Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Who is this "I" of which you speak?

Today in History of R&R we were discussing the Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand," and the subject of Lennon and McCartney's unison singing came up. The lyrics are about the singer wanting to hold the hand of his/her love. What does it mean that two men are singing the lyrics at the same time? One student said he assumed the two people were singing to each other, that they had idyllically identical emotions for each other. Thus John and Paul want to hold each others hands for a charming tribute to homosexual relationships. (The emphasis on "hand" in each refrain through the split to separate notes takes on an interesting light with this interpretation.) Another interpretation is that the two men are vying for the affection of a woman, both of them wanting to hold her hand. And yet another is that the blending of two voices together represents an ideal Everyman who wants to hold Everywoman's (or another Everyman's) hand in a celebration of romantic love. Thus the listener can place his/her love as the singer, since a specific identity has been hidden through the fusing of John's and Paul's voices.

Then again, it could just be because it sounds nice.

1 comment:

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