Undoubtedly one of the most ominous-sounding recordings ever released by the Beatles, it’s hard to believe that “Blue Jay Way” was inspired by such a mundane event of George Harrison waiting for a friend to arrive at his house. Or, I mean, it would be hard to believe if the lyrics weren’t so literal. I have mixed feelings on songs like this; on the one hand it’s kind of a neat diversion to hear an artist steer away from being poetic and just describe something so matter-of-factly. On the other, one of the best things about any work of art is its inherent ability to be interpreted and judged based on the encompassing and unique life experiences of everyone in its audience. When there’s not a whole lot left to the imagination, it isn’t as much fun.
But fun is not the aim of “Blue Jay Way” in any aspect. From its haunting organ fade-in to the monotonous thump of the drum that underscores the first verse to the swirling psychedelic instruments that fly in and out, it’s a pretty trippy four minutes. If you really want to get transcendent though, check out the music video, an excerpt from the Magical Mystery Tour movie. I can’t really recommend it on a pure entertainment level, but visually, it’s packed with so many elements that a pretentious cinema student’s dreams are made of: kaleidoscope transitions, deliberately out-of-sync audio, muted silhouettes, and more. (Full disclosure: I am a pretentious cinema student, hence why I used the term “cinema student” as opposed to “film major” like a normal person.)