If some dude analyzed the pronoun usage of any other artist, besides the Beatles, we’d roll our hungover eyes. But the Beatles get a pass.
Cuz some dude did precisely that.
James W. Pennebaker is his name and it’s actually a nifty little experiment, I guess. The bottom line: the 15 songs that John and Paul definitely wrote together are far more uplifting and positive than their respective and subsequent quasi-”solo” songs, which over time, became more dark and world-weary.
And while this shift…um….shifted, there was a simultaneous drop in first-person singular pronounces (which is counter-intuitive, kinda.) For those keeping track at home, the drop in use of first-person singular pronouns dropped from 14 percent in the group’s early years to 7 percent in the final years.
Lose you yet?
Here’s a quote:
Mr. McCartney was clearly attuned to how pronouns could provide different perspectives in songwriting (even if he goofed when he told the biographer Barry Miles that “She Loves You” was a “personal preposition song”). But Lennon was no slouch in the pronoun department. He could take a third-person song like “Nowhere Man” and use pronouns to forge a sense of identification: “Isn’t he a bit like you and me?
Ultimately, this article is a testament to the positive side of the growth of cubicle-based employment. Reading stuff like this makes the day go faster. Provides a nice little distraction. I feel like we all worked in the fields this article would never have been written.