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671994 Posts in 27054 Topics by 3973 Members - Latest Member: Tante September 25, 2021, 10:54:10 AM
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Author Topic: She Knows Me Too Well- An abusive relationship set to music  (Read 1286 times)
krabklaw
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« on: June 05, 2021, 10:18:31 AM »

The lyrics for this song are really unsettling when you think about it, and sounds like a typical pattern of sociopathic behavior by the boyfriend. He excuses his repeated terrible behavior by telling himself that his girlfriend knows deep down that he really loves her. Does he really, though? His actions sure don't show it. The song needs another verse where the girl breaks free of this creep before the abuse manifests itself in physical ways. And the boyfriend is left alone, hopefully to seek out some professional psychological counseling. As it stands, the song actually seems to condone the misogynistic behavior pattern of the boyfriend. I think this song sounds quite beautiful, but the lyrics and sentiment are unworthy of the Beach Boys. Discuss.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2021, 06:46:15 AM by krabklaw » Logged

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SMiLE Brian
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« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2021, 10:27:36 AM »

Funny you posted that, my local record store clerk was saying that a few years backÖ
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And production aside, Iíd so much rather hear a 14 year old David Marks shred some guitar on Chug-a-lug than hear a 51 year old Mike Love sing about bangin some chick in a swimming pool.-rab2591
bossaroo
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« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2021, 10:42:26 AM »

I think Brian contributed to the theme of the song as well. there are similarly questionable lyrics in Good To My Baby, Kiss Me Baby, etc. Brian seemed very interested in writing about all aspects of romantic relationships: good, bad, and ugly. likewise, when the Beatles sang "I used to be cruel to my woman, I beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved" they weren't singing fiction.

you mention another verse where the girl breaks free, how about another song? Let Him Run Wild could actually be describing the guy in She Knows Me
« Last Edit: June 05, 2021, 10:43:32 AM by bossaroo » Logged
krabklaw
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« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2021, 10:48:11 AM »

I think Brian contributed to the theme of the song as well. there are similarly questionable lyrics in Good To My Baby, Kiss Me Baby, etc. Brian seemed very interested in writing about all aspects of romantic relationships: good, bad, and ugly. likewise, when the Beatles sang "I used to be cruel to my woman, I beat her and kept her apart from the things that she loved" they weren't singing fiction.

you mention another verse where the girl breaks free, how about another song? Let Him Run Wild could actually be describing the guy in She Knows Me

 Interesting point. Let Him Run Wild could certainly be looked at as another side of that triangle.
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Please visit 'The American(a) Trip Slideshow' where you can watch the videos and listen to fan mixes of all the Smile songs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doOws3284PQ&list=PLptIp1kEl6BWNpXyJ_mb20W4ZqJ14-Hgg
Ian
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« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2021, 11:34:53 AM »

I canít recall but I am pretty sure that song is one of many where Brian wrote some of the lyrics as well as the music
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Cabinessenceking
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« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2021, 12:19:04 PM »

The lyrics for this Mike Love gem are really unsettling when you think about it, and sounds like a typical pattern of sociopathic behavior by the boyfriend. He excuses his repeated terrible behavior by telling himself that his girlfriend knows deep down that he really loves her. Does he really, though? His actions sure don't show it. The song needs another verse where the girl breaks free of this creep before the abuse manifests itself in physical ways. And the boyfriend is left alone, hopefully to seek out some professional psychological counseling. As it stands, the song actually seems to condone the misogynistic behavior pattern of the boyfriend. I think this song sounds quite beautiful, but the lyrics and sentiment are unworthy of the Beach Boys. Discuss.

Toxic masculinity was 100 % in line with societal expectations back then. There's a lot of lyrics like that from the 60s but now these lyrics just seem awkward and creepy. But maybe Mike was the original incel?  LOL
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bossaroo
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« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2021, 12:57:41 PM »

I do think there was a confessional element to some of these relationship-themed songs. Brian was acknowledging bad behavior and coming clean with some of the lyrics. Mike likely contributed, but I would say the sensitive themes were all Brian and Mike probably didn't find them commercial or "positive" enough for his tastes
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Sam_BFC
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« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2021, 05:17:52 PM »

I am not sure the song is excusing the bad behaviour described in the verses.

Even if there is some suggestion in the chorus that his love for her makes him worthy of at least some redemption, I don't hear many excuses in the following:

Sometimes I have a weird way of showing my love...
I treat her so mean I don't deserve what I have...
When I look at other girls it must kill her inside
But it'd be another story if she looked at the guys

Now I know it is, at least ostensibly, about a car, but what could you read into this?
"Betsy was a lady and that she will remain
Betsy took some beatings but she never once complained" Is the suggestion that "real" ladies don't complain about beatings? (probably not)

I would say You Still Believe In Me has a vaguely similar theme to She Knows Me Too Well also.
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« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2021, 07:09:36 PM »

The attitude displayed in She Knows Me and Good To My Baby definitely lines up with Brian and Mike's approach to relationships at the time (Dennis too). For its time I think She Knows Me does a decent job dissecting those issues - there's some level of accountability there, even if it's a bit too gaslight-y for comfort with our present day sensibilities.
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Join The Human Race
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« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2021, 08:19:51 PM »

