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Get back, Jo Jo

Okay, motherfuckers, it's ON.

Your best and worst Beatles songs/albums, in comments. Show your work.

Any comments having to do with how the Beatles suck, or are overrated, or overexposed, will be met with withering scorn and mockery. GO.


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Sep. 14th, 2009 05:10 pm (UTC)
Good idea!

A Day in the Life, because of its scope and detail. There are others I like more, but this one can be most easily proven.

Octopus's Garden. Ringo's voice is annoying, the song is simplistic, and he should not write songs, period. Everything else on Abbey Road, IMO, is pure gold, and this sullies it.
Sep. 14th, 2009 05:27 pm (UTC)
1. "Easily proven"? Prove.

2. Harrison bears some of the blame for "Octopus's Garden". Also, it's not the only bad song on Abbey Road: there's also "Maxwell's Silver Hammer'.
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Sep. 14th, 2009 05:31 pm (UTC)
Interestingly, the only ones I have on my iPod are "Because", "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and "come Together", and they're all covers, rather than the originals. To me, that speaks to how most Beatles songs literally speak to people, always holding something for the most disparate bands and artists to access. Or somethin' similar.

In terms of "bad" Beatles songs, meanwhile..."Honey Pie" is pretty terrible. It's one of the only songs they probably wrote while stoned which sounds like a bunch of stoned people wrote it. And "Run For Your Life" has skanky gender issues up the wazoo, but it's so catchy! (Also, it was covered by an all-lesbian band called the Nancy Sinatras, with the pronouns switched out, and that version is pure gold.)
Sep. 14th, 2009 05:38 pm (UTC)
"Honey Pie" sucks, but (especially given my love of rap) I'm perfectly willing to ignore the misogyny of "Run for Your Life" because of that crazy guitar hook and chorus.
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Sep. 14th, 2009 05:36 pm (UTC)
Best is a bit of a toss up for me. It comes down to Eleanor Rigby and Blackbird. I think Eleanor might slightly edge out the win, though it depends a bit on my state of mind.

Worst is easy. Revolution 9 is number one with a bullet for Music I Would Like To Erase From The World. I'd rather listen to Billy Joel.

Edited at 2009-09-14 05:38 pm (UTC)
Sep. 14th, 2009 05:39 pm (UTC)
So, you're a McCartney man, it would seem.

Also, you're totally, totally, totally wrong: "Revolution 9" is a great song.
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Sep. 14th, 2009 05:38 pm (UTC)
I completely disagree. Honey Pie is one of my favorite songs. It's cute and fun and extremely singable. Also Let It Be. Because the Sesame Street version hooked me when I was little. My favorite album is Please Please Me.

I can't stand Taxman or Paperback Writer. They depress me.
Sep. 14th, 2009 05:41 pm (UTC)
Wow, your favorite album is Please Please Me? I don't mean this in a cruel way, but are you 60?

"Taxman" I can see, it's just another George-Harrison-being-cranky song. But what's wrong with "Paperback Writer"? That's a killer.
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Sep. 14th, 2009 05:41 pm (UTC)
Well, I suppose for best album mine would be the expected answer, "The Beatles"/"White Album." I think it's the most cohesive and consistently excellent of the Beatles' studio albums and, well, it's got "Dear Prudence", "Back in the USSR", "Happiness is a Warm Gun", "Piggies", and "Julia." But a really close second for me is "Rubber Soul", because I think it's exactly when the Beatles, at least lyrically speaking, hit their peak, especially with "Nowhere Man" and "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)."

As for worst...I've never been fond of the Beatles in their earliest phase, when it seemed like half of their output involved just the same Motown covers most other bands at the time were doing too. But I'll nominate "With The Beatles", mostly because I didn't like even the original Chuck Berry version of "Roll Over Beethoven" (and I'm not fond of "Money" either, except maybe the Who cover, if I'm in a good mood).

Edited at 2009-09-14 05:42 pm (UTC)
Sep. 14th, 2009 05:43 pm (UTC)
"Piggies", bleah. Another George-Harrison-being-cranky song. I love The Beatles myself, and "Dear Prudence" and "Happiness is a Warm Gun" are two of my all-time favorites, but I would never use the word "cohesive" to describe the album -- far from it, it's rather a sprawling mess.
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Sep. 14th, 2009 05:45 pm (UTC)
Worst: "Wild Honey Pie," off of side 1 disc 1 of The White Album. I don't know that this needs much explication. The only way to get away with a song like that is (A) to be The Beatles and (B) to include it on The White Album.

