How is it that a song titled “Misery” is one of the most musically joyful songs in the Beatles’ catalog? Clocking in at under two minutes, this delightful little ditty features John and Paul singing in unison the entire time, and was recorded during the marathon Please Please Me session in which John audibly really needs to blow his nose.
Nothing special, this one, but Continue reading “#95: Misery”
On the surface, this deceptively simple ballad is basically one cliche lyric after another. If you assembled the words to the complete discographies of 1950s teen idols and fed them into some algorithm for a computer to write a love song, “Ask Me Why” would be the output. There’s nothing here that Continue reading “#102: Ask Me Why”
I’m probably ranking this higher than I should, but what the heck, it’s a catchy song. Originally planned as the Beatles’ third single, “Thank You Girl” was relegated to the b-side once Lennon and McCartney came up with “From Me to You.” A wise choice, but “Thank You Girl” deserves more love. It’s slightly–just slightly but Continue reading “#118: Thank You Girl”
Now look, far be it from me to criticize anyone (stop laughing), and the Beatles probably don’t need my 55-year Monday morning quarterbacking, but I’m gonna call it like I see it. They screwed up here. Continue reading “#122: Roll Over Beethoven”
This is such an absolutely corny, sappy song but I love it. It’s the sort of music that was hugely popular before the Beatles hit it big, so maybe it felt like a safe selection as the b-side for their first single. Either way, it’s far better than the a-side (“Love Me Do”) and is too charming to ignore. Inconsequential in the long run, maybe, but look, not every Beatles song was gonna change the world.
This is another one of those songs that exceeds the sum of its parts, with a checklist of endearing moments in its pros column. Its brisk opening. The simple percussion, which was actually provided by a session musician (having been deemed inadequate at the band’s EMI audition, Ringo was relegated to shaking a pair of maracas). The neat interjections when the “As I write this letter…” section is repeated from John (“ohhh!”), Paul (“you know I want you to”), and George (“yeah”)–incidentally, it wasn’t until I began doing this write-up that I realized Continue reading “#123: PS I Love You”
You know what’s funny? I’m sitting here listening to this song and enjoying it so much that I’m asking myself, “Did I really rank this all the way down at #129?” But then I look at the list of remaining songs and I don’t know what I would switch around. We’re basically in the stretch of the list where things could change on a day-to-day basis due to my mood or how long it’s been since I’ve heard a song or the current stage of the moon.
If Yom Kippur falls on a full moon, there’s only one song I listen to.
“It Won’t Be Long” starts the Beatles’ second album with a bang, and the rise in musicianship is immediately apparent. Granted, their debut was hastily recorded when John Lennon had a cold, but Continue reading “#129: It Won’t Be Long”
There are few things in this life more pointless than the cover song that merely replicates the original. I’m not universally discrediting them–I love 10,000 Maniacs’ carbon copy of Patti Smith’s “Because the Night,” and Stone Temple Pilots’ faithful rendition of “Revolution” (by some band) is also quite awesome. But there’s a risk/reward equation in reworking a beloved song and sure, sometimes it doesn’t pay off–would anyone take the Carpenters’ bizarre takes on “Ticket to Ride” and “Help!” over some band’s originals?–sometimes you end up with Continue reading “#135: You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me”