Song of the Day #2,245: ‘Michelle’ – The Beatles

rubbersoulI’ve posted 40 Beatles songs to the blog during ‘Beatles Weekends‘ alone, plus a dozen or so others over the years, but I never got around to featuring ‘Michelle.’

The song has gotten a bad rap over the years for it’s weak French and too-simple melody. It’s an easy punching bag and a ready exhibit for those who claim Lennon was the most talented Beatle.

Indeed, Lennon supplied the best part of the song, the “I love you, I love you, I love you” bridge.

But I can’t dismiss ‘Michelle’ so easily. It isn’t among the band’s (or Paul’s) best work, but it is instantly memorable and as sonically interesting as all of Rubber Soul.

Most bands would kill to produce a song this bad.

[Intro]
Michelle, my belle
These are words that go together well
My Michelle

[Chorus]
Michelle, my belle
Sont les mots qui vont très bien ensemble
Très bien ensemble

[Verse 1]
I love you, I love you, I love you
That’s all I want to say
Until I find a way
I will say the only words I know that
You’ll understand

[Chorus]
Michelle, my belle
Sont des mots qui vont très bien ensemble
Très bien ensemble

[Verse 2]
I need to, I need to, I need to
I need to make you see
Oh, what you mean to me
Until I do I’m hoping you will
Know what I mean

I love you

I want you, I want you, I want you
I think you know by now
I’ll get to you somehow
Until I do I’m telling you so
You’ll understand

[Chorus]
Michelle, my belle
Sont des mots qui vont très bien ensemble
Très bien ensemble

[Outro]
I will say the only words I know that
You’ll understand, my Michelle

5 thoughts on “Song of the Day #2,245: ‘Michelle’ – The Beatles

  1. Amy says:

    I’m afraid I can’t agree; it’s a bit too vapid to get a pass, though I agree that it is certainly identifiable.

  2. Joe says:

    Most bands would kill to write an innovative bassline half as brilliant. Or two such chordally minimal guitar parts that intertwine so well. Guess which one member of the band composed and performed all three? So I’ll give him a pass on any supposedly lightweight lyrics – we should all be so “vapid.”

  3. Dana says:

    I’m one of the detractors. The song rubbed me the wrong way from when I was a young kid, long before I owned or listened to the rest of Rubber Soul. I disagree that it is as sonically interesting as the rest of the album, though the acoustic quality fits the mood.

    I’ve softened in my dislike for the song over the years. I no longer cringe at the lyrics or simple melody, but it still remains one of the weaker songs of the Beatles and certainly the weakest song on my otherwise favorite Beatles album.

    • seeingtheunseeable says:

      “It still remains one of the weaker songs of the Beatles and certainly the weakest song on my otherwise favorite Beatles album.”

      I think even Saint Lennon might disagree with you on that one. He expressed his dislike of the execrable “Run For Your Life” – which he admitted to lifting lyrically from Elvis 1955 recording of “Baby, Let’s Play House” – saying that he “always hated” it, describing it as his “least favourite Beatles song” and “Just a sort of throwaway song of mine that I never thought much of.”

      On the other hand, he was the one who wanted to record “Michelle,” a song McCartney had written while they were still in school, saying “You remember that thing you wrote about the French? That wasn’t a bad song, that. You should do that, y’know.”

      It’s fashionably revisionistic to bash McCartney while proclaiming Lennon a genius. It wears thin.

  4. Andrea Katz says:

    Wow, loving all the fresh input here and love the historical perspective.

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