As pop gets more explicit, it’s easy to become nostalgic about acts’ creative attempts to smuggle drugs and sex into their songs. But most of the time the references work the way they do in “Day Tripper” – she’s a big teaser, she’s a day tripper, subtle stuff there lads! The song’s a frustrated goodbye, but who’d really blame a girl for having fun with boys whose eagerness to please is so apparent? I had it in my mind that this was a track where the Beatles rocked out, and the riff/backbeat matrix reminds me of the Stones’ recent hits, but there’s a neatness, a pertness about this band on this record. The breakdown could be the chance to nail the riff to our skulls but the band’s ascending, harmonised “aaah”s turn it into a big pop celebration instead. And it’s wonderful, but I’m left wondering who exactly are the teasers here.
The tambourine from “Day Tripper” shows up on “We Can Work It Out”, where everyone sounds more relaxed. Paul McCartney uses precisely banal language to deliver a lesson in reasonable conflict management in the verses, with Lennon’s witty harmonium humming in agreement. From my perspective, grown up in a house which owned a copy of Sergeant Pepper’s and not much else (by anyone!), the waltz-time middle eight is the first time the Beatles really sound “Beatlish”, the storied makers of reassuringly delightful songs.