Tell Me Why – 5 of Cups
A Hard Day’s Night, 1964
The Beatles’ third album was the soundtrack to their first movie, A Hard Day’s Night. The film was a celebration of all things Beatlemania and served as a showcase of the Beatles’ remarkable wit and charm. It was the only album comprised only of Lennon-McCartney compositions, and the overall feel of the record is upbeat, fun, and playful. It was a perfect representation of the spirit of the early Beatles.
Look beneath the surface, however, and you notice multiple songs by John that are notably pessimistic, particularly in matters of love. “I’ll Cry Instead”, “You Can’t Do That”, “When I Get Home” and “Tell Me Why” all deal with the darker side of romance. Was John just growing bored of the sugary-sweet sentiments of their earliest songs? Was he beginning to display a darker, more pessimistic side to his personality? Or was he starting to transition into writing in a more confessional, true-to-life style?
We can’t know for sure, but Paul would later remark that, “I think a lot of [Lennon’s] songs like “Tell Me Why” may have been based in real experiences or affairs John was having, or arguments with Cynthia [Lennon’s wife] or whatever.”
The lyrics are the song’s narrator pleading with his love to tell him why she cried and lied to him. Although he claims not to understand what’s led her to behave in this way, he appears to maybe have a guilty conscience. He admits that if it was something he did to cause the problem, that he would apologize to make it better.
Heartbreak is the primary theme of the 5 of Cups. This tarot card often shows a forlorn, cloaked figure, perfectly described in “Tell Me Why” when they sing, “all I do is hang my head and moan.” Drawing the 5 of Cups is an opportunity to face a disappointing situation in your life. What’s being lost? What can be done to change the situation? What are you ready to let go of? What can be healed? Be honest with yourself and the best way forward is likely to emerge from the truth and love within your own heart.
With A Hard Day’s Night, the Beatles’ intrepid leader was starting to sing more about the darker side of love. It wouldn’t dampen any of the fans’ spirits though. Beatlemania was in full swing and the Fab Four would smile, goof, and charm their way across the globe for a couple more years.
“If it’s something that I’ve said or done
Tell me what, and I’ll apologize
If you don’t I really can’t go on
Holding back these tears in my eyes”
This is song #24 of the Beatles Song Tarot Project. Click here to learn more about this magical, mystical trip through the Beatles catalogue.