This is a tricky one. There are so many elements of “I Want You” that I really do love, but John Lennon didn’t seem to know when enough was enough:
- The song is nearly 8 minutes long.
- The lyrics consist of a mere 15 words, one of which is “Yeah!” I’m all for economy of language, an art perfected by R.E.M.’s immortal “The One I Love” in all its 21-word glory. (It would take me far more to properly express how absolutely brilliant–and often misinterpreted by listeners who seem to tune out after the first line–that song is, but that’s for another list.) But “I Want You” doesn’t really leave itself open to interpretation, so its lyrical succinctness is way less satisfying.
- John Lennon is one of rock’s greatest screamers, but that aforementioned “Yeah!” is pretty brutal.
- The guitar riff is sick, to borrow slang from a 90s metalhead. But it’s repeated so many times that it becomes kind of grating.
- Its meandering coda lasts for the final third of the song, the last minute of which is dominated by a hiss that increases in volume and makes you wonder whether there’s something wrong with your record player.
- Did I mention that it’s 8 minutes long?
If I can run a mile before it finishes, your song is too long.
That said, I have no complaints about the bass riff, and the sudden, jarring ending is pretty awesome. I love listening to a song and it just cuts off in the middle of something; it’s a really