"The lyrics are abysmal. I always hated that song", said John Lennon of "It's Only Love". Indeed, the opening "I get high when I see you go by" may well be the best line in it, if only for its possible (probable?) double-meaning...
Nevertheless, the combination of empty lostness and earthy emotion with which he delivers the ambivalent feelings of a love-hate relationship is more than enough to excuse the banality of the "butterflies". Although featured on the second side of Help!
in Britain, in America it was part of Rubber Soul
. Still, wherever you hear it, it remains a unique Lennon vocal performance. Each time he hits the refrain — "it's so hard loving you" — you can't help but feel that the whole thing was a vomiting of his frustrations over his dead-end marriage to Cynthia.
Is it right that you and I should fight every night?!!
Harrison's weirdly wobbling guitar sound, achieved by recording it through a revolving Hammond Organ speaker — another one-off experiment — carries the trembling uncertainty with eery effectiveness, the perfect accompaniment to Lennon's earnest strumming, as Paul and Ringo shuffle it all along subtly.
All of which, in spite of its creator's self-denigration, leads me to rate it with a 'five':
Haven't I the right?