I see the point, but I don't think it's necessarily an abusive relationship. I think it's written from a similar perspective of the Brian tracks on the B-side of Today. Insecurity. The insecurity of thinking you're not being good enough to your partner. You don't deserve them and think they'll leave. I'm not sure if this was written before or after the infamous telegram Brian sent Marilyn mid-flight at of his fear of Marilyn leaving him while on tour. Brian, though, was attracted to other women. Maybe someone can help please this anecdote, but I believe in 1964, Brian struck up a conversation in a bar with a woman and I believe she wrote him a letter and Marilyn found it and was not happy. I don't think Brian did anything beyond flirting, but She Knows Me Too Well really plays out these insecurities and contradictions Brian was facing. Brian was still attracted to other women, but I think he also recognized the value of staying loyal. Brian was not a womanizer like Mike or Dennis. He had these feelings that he put out into the music; Mike would flesh out the ideas, but Mike was coming from a different background than Brian. So maybe that's why the lyrics to some of this songs seem a bit weird because it's incorporating both Brian and Mike's thoughts. The theme is simple; I really love her, so I won't cheat and she knows that. And I know she won't cheat either, but I'm still jealous due to insecurity.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2021, 08:34:13 PM by Join The Human Race » Logged
Greg Parry
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« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2021, 02:50:56 AM »

I would much rather a very honest song which attempts to shine a light on the complex and negative aspects to a relationship than yet another sugar-coated love song.

Change has always happened through frank discussion rather than sticking one's finger's in one's ears and pretending these things don't exist. Perhaps over the years, the honesty of these lyrics has helped someone address and change their own behaviours, I certainly know back when I was 17 and dealing with big jealousy issues in my first relationship, this song struck a real chord with me.

Compared to Lennon's 'You Can't Do That', this is at least a protagonist who is admitting their behaviour is at fault.

And talking of chords, listen to how the insecurity and self doubt is perfectly mirrored in the tonally unsure and fragile harmonic progression. The listener is invited in to the protagonists mind state and finds it both unsettled and unsettling. A masterclass in song-writing.

« Last Edit: June 06, 2021, 03:06:02 AM by Greg Parry » Logged
thetojo
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« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2021, 04:34:09 PM »

Seriously -

- - just hop off the woke bandwagon and have an objective look.
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Tom
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« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2021, 05:38:49 PM »

Plenty of other Beatles song have similar lyrical content too - e.g. the string of songs Paul wrote about his relationship strife with Jane Asher in 1965. You Won't See Me, We Can Work It Out, I'm Looking Through You - all are quite accusatory and self pitying despite the fact that most of their issues in reality stemmed from Paul's infidelity. Issues of toxic masculinity have only become a mainstream concern fairly recently, so it's not entirely fair to judge earlier work too harshly through that lens. Within reason of course - songs overtly glorifying abuse are definitely offputting, as are those which sexualise underaged women.
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RiC
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« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2021, 10:55:53 PM »

She Knows Me Too Well has great lyrics. It's telling an interesting and complicated story, much like other Today and Pet Sounds tracks.

There is though a few other lyrics in the Beach Boys world that irritates me in the similar manner that someone might think about SKMTW, first one being The Little Girl I Once Knew:

"We met when she was younger
And I had no eyes for her
A few years went by and I saw her
Now I'm gonna try for her"

That just sounds creepy to me. And it's a shame, because the music is great, but the idea behind the lyrics is just so stupid. Another one is of course Hey Little Tomboy and then there's also Lazy Lizzie, which is super interesting musically, but tells a straight up pedostory:


"It's so hard to walk home
When you're walking alone
I slow down in my car and I pull to the curb"
« Last Edit: June 06, 2021, 10:56:38 PM by RiC » Logged
Lonely Summer
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« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2021, 01:28:52 PM »

She Knows Me Too Well has great lyrics. It's telling an interesting and complicated story, much like other Today and Pet Sounds tracks.

There is though a few other lyrics in the Beach Boys world that irritates me in the similar manner that someone might think about SKMTW, first one being The Little Girl I Once Knew:

"We met when she was younger
And I had no eyes for her
A few years went by and I saw her
Now I'm gonna try for her"

That just sounds creepy to me. And it's a shame, because the music is great, but the idea behind the lyrics is just so stupid.
Nothing creepy about it. Imagine the guy is 3 or 4 years older than the girl. He sees her when she's 11 or 12, and has no interest in her. "She's just a little girl!" A few years go by, now she's 14 or 15 - wearing makeup, more developed. This kind of thing happens all the time.
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B.E.
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« Reply #15 on: June 07, 2021, 05:16:07 PM »

She Knows Me Too Well has great lyrics. It's telling an interesting and complicated story, much like other Today and Pet Sounds tracks.

There is though a few other lyrics in the Beach Boys world that irritates me in the similar manner that someone might think about SKMTW, first one being The Little Girl I Once Knew:

"We met when she was younger
And I had no eyes for her
A few years went by and I saw her
Now I'm gonna try for her"

That just sounds creepy to me. And it's a shame, because the music is great, but the idea behind the lyrics is just so stupid.
Nothing creepy about it. Imagine the guy is 3 or 4 years older than the girl. He sees her when she's 11 or 12, and has no interest in her. "She's just a little girl!" A few years go by, now she's 14 or 15 - wearing makeup, more developed. This kind of thing happens all the time.
They could even be the same age. I don't think it's creepy.
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