#123: PS I Love You

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”

#123: PS I Love You

#129: It Won’t Be Long

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.

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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”

#129: It Won’t Be Long

#135: You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me

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”

#135: You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me

#148: Hold Me Tight

“Hold Me Tight” offers everything you could want in early Beatles album filler: it’s a catchy call-and-response Lennon/McCartney original with lyrics guaranteed to make the girls scream. It doesn’t have anything substantial to say, but that’s not its purpose. Its job is to fill a couple centimeters of vinyl with reproduced sound that’s good enough to get stuck in your head but not so great that Continue reading “#148: Hold Me Tight”

#148: Hold Me Tight

#154: All I’ve Got to Do

I used to really dislike this song for some reason, and in retrospect, I don’t understand why. Maybe it blended in with a lot of their earlier output, and if push comes to shove, I’d probably rank With the Beatles as my least favorite album, so that’s working against it too. But it’s not a bad song by any means. It’s got those glorious harmonies I can’t praise enough and perhaps most impressively, Continue reading “#154: All I’ve Got to Do”

#154: All I’ve Got to Do

#177: Money (That’s What I Want)

“No, we need money first.”

This was John Lennon’s response when asked at the Beatles’ first American press conference if the group would sing for the fans and reporters populating the newly-christened John F. Kennedy International Airport on February 7, 1964. For the band’s cynical critics, it provided simultaneous ammunition and disarmament; an audacious yet charming change of pace from the safe, controlled pop star persona of the day. (Elvis may have been electric on stage, but he made for a pretty boring interviewee.) It’s debatable the extent to which John was joking, but Continue reading “#177: Money (That’s What I Want)”

#177: Money (That’s What I Want)

#182: Love Me Do

When I wrote about 1969’s “I Want You (She’s So Heavy),” I lamented its lack of lyrical variation (try saying that three times fast), but the truth is, the Beatles had been thrifty with words from the start. “Love Me Do,” the band’s 1962 debut single, contains just 20 unique words. It’s one of those songs that is objectively pretty unexceptional on every level, but Continue reading “#182: Love Me Do”

#182: Love Me Do