The song was written by McCartney in two hours after he had accompanied his first wife Linda to a photo session, finding himself with some spare time during the shoot.
The title came from just the first line, ‘Somedays I look’, which is followed by the repetition of ‘I look’. ‘Somedays I look/I look at you with eyes that shine/Somedays I don’t/I don’t believe that you are mine’. It’s that little trick of repeating the phrase, of reinforcing it, that makes the lyric work. It drives it like a little dynamo. My grammar school education taught me that it’s a rhetorical device apparently known as anadiplosis, but essentially, it’s repetition. You think you’re going one way, and then there’s a little surprise and it takes you another. I like playing with phrases dancing round words, shuffling them like a deck of cards.
‘Somedays’ was recorded from 1-3 November 1995 at McCartney’s Hog Hill Mill studio in East Sussex. McCartney recorded the basic track, with vocals and acoustic guitar, in a single take.
The orchestral overdubs were added on 10 June at AIRP Lyndhurst Studio in London, arranged by George Martin.
George Martin called this song ‘deceivingly simple’. He would have known, because he was one of the best at making the complex seem simple. That’s why he was always my arranger of choice.
A six-track promotional sampler tape of Flaming Pie songs circulated ahead of the album’s release. It contained a different mix of ‘Somedays’ containing an additional verse.
‘Somedays’ is a good little song. For me, it’s very meaningful. Looking into a soul; it’s what you try to do in a relationship, yet don’t often succeed at. The lyric contains some contradictory ideas, but its purpose is to support the song rather than be a lyric on its own, so it’s quite liberating. I know this might sound odd, but the lyric and the song are two slightly different things.
An orchestral instrumental version of ‘Somedays’, performed by the Loma Mar Quartet, was included on McCartney’s 1999 album Working Classical.
Once I’m actually writing the song, I’m off on that trail. I really don’t know what the goal is, or even where I’m heading, but I do like to get there and find things out on the way. You can experiment as you go along, so there’s a crack between the headlong and the halting where, if you’re lucky, a few things might slip out: ‘I look at you with eyes that shine/Somedays I don’t’. That’s like a thought that could come out in a session with a psychiatrist. I follow it up with ‘I don’t believe that you are mine’, but there’s now a wonderful ambiguity there.