to Monday,
    Tuesday's on the phone to me
    Oh yeah. (I like the oh yeah ending).


  7. @Zac - excellent work my friend! 10/10 for effort!

    Not only have you raised this to the level of philosophy

    "We're always stuck between our ever present past and the future, living in the moment, and communicating with and about the previous day and the next".

    but you managed to get another sneaky McCartney reference in there ("ever present past")

    Now all I have to do is find out what a Luftmensch is...

  8. I see a key difference between stealing and robbing, that being the presence of the victim. Stealing is taking from "no one," or in the absence of the victim, whereas robbing is taking from the victim's person.

    Webster backs me up:
    Rob = to take personal property from by violence or threat
    Steal = to take the property of another wrongfully

    The point being that the narrator has interrupted the would-be thief, and she can't complete the act in his presence.

  9. Thanks e2017etcetc!

    I hadn't appreciated that slight nuance of difference there...

  10. again... you don't understand poetry, where it comes from. Words also have vowel sounds that are integral to melody. Music and lyrics arent about spoon feeding a story or info a lot of time they are complete abstract creativity.

    1. Don't confuse lyrics and poetry. Poetry is governed by its own set of rules and is primarily meant to be read and, at most, recited. Lyrics, on the other hand are meant to be sung. They are set to music. Lyrics have their own rules that govern the song form (AABA, Verse/Chorus, AAA, where titles are placed and not placed, etc...) Lyrics CAN be poetic. No matter if one is spoonfed a story or not. However, as Matt has pointed out, She Came In Through The Bathroom Window is not an example of poetic lyrics.

  11. Matt, I agree that McCartney writes some howlers, and this song is full of them (sucks her thumb and wanders by the banks of her own lagoon?!?! what kind of metaphor is that!), but a couple of the lyrics are golden.

    "And so I quit the police department/And got myself a steady job"
    -- I love how he mocks the cops. The idea is that the cops should get real jobs instead of molesting honest people.

    "And though she tried her best to help me/She could steal, but she could not ROCK"
    -- First of all, it's ROCK, not rob. Listen carefully. The lyrics make sense this way, too: he quits the cops, becomes a musician, but she can't help him. Not bad.

    But the Sunday/Monday lyric is pure dog crap stuck all over the shoe of this song, no doubt.

  12. That is a nice line - you're right.

    It is 'rob' though - rhymes with 'steady job' - you can clearly hear it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?x-yt-cl=84503534&x-yt-ts=1421914688&v=VrAdX4O1m4M#t=594 at around the 9:50 mark.