I Don't Know

Album: Egypt Station (2018)

Songfacts®:

  • This plaintive ballad was written by Paul McCartney when he was going through a rough time. He starts off by proclaiming "I've got crows at my window, dogs at my door" before attempting in vain to highlight what is causing his downcast mood. Eventually, he concludes the answer is, "I don't know."
  • Well, I see trouble at every turn
    I've got so many lessons to learn
    What am I doing wrong? I don't know
    Now what's the matter with me?


    McCartney described this as an "angst-ridden" song that may sound sad or desperate, but could bring solace. "Just by saying the opening lines, 'I've got crows out my window, dogs at my door, I don't think I can take any more,' that makes you feel better," he told GQ. "You're crafting it into a vehicle that puts all those thoughts in there - all your troubles and woes - so you kind of work your things out. One of the great things about writing songs, it's almost like a therapy. You can go in angry or sad and you put all of that in the song and it makes the song better because it's real feelings in it, and when you finish the song, you feel a lot better."
  • Paul McCartney said in a video that a good way to write a song is when it's "coming from your soul."

    He added: "We often said that writing a song is like talking to a psychiatrist or therapist but you're saying it in a song rather than in a room to a specialist. So it was me just thinking this problem out."
  • The song is a piano ballad in the blues tradition. McCartney explained to Mojo: "Sometimes in your life, you're not a god on Olympus. You're a real person walking round the streets. I'm a grandfather, a father, a husband, and in that package there's no guarantee that every minutes gonna go right. (laughs) In fact, quite the opposite.

    And there was a private occasion - I'm not gonna get into it - that brought me down. 'Gosh, what am I doing wrong?' I'm not knocking it, I have a great life. But from time to time, reality intrudes. This was one of those occasions where it's like, 'Oh, f---me... ' The only thing I could do was sit down at the piano. 'Got crows at the window! Dogs at m door'! It's all spilled out in that song."

Comments: 1

  • Jorge Orihuela from Lima, Peru Hi, Paul. Your 'I don't know' song is great. I just listened to it. I had the feeling all my life was inside the song. I don't have my past anymore, but I have your songs. Thank you very much. Blessings.
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