The third album by The Beatles at last did away, for the first time, with songs written for, or covered by the group. Let’s face it – they could write a catchy tune.
In mid 1964 Hard Day’s Night hit the record shops and was again a transatlantic smash hit album. The album, entirely written by Lennon / McCartney featured songs from the film of the same name, not all the tracks actually appear in the movie.
A Hard Day’s Night is, fittingly, the first song. It is one of a few songs that is instantly recognisable from its very first guitar strike. A track that, like I reflected on in the Please Please Me write-up, is almost like a nursery rhyme. If you can criticise it in any way it is that it is perhaps overly familiar – I’m nit-picking here.
I Should Have Known Better is also very well known. A great pop song even if it clearly does sound a bit dated. Not many bands can write to this standard.
If I Fell is a song I’ve probably never heard before today. Oh, wait, now it’s playing of course I’ve heard it. Slow and charming, it certainly adds to the breadth of the LP.
I’m Happy Just To Dance With You is much less well-known. A weaker song than all so far but not necessarily poor.
And I Love Her again is familiar. More Paul than John surely and a strong quite powerful composition with a charming stuttering guitar break. Very enjoyable.
Tell Me Why sounds like a familiar adverisement in the waiting. A hooky vocal that widens to a stronger all-round sound with additional vocals.
Can’t Buy Me Love and we’re back to that massively popular sound. A very famous song that I do not need to write any more about.
Any Time At All I have never heard before now. It does sound good for this and allows an appreciation of how much the band have moved on, albeit incrementally, since their debut album.
I’ll Cry Instead has that 60’s charm. Again a song I’ve never actually heard before. With a more rounded mature sound it fits the album very well.
Things We Said Today is the best song, that is new to me, from this album, thus far. Quite an evocative vocal delivery mirrored with restrained soft chord progressions. As it fades out – you kind of want it to stick around and continue. Nice song.
When I Get Home conversely is quite a lot weaker. No real hook to take any notice of. Hmm.
You Can’t Do That is better than the previous song, but not better than Things We Said Today. It’s no show stopper but again, sits well on the album.
I’ll Be Back is deeper . The Beatles do deep well. Evocative and almost moving despite a restained overall sound. It closes the album making you want more.
A Hard Days Night followed fast on the heels of the first two albums and adds depth even if it is no huge forward step. It shows that the band did not need songs written for them and could pen a whole album with ease…