"Think I'm In Love" is a song on Beck's album, The Information. Beck said he "couldn't figure out how to rap over" this track, so he "just wrote a little song" instead. Perhaps you can hear a bit of what he was thinking rap-wise in the "doo doo doo" vocal part, but he made a good choice--the melody he wrote is fantastic.
I've read a few reviews of The Information expressing surprise how straight-forward Beck is on this song. But is he really? Is this a pure love song? Or is there something sadder going on underneath? I think either interpretation can work: it can be both about those early feelings of love, or perhaps an unrequited, almost obsessive, love.
I'll start with looking at it as a real love song. The situations in this song can be considered quite romantic, as he struggles to describe his feelings for her, saves up to buy her something she wants, and he keeps her picture close. He's nervous about what could happen with her, and slightly worried too ("what if it's wrong?").
However, as said, it may not be quite that pure a love. The first verse has him nervous: he's hearing her, but it could be veiled ("smoke ring smile"). Does she even know him? Seems not, or at least, she has no idea how he feels. ("She doesn't know what happens when she's around.") The second verse seems to have him laying on the floor, pining away for her, planning what he would do if she were his ("buy her something she wants"). The bridge has him playing with the idea that his feelings are in vain, and perhaps he's tainted. He turns almost obsessive in the last verse.
Either way, though, this is a sharper song than it may appear. I do not see how it was not a huge hit tune, as it is immediately inviting in the music. It's a groovy tune, steady but still warm. To that end, Beck once said it fell "somewhere between Brigitte Bardot and krautrock."
Played live 237 times:
Earliest known live version: October 27, 2005
Latest known live version: September 25, 2018
"Think I'm In Love" has been played at pretty much every show Beck has done since it was released in 2007. In 2018, though, it finally started to drop out of sets, though it was still played on occasion.
2005-2006 Guero tour
Beck previewed "Think I'm In Love" a handful of times before The Information
was released. The first was in San Diego in October 2005, a full year before the album came out. Then he did it a few more times in summer 2006, when the album was done, but not yet out.
2006-2007 Information tour
At the start of the Info
tours, Beck did some acoustic gigs, and some songs that don't get changed too often were performed acoustically. "Think I'm In Love" was one of these. The version on Canadian TV from Toronto on October 17 2006 is a standout of these. Beck langourously plays the riff on an acoustic guitar, and the band fills it out with lots of junkyard percussion (bongos, triangles, etc.). After that, there were a few tours behind the official release of The Information
and they played "Think" for the remainder of the tour. On record, the song ends with a repeat of the first verse before a coda of Beck singing the title over and over. Live, Beck drops that repeated verse and moves straight into the coda.
2008-2009 Modern Guilt tour
Beck played "Think I'm In Love" at pretty much every show in 2008. Early on, they would extend the intro, with Beck noisily shredding a little bit. It also sort of feels like they play the song a little fast, giving it a more tense vibe. They continue to drop that final repeated verse.
In the middle of the 2008 tour, Beck did a big show at the Hollywood Bowl with an orchestra (conducted by his father). "Think I'm In Love" has a subtle string section, so it is one song they did with the strings. The orchestra sounds grand on the song, and they generally just re-create the live version (even putting that repeated verse back near the end).
2012-2013 pre-Morning Phase tour
Beck did some brief touring in these years, and again played "Think" regularly. It was around this time though that Beck and the band started to extend the coda of the song to include different covers. In 2012, they would extended it into Prince's "Raspberry Beret" a few times. Sometimes they wouldn't extend the song at all.
In the summer of 2013, though, they found a perfect complement for a song called "Think I'm In Love": Donna Summer's "I Feel Love." They didn't add it every night in 2013, but slowly it became more and more a regular occurrence. The beats are similar, and certainly the sentiments, so it quickly felt natural.
2014 Morning Phase tour - "I Feel Love" version
Beck continued to play "Think" in 2014 (at 51 out of 57 shows), and I think they included "I Feel Love" at most of them too. ("I Feel Love" doesn't always get reported in setlists, I don't believe they list it on the official one, but most of the time, they do do it. There might be a couple times when they cut it for time.)
2015-2017 post-Morning Phase tour
Still a centerpiece of Beck's sets, the band continues to regularly add "I Feel Love" to "Think" after the Morning Phase tours ended. The songs seem to be permanently cemented together now, and rightly so. Beck has talked about how when he started writing Colors
, he was going after something timeless, uplifting, and connects with audiences in that magical way on stage. I am certain that performing "I Feel Love" on stage inspired that. I would be surprised if this combo does not last through the upcoming Colors
tours as well.
2017-2018 Colors tour
I was half right: Beck did perform "Think I'm In Love / I Feel Love" throughout the Colors tour, but during the second half of 2018, it dropped in frequency. Beck performed it at 18 of his first 21 shows, but then just 13 of the final 38. The song, otherwise, did not really change, except for the occasional longer intro while Beck chatted to the audience. What the drop in frequency means for the future of "Think/Feel" remains to be seen!