(Underappreciated) Best: "I Want To Tell You." You could get a top 10 hit on the radio today with that opening riff.

I don't really feel like nitpicking between "Let It Be," "Helter Skelter," "Revolution 9" or "A Day in the Life" to argue which is legitimately the best, so ... there.
Sep. 14th, 2009 05:52 pm (UTC)
I'll admit to liking "Wild Honey Pie", but in that ' I can't believe they had the balls to put this on their album' sense. I'm indifferent to "I Want to Tell You" -- I'll have to give it a few more spins.

"Helter Skelter" is a great song. I'll never understand why Lennon hated it so much, unless it was because he was jealous/pissed that pretty poppy McCartney completely out-heavied him.
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Sep. 14th, 2009 05:45 pm (UTC)
Best song: "Hey Bulldog". Killer lick, driving bass, chugging rhythm piano, a guitar solo that had got to be one of the best air-guitar selections possible, and one of the last true collabs from the group.

Also, it's best because it was my favorite song when I was FIVE, making me beg my brother to play "the dog song" on his stereo over and over and over. I knew even then you can't beat the Bulldog.

As for album, I am going with Revolver. It's hard to tease a "best" out of the Revolver/Sgt. Pepper/White Album/Abbey Road block, but Revolver helped birth the psychedelic movement and brings the folk experimentation they'd done on Rubber Soul into the rock genre. I think the album served as a wake-up call for other artists (see: Pet Sounds) and showcases what each of the members bought to the group, as well as what the group was able to do with those component parts.
Sep. 14th, 2009 05:54 pm (UTC)
Oh, man, "Hey Bulldog" is a MONSTER. A fucking MONSTER. That song is great on every level.

Controversial non-Beatles-related opinion o' the day: Pet Sounds is overrated.
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Sep. 14th, 2009 05:48 pm (UTC)
Best: Hey Jude
Proof (such as it is): 1) It's timeless and placeless. When the title character of The Gunslinger hears it coming faintly over a hill from the next town, even though his world is not ours, I thought, yeah, that's about right. 2) It's got Paul, a white Brit, doing his awesome soulful rock-out vocal spazz-out. 3) It is easily understood and relatable. 4) Who doesn't like a sing-a-long at the end of a song occasionally?

Worst: Birthday
Proof: It's got all the rhythm of a rock song, but it's insipid in topic and seems to mostly consist of one note.

Also worst: Come Together
Proof: Borderline nonsensical lyrics make it meaningless and, while it went for smooth and funky, it mostly just sounds lazy.
Sep. 14th, 2009 05:55 pm (UTC)
Things you are right about: "Hey Jude" being great; "Birthday" being crummy.

Thing you are super wrong about: "Come Together" being bad. It's not lazy, it's stoned. There's a very important difference.
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Sep. 14th, 2009 05:59 pm (UTC)
worst album is the white album.

worst songs:

long and winding road

Revolution Number 9 (give me a break)--although I'd say 50% of the songs on White Album are disposable

It's Only Love

ballad of John and Yoko--not a bad song per se but who besides John/Yoko gives a shit about it? Peter Brown?

Sep. 14th, 2009 06:29 pm (UTC)
CLAIRE YOU ARE INSANE. INSAAAAAAAANE. How can someone who is such a good Beatles fan be so wrong about The Beatles? I admit the thing is overstuffed, but lose HALF the songs? You crazy.
White Album songs I could live without - zulkey - Sep. 14th, 2009 06:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Sep. 14th, 2009 06:22 pm (UTC)
Any true Beatles fan knows that if you don't absolutely despise "Revolution 9," which I don't, the worst Beatles song is "Mr. Moonlight," from Beatles for Sale.

Best song is almost impossible, but my top ten list always had "Strawberry Fields Forever" at the top. "A Day in the Life" and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" are pretty high up there, though.
Sep. 14th, 2009 06:31 pm (UTC)
"Strawberry Fields" was John's favorite too. Not mine.

"Mr. Moonlight" is terrible, but at least they ony covered it -- they didn't write it.
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Sep. 14th, 2009 06:56 pm (UTC)
Favorite album - Magical Mystery Tour. Though I think Revolver is the better album (better songs, coheres better as a whole), I love the production on MMT. I still feel like I hear new things whenever I listen to it, even the iconic songs like Strawberry Fields or Walrus.

Worst album - With the Beatles. Don't like the covers except for "Money" and "Hold Me Tight" and "Little Child" are pretty lame. Although even on that one, the first three songs are all pretty killer.

Best song - "She Said She Said." I can't even pick out a favorite part, it's perfect.

Worst song - "Tell Me What You See." That "tell! me! what! you! see!" part makes me cringe.
Sep. 14th, 2009 11:40 pm (UTC)
I cut With the Beatles some slack because (a) it's got "All My Loving" on it and (b) I kinda like the "Money" and "You Really Got a Hold on Me" covers. My least favorite is Beatles for Sale because the originals aren't as good and the covers are way, way worse ("Mr. Fucking Moonlight").

I've found it helps to say "No, why don't YOU tell ME what YOU see!" during that song.
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Sep. 14th, 2009 07:01 pm (UTC)
Favorite album: [i]Magical Mystery Tour[/i]. I know it's kinda singles-and-filler and attached to their worst movie, but the singles are fucking "Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane", the "filler" includes one of Harrison's more sublime moments of psych ("Bluejay Way"), the ending of the title track with that woozy piano is one of my favorite codas in pop music, "Hello Goodbye" might have their best harmonizing ever, "Baby You're a Rich Man" is point of proof that their rhythm section was really damn good, and "I Am the Walrus" is the perfect blend of absurdist lyricism, hallucinogenic unease, Spike Jones comedy and fucking terror. I say it beats [i]Sgt. Pepper's[/i] hands down for me -- though I also think [i]Their Satanic Majesties Request[/i] does, too, so I am not the man to ask about that, maybe.

Least favorite album: [i]Yellow Submarine[/i], if only because the great stuff on Side A ("It's All Too Much", "Hey Bulldog", "Only a Northern Song") is largely canceled out by the unremarkable film-score side B. Most of it's way better in a film context, in any case.

Favorite song: I might get grief for this, but: "Hey Jude". I must be the only person on earth that doesn't mind it takes forever to end. I think it clicked when I listened to it twice in a row once and it really hit me how gradual and lavish and intricate its whole buildup was. Plus, holy shit, have you heard Wilson Pickett's cover with Duane Allman on guitar?

Least favorite song: "Maxwell's Silver Hammer", which is like a "When I'm 64" rewrite that was trying to be a Charles Addams cartoon and failed. The songs the Beatles did with Moogs on [i]Abbey Road[/i] sound either okayish ("Because") or exhibit A for why they were better left to Walter Carlos. I guess Paul got the hang of it by the time Wings recorded "Jet", at least.
Sep. 14th, 2009 07:59 pm (UTC)
The two remasters I allowed myself to buy were Revolver and Yellow Submarine, mostly because the last cd release of Sub pissed me off so much. I want my film score, dammit! It might be unremarkable, but I grew up watching the film every year at our local library with my dad, so that score is part of my DNA.
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Sep. 14th, 2009 07:45 pm (UTC)
Best song: "Revolution." What "Twist and Shout" grew up to be: still a thumping staticky rock song, but now with harmonics to die for and much more clever lyrical twists.

Worst song: "She Loves You." Yeah yeah yeah it's important because it made the Beatles and all, but it's a crappy, annoying song compared to just about everything else they did.
Sep. 14th, 2009 11:25 pm (UTC)
Best Records: I'm not going to be controversial. Rubber Soul and Revolver are damn near perfect expressions of '60s pop. Nowhere else will you find a couple of albums that combine catchiness, lyrical menace, lyrical cuddliness, rocking out, proto-psychedelia and non-sucky songs by white pop-stars containing the sitar. These are the argument ending albums. Abbey Road is all that plus the engine of mutual hatred driving the band toward an acceptable stopping point.

