Go It Alone
By: Beck Hansen, Jack White, John King, Mike Simpson

Written by: Beck Hansen, Jack White, John King, Mike Simpson

Versions:
  1. Go It Alone (4:08)
    Available on Guero.
    Credits
    Recorded at: The Boat
    Jack White: Bass
    The Dust Brothers: Beats, Hand Claps, Mix, Producer
    Danny Kalb: Engineer
    Beck Hansen: Guitar, Hand Claps, Keyboard / Synthesizer, Mix, Producer, Vocals
  2. Wish Coin (Diplo remix) (3:45)
    Available on Guerolito.
    Credits
    Thomas Wesley Pentz: Producer
    Diplo: Remix
    Beck Hansen: Vocals
  3. Wish Coin (Superthriller Daddy Daddy Remix) (3:26)
    Available on Remix EP #2.
    Credits
    Andrew Rutland: Producer
    Ben Ringham: Producer
    Max Ringham: Producer
    Superthriller: Remix
    Beck Hansen: Vocals
  4. Go It Alone (Leaked Version) (4:18)
    Available on Guero.
  5. Go It Alone (Surround Mix) (4:08)
    Available on Guero.
Unofficial Versions: [show/hide]
  1. Mercedes Beck (3:20)
    Credits
    LenLow: Remix (Mashup)
  2. Wish Coin (Diplo - Go It Alone) / Go It Alone (3:12)
    Available on Three Steps Beckwards.
    Credits
    Beck Hansen: Mashed
    Ian Wardle: Remix (Mashup)
  3. Go It Alone (Dj Echo Remix) (5:25)
    Credits
    Dj Echo: Remix
 
 
Lyrics:
Go It Alone [Version (a)]:

I'm coming over
See me down at the station
By the lane
With my hands in my pocket
Jingling a wish coin
That I stole from a fountain
That was drownin'
All the cares in the world
When I get older
Climbing up on the back porch fence
Just to see the dogs runnin'
With a ring and a question
And my shivering voice is singing
Through a crack in the window
Na na na na na
I better go it alone
Na na na na na
I better go it alone
Na na na na na

Down on the corner
See me standing
On a makeshift road
With a dust storm comin'
In a long black shadow
Pull a hammer from a coal mine
Down where your daddy was workin'
Comb my hair back
Struck a match on the bathroom wall
Where my number is written
Driving on the sidewalk
Lookin' backwards
The sky is burning
In my rearview mirror
Na na na na na
I better go it alone
Na na na na na
I better go it alone
Na na na na na

Na na na na na na
Na na na na na na

I'm coming over
See you down at the station
By the lane
With my hands in my pocket
Jingling a wish coin
That I stole from a fountain
That was drownin'
All the cares in the world
When I get older
Climbing up on the back fence
Pointing to the dogs standin' firm
With a ring and a question
I'm a ??
In a voice that was singing
Underneath the window
Na na na na na
I better go it alone
Na na na na na
I better go it alone
Na na na na na
Wish Coin (Diplo remix) [Version (b)]:

I'm coming over
See me down at the station
By the lane
With my hands in my pocket
Jingling a wish coin
That I stole from a fountain
That was drownin'
All the cares in the world
When I get older
Climbing up on the back porch fence
Just to see the dogs runnin'
With a ring and a question
And my shivering voice is singing
Through a crack in the window
Na na na na na na
I better go it alone
Na na na na na na
I better go it alone
Na na na na na na

Down on the corner
See me standing
On a makeshift road
With a dust storm comin'
In a long black shadow
Pull a hammer from a coal mine
Down where your daddy was workin'
Comb my hair back
Strike a match on the bathroom wall
Where my number is written
Driving on the sidewalk
Lookin' backwards
And the sky is burning
In my rearview mirror
Na na na na na
I better go it alone
Na na na na na na
I better go it alone
Na na na na na na

Na na na na na na
Na na na na na na

I'm coming over
See you down at the station
By the lane
With my hands in my pocket
Jingling a wish coin
That I stole from a fountain
That was drownin'
All the cares in the world
When I get older
Climbing up on the back fence
Pointing to the dogs standin' firm
With a ring and a question
I'm ??
In a voice that was singing
Underneath the window
Na na na na na na
I better go it alone
Na na na na na na
I better go it alone
Na na na na na na
I better go it alone
Na na na na na na
I better go it alone
Na na na na na na
I better go it alone
Na na na na na na
I better go it alone
Na na na na na na
Na na na na na na
Na na na na na na
Na na na na na na
 
Wish Coin (Superthriller Daddy Daddy Remix) [Version (c)]:

Daddy daddy
Daddy daddy

I'm coming over
See me down at the station
By the lane
With my hands in my pocket
Jingling a wish coin
That I stole from a fountain
That was drownin'
All the cares in the world
When I get older
Climbing up on the back porch fence
Just to see the dogs runnin'
With a ring and a question
And my shivering voice is singing
Through a crack in the window
Na na na na na na
I better go it alone
Na na na na na na
I better go it alone
Na na na na na na
I better go it alone
Na na na na na na
I better go it alone

