I really want to make the case here that “Tell Me What You See” is a lost Beatles masterpiece that deserves more attention. I really want to, but I can’t. It’s a filler track. But it’s a personal favorite. (Well, a 99th favorite.) One of those songs that I rarely seek out, but any time it