It’s funny; for an album as historically dismissed as Beatles for Sale, I haven’t written about any of its tracks in quite some time. It’s been over two years and 89 songs in fact, when “Kansas City/Hey Hey Hey Hey!” popped up at #174. Only four of the album’s 14 songs ranked lower, all of them covers, incidentally enough. That means that Beatles for Sale makes up an impressive 10% of the top 90 songs, a feat topped only by The White Album (which contains more than twice as many songs).
That “I’m a Loser” is the album’s lowest-ranking original is actually a testament to how stellar the group’s songwriting efforts were in the second half of 1964, as it’s an absolutely fantastic song. Anyone who knows me well knows I’m all about vulnerability, and John really gets deep here. It’s hard not to interpret it as a confession to being a fraud, and for a man with a considerable ego like John Lennon, it’s a refreshingly honest counterpoint to any “bigger than Jesus” remarks that may have slipped out over the years. By masking it with an upbeat, manic country-folk sound, he managed to keep the charade of infallibility going, but much like the similarly poppy (cry for) “Help!” its autobiographical undertones eventually became obvious.