Down on the corner
See me standing
On a makeshift road
With a dust storm blowin'
In a long black shadow
Pull a hammer from a coal mine
Down where your daddy was workin'
Comb my hair back
Strike a match on the bathroom wall
Where my number is written
Driving on the sidewalk
Lookin' back at the sky is burning
In my rearview mirror
Na na na na na
I better go it alone
Na na na na na na
I better go it alone
Na na na na na na
I better go it alone
Na na na na na na
I better go it alone

I'm coming over
A match on the
Lookin' back
Daddy ?
Just to see the dogs
Daddy daddy
I'm comin' over
A match on the
Lookin' back
Daddy ?
Just to see the dogs
Na na na na na na
Na na na na na na
Daddy daddy daddy
Na na na na na na
Na na na na na na
Daddy daddy daddy
 
The Song:

"Go It Alone" is one of my favorite tracks on Guero, as it is one of the grooviest songs Beck has recorded. Jack White from the White Stripes plays an infectious lead bassline (and co-writes the song), as Beck harmonizes a lot with himself and lazily raps over it all. And there's still a bit of a bluesy touch to the groove, which I think really makes it stand out even more. The simplicity in this recording reminds me of other songs on Guero (like "Black Tambourine"), but while some of those play with building off rhythm, "Go It Alone" builds off a groove. There is a bluesiness to the groove too, which makes it feel unique.

Beck was asked about the collaboration, and said Jack White walked in, picked up a bass, started playing, and they literally took five minutes to put the song together. (It doesn't have a complicated construction.) He also has said that Jack was in town for a few nights, and they messed around together, creating songs, and this was the idea that "bore fruit." Hard to believe the other songs weren't interesting on their own right!

Anyway, "Go It Alone" begins with a very effective image of a character: "I'm coming over / See me down at the station / By the lane / With my hands in my pocket / Jingling a wish coin / That I stole from a fountain / That was drownin' / All the cares in the world." Beck occasionally does this sort of constant extending of sentences, which I always enjoy and find striking. Standing at a station, presumably watching someone leave, hands in pocket, wishing things were different. He's been left to go it alone. He doesn't want to.

Beck has in the past talked about how sometimes he thinks of songwriting as like making little movies. This is one song where that is very obvious, as he moves through a bunch of scenes. Next he's jumping a fence, with a "ring and a question." A jilted proposal? Then he moves into the blues of working the coalmine and dusty roads. Finally, he escapes. Driving away (on the sidewalk, no less), with a burning sky behind him. A metaphor for moving on from your troubles? Or something more sinister? He did strike a match, right before making the getaway...
 
Live:

Played live 75 times:
Earliest known live version: February 15, 2005
Latest known live version: November 7, 2017

2005-2007 Guero/Info tours

Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, Beck and his Guero/Info band never played "Go It Alone" very regularly. We have it for just 14 setlists over the two years of touring.

One bootlegged version, from Detroit in September 2005, begins with Beck commenting that he wrote it with Jack White (who is from there). The arrangement and performance sounds very straight to the record--a groovy bass performance by Justin Meldal-Johnsen, cool background vocals from Brian LeBarton, Beck seems into the lyrics and doesn't forget much. They play it a few other times in September too. (September 25 in Cleveland has the best sound quality recording; Beck messes up a lot of the lyrics though.)

Then in 2006 they resumed touring after finishing off Info, but before it was released. They played the song three times only in June. Then there were two more later that fall. The version on October 30 had a lengthy bass intro before Beck started singing. It sounds a bit more rock than groovy though. (Beck adlibs some lines though, including "ride a bus down to DC from New York City!" which they had done that night.)

2011 pre-Morning Phase

The song was not played at all during the Modern Guilt tours, and then Beck took a few years off the road. In 2011, Beck made just five live appearances, and one was a benefit gig in San Francisco. He put together his band for it, but also used a local jazz band for horn flavor. Together, they did bring back "Go It Alone." I don't know of a recording of this show, but I'm curious if they added horns to "Go It Alone": might have been a fun new touch to the song!

2015-2017 post-Morning Phase

The song then was not played at all during the tours of 2012/2013, nor the Morning Phase tours of 2014. Since 2014 however, the song crawled back into view and now is a regular! Beck played the song just 5 times in 2015, but the test must have been successful, and he played it almost every show in 2016 and 2017 (except a couple of shortened festival sets).

The 2015 version is chunkier, less smooth groove. They also do not play the third verse, moving straight from the middle bridge to a chorus/short coda. No matter how many times I hear it, I always expect a verse there and it feels odd not getting it.

Moving into 2016 and 2017, the song started to click more and more, and the ending doesn't just dwindle out, Jason Falkner would shred a little, making the coda much more satisfying. The band also adds more audience participation to it, getting everyone to clap or "na na na". In 2017, Beck expanded his band and the back-up singers help fill out all the vocal nuances. The new rhythm section (Dwayne and Chris) also have a real command of the song. For example, this may be my favorite version of the song yet:









 
Notes: