Wednesday, March 6, 2013

You Can't Do That! The 25 Best Beatles Songs Ever--And the 5 Worst (Pt.3)

One and one and one is...

10.  "Abbey Road Medley"
Appears on:  Abbey Road

Eight songs, in various stages of completion, over 16 minutes...the Abbey Road medley/suite/hodgepodge was conceptualized by Paul and true fifth Beatle George Martin to wrap up the last recorded Beatles album.  I love Paul for several hundred reasons, and if I ever ranked the top 10 reasons--and I would--his unassailable status as the Beatles legacy-maintainer for their last couple years of active musical life would be there.

I found it impossible to separate these songs when considering this list.  How could I rip "Polythene Pam" and "She Came In Through the Bathroom Window" apart?  "Golden Slumbers" to "Carry That Weight" to "The End" don't mess with that.  That's perfection.

From a disarmingly nectarous ode to sour negotiations, to trippy gibberish...but Mean Mr. Mustard knows people far more interesting and actually alive than ol' King Louis the Whoever.  Why's John sound so bored?  Surely it's just my imagination, running away with Pam, gleefully sleazy and oh yeah, wide-eyed now Johnny boy!  Pam would never have been an Apple Scruff, but she still admires their chutzpah.

Enough about the others, the extraneous skin-slappers.  The last bit is Paul's love letter to the Beatles.  "Once there was a way"'s less the boy that's gonna play Atlas, more the boys, you dig?...the solo bug has inevitably bitten them all, and they'll be successful for sure, but the Beatles mystique will never disappear.  Buck up, fellas, sing yer hearts out, face the future.

Oh yeah!  All right!

Going out like heavyweight champions, baby:  Explosive Punching and Aggressive Defense.  We're the Beatles, bah, it's done fuck the Beatles!  But hey, we're the Beatles, so fuck you!  John, George and Paul take turns flipping V's.  But then...

"And in the end/The love you take/Is equal to the love you make."

Internecine drama and bitterness be damned.  It's still about love.

9.  "Something"
Appears on:  Abbey Road

My favorite George tune for sure, an exquisite gossamer slow dance that manages to give itself over to passion while still keeping its cynical head.  I much prefer this to his preachings on  shallow material fetishism.  Best intro to a Beatles song? Best end to a Beatles song?

8.  "I'm So Tired"
Appears on:  The Beatles

Whilst at Maharishi Spirit Camp, our hero John fell into a nasty funk indeed.  Head fulla intense thoughts and body weighed down by even more intense insomnia exacerbated by stunted lust, our begrudging noctavigant warrior squeezed out a universal lament.

"I'd give you everything I've got for a little piece of mind."  No metaphors or similes.  No extravagant imagery.  Just sludge of the soul.  Funny as John's brief snipe at Walter Raleigh is, both poets used their gifts to express the contemptus mundi* attitude for a wide, largely appreciative audience.  Brothers always fight.

*(translated from the original Latin, "The world sucks and I hate it.")

7.  "Your Mother Should Know"
Appears on:  Magical Mystery Tour (stereo version, crisp and clear; the mono is flayed with flange and practically unlistenable, even as the aesthetic fits tighter with that of the MMT album)

This one has its detractors.  Paul was the Beatle to rely on for meretricious populace pleasers (and what could bring a smile to one's face faster than thoughts of mom?) and mileage varies for certain.  "Your Mother Should Know" wears a monocle, top hat, pink feather boa hat, and ball gown all at the same time.  Sing it again?  Aw yeah, again and again!

6.  "Two of Us"
Appears on:  Let It Be

Paul penned this one for Linda, but Beatle freaks can't help but hear a tribute to a friendship that changed the world. (Bittersweet to consider that Paul has been without either of his partners for years now.)  J and P are perfectly matched here (and the fact that by and large the Beatles were even at this point able to check their mutual enmity at the studio door and lay down classic after classic is yet another check in their column), two troubadours content to ride it out side by side, gazing out at the extremely long stretch of dotted and streaked grey ahead, heads flashing with wispy fragments of thoughts and memories.

1 comment:

  1. "check their mutual enmity at the studio door..." Have you seen Let It Be? For Abbey Road they made the effort but during the Get Back Sessions (and the White Album for that matter) they were blowing up at each other in the studio all the time. Ringo even quit at one point before coming back. Geoff Emerick, one of the best engineers on their albums, left the White Album sessions and only came back for Abbey Road because he was so fed up with the fighting.