Wait - Reviews

Reviewed by Ian MacDonald, in Revolution in the Head:

The Beatles concluded their recording for Help! in an evening session with this, the first full fifty-fifty Lennon-McCartney collaboration since BABY'S IN BLACK.In the end, WAIT was left off the LP - oddly since, while no master-piece, it was a stronger track than several that were included. Disinterred five months later during the final session for Rubber Soul, it was pepped up with some additional percussion and added to that album's second side.

WAIT shows Lennon and McCartney in transition, consciously casting about for the new direction they knew they'd need in the second half of 1965. Part filler, part experiment, it has a hypothetical quality that renders it difficult to feel strongly about. While more considered than usual, the lyric remains contrived - a sequence of heroic-romantic clichès neither of its writers seem to have believed in. The mordant tone of Lennon's verse, dictated by its descending minor sequence [1], is interestingly, if unconvincingly, dispelled by the chorus's optimistic shift to the relative major. If the key change here was Lennon's, the harmony's ostentatious rise over an octave is more likely McCartney, who probably also contributed the rather insipid middle eight.

As a performance, WAIT goes some way to recouping its losses as a composition. The production may be sparse (Harrison and Lennon alike using the volume-pedal introduced on I NEED YOU and YES IT IS), but the track has undeniable drive and character. Much of this comes from Starr, who clearly enjoys the change of rhythm and mood from verse to chorus, and offers one of those unique 'Ringo fills' which pop drummers recall with such fondness: a curt smack at the closed hi-hat followed by a bubbling triplet roll on a slack-tuned high tom-tom.


  1. Created by holding the two lower notes in the F sharp minor triad whilst moving the top finger down in Lennon's favourite chromatic steps.

Posted: 15 jun 2013

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