Worst Album: Yellow Submarine, which is worth the price of admission for Hey Bulldog even though there ain't a thing else on it worth a listen that you can't get on a better album. The other originals are proof that even the Beatles could be one of those groups who released second-rate psychedelic garbage trying to ape the catchy psychedelic pop music so effortlessly churned out by the Beatles.

Best songs: Fuck you, I like the Hey Jude/Revolution double A side. Do I really have to show my work? You Can't Do That. She's a Woman. You Won't See Me. A Day in the Life. Taxman. Here Comes the Sun. I Me Mine. I Got a Feeling. I Am the Walrus. Lovely Rita. Paperback Writer. Girl. She Said She Said. I'm a Loser. I Saw Her Standing There. For No One. Bad Boy is their best cover. Shit, I can't defend all this.

Worst: Good Night. The Long and Winding Road. Mister Moonlight. Anything in German. What is it with the fucking English pandering to the Germans? My friend Tony would name that Music Man cover, but I don't know. It seemed very Paul. The last verse of She's Leaving Home, for ruining what could have been a legitimately great, mature song for Paul.

Sep. 14th, 2009 11:47 pm (UTC)
Which part of "She's Leaving Home" are you talking about?
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I think that should be "love" - (Anonymous) - Oct. 28th, 2009 07:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 15th, 2009 12:01 am (UTC)
It's always near-impossible for me to rate bests and worsts with The Beatles, since they went through so many styles and changes and micro-eras in the span of a short time that whatever my mood is day to day, the list will change.

If I'm in one of my psychedelia-era moods, then "I Am The Walrus" and "Strawberry Fields" are unsurpassable. But if I'm digging through well-constructed songstership, then something like "Things We Said Today" (my current top-played Beatles tune of late) will get played 5 times in a row. Or if I'm in a blistering-rocker mood, "Revolution", "It's All Too Much", "Helter Skelter", "Hey Bulldog", "I Want You (She's So Heavy)".

And I like at times the self-referential stuff like "Ballad of John & Yoko", or "Two Of Us" off Let It Be - it sounds like a weary John & Paul trying to make peace with each other, realising it's the end of the road, and reminding each other of the good moments they've had. A gentle rueful exhaustion.

So, fave album veers weekly between Hard Day's Night, Sgt Pepper, Revolver, the white album, Let it Be, or Abbey Road (I cannot get through that majestic final mash of songlets with a dry eye).

"Worst" stuff for me (as in I rarely if ever listen to it) would probably be their non-singles/hit/anthologised really early songs mostly from pre-Hard Day's Night albums. Some hidden gems may lurk there, but I have little urge to really plow through it all.

Two constants: I will forever say that "A Day In The Life" (esp. the went-into-a-dream "ahhh-ah-ah-ahhhh..." bit) is, in my perfectly rational, balanced, logical and unquestionable-or-assailable view, is the most sublime and perfect sonic moment in mankind's entire history, with Beethoven's 9th Symphony coming a close second.

Also, "Penny Lane" is the world's most perfect pop song. Well-constructed, happy and wistful, organic and human, immediately shoving one into a summer's day of impenetrable sheltering sun and warmth and making every step lighter and happier for the rest of the day after hearing it.

Snippets and blips and seconds of Beatles songs are wedged so deep in my subconscious that I' always forgetting, and stealing them. There are often bits of "Revolution #9" that I find myself having to tweezer out of songs I'm writing ("I was picturing a cool scrambly noisy bit that sounds like ... oh, damn"). And the off-kilter horns and spooky keyboards of "Only A Northern Song" are forever trying to sneak into arrangements in my head.

"Free As A Bird" was pretty terrible (even if Paul managed to pull a surprisingly appealing Old-Beatlesy-Paul break out of his soul for it), but as much as hate 99% of all music videos, the accompanying video always has me in tears for all that's passed and all that's lost and all that is forever lodged in my ears & head & heart thanks to the music of The Beatles.

... umm, yeah, after years of fighting it, I've accepted The Beatles as my personal sonic saviours. What of it?
Sep. 15th, 2009 12:04 am (UTC)
Oh, and my gawd, I forgot to mention "She Said She Said", that shimmering blast of a guitar opening - in a few seconds defines the unstoppable optimistic joy of Swinging London's brief shining moment as the centre of civilisation.

I could go on. Obviously.
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