On the surface, this deceptively simple ballad is basically one cliche lyric after another. If you assembled the words to the complete discographies of 1950s teen idols and fed them into some algorithm for a computer to write a love song, “Ask Me Why” would be the output. There’s nothing here that the Beatles didn’t say a million times in other songs, in language that was a million times more effective, evocative, and engaging.
Of course, pretty much every Beatles love song has been superseded by Dr. Dre’s “Bitches Ain’t Shit.”
Yet I can’t quite shake off its charms. There’s a reason why this style of music was so popular before the Beatles rewrote the rule book. Not every song was going to change the world, at least not until Dr. Dre came along.