Deep Dive: Help!
Released in 1965, the Fab Four's fifth full-length LP is "Help!" It has yet another iconic cover and another full length film of the same name was made in conjunction with it. This album is special as it has 12 original songs on it and just 2 covers...one of them being "Dizzy Miss Lizzy" and the other being "Act Naturally."
"Starting with the title song, the album offers moments of compositional and lyrically foreshadowing into a much more sophisticated and adventurous musical territory, which the group immediately began exploring with Rubber Soul.
Help!’s foray into emotional exploration is a product of both John’s growing infatuation with Bob Dylan and the mental/physical anguish accompanying his incessant dissatisfaction with The Beatles' unprecedented success.
In a 1980 interview with David Sheff, Lennon revealed a piece of his inner turmoil during this time period:
The whole Beatle thing was just beyond comprehension. I was eating and drinking like a pig and I was fat as a pig, dissatisfied with myself, and subconsciously I was crying for help…
When Help! came out, I was actually crying out for help. Most people think it’s just a fast rock ‘n’ roll song. I didn’t realise it at the time; I just wrote the song because I was commissioned to write it for the movie. But later, I knew I really was crying out for help. So it was my fat Elvis period. You see the movie: he – I – is very fat, very insecure, and he’s completely lost himself. And I am singing about when I was so much younger and all the rest, looking back at how easy it was." (Genius)
The album starts off with the song, "Help!" This new side of Lennon is developing more and more as the years pass and he writes more original songs. He said in the 8 Days A Week trailer that he always liked this song because it was so honest.
"The Night Before" is the next song. I remember seeing this video for the first time like ten years ago and I still remember it. Paul looks adorable in it per usual. The fake instrumentation is kind of...funny, I guess. Anyways, I love Paul's vocals and think the video is great.
Another song with a video from the movie, "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away." I always really enjoyed this track's mellow vibe with the acoustics and the dramatic outburst of "HEY!"
"I Need You" is the fourth track on the album and it is sang by George. This is the second song to be written and recorded by Harrison. The first was "Don't Bother Me." Thematically, he's taken a turn as well.
"Another Girl" is mainly sang by Paul, but is credited to the classic Lennon-McCartney. It's essentially Paul curving a girl for another.
"You're Going To Lose That Girl" was always a favorite of mine. I love the harmony and overall tone John gives the song.
A classic..."Ticket To Ride" is the seventh song on this album and is definitely one that most everyone knows. "I think I'm gonna be sad..." More personality and vulnerability is shown here. Lennon's stuck in a Dylan obsession and I love it.
"Act Naturally" is the first of two covers on the album. It's sang by Ringo. I actually don't mind this one. It's country...it's Ringo...but, it's fine.
The next track, "It's Only Love," is one that I more recently got into. It's a very sweet song, and another one that hints at John's emotions and lyrical ability.
I always thought this song was funny. "You Like Me Too Much" is the album's tenth song and is another one by George. It's kind of a messed up song...I wouldn't necessarily call it funny now.
"Tell Me What You See" is one that I haven't gotten super into honestly. It has the nice dynamic between the group. Paul is quoted from a biography to say, "[this song is] not awfully memorable. Not one of the better songs, but they did a job, they were very handy for albums of b sides" (Genius). I have to agree completely.
"I've Just Seen A Face" is one of my favorites on the album. It's a track that I've seen Paul perform multiple times and just one of those feel good songs. He sings it wonderfully, too. Love at first sight theme takes over the song, but the guitar keeps it interesting.
Next is "Yesterday." What's there to say about this one? Another Paul classic. I love seeing this one in concert, too. The crowd goes absolutely wild. It's never been a favorite song of mine personally, but I understand its place in music history.
The last cover song on the album is the last track of the album. "Dizzy Miss Lizzy" is a good rock and roll song with John's leading vocals. I always really liked this song and thought it was underrated.
All in all, I wouldn't consider this a favorite album of mine but I quite enjoy the thematic turn the four are taking in writing. I don't believe I've seen the film, so I'll have to do that at some point. I would say my favorite track of the album is "It's Only Love" followed by "I've Just Seen A Face."
The next album the group releases in that same year, 1965, is "Rubber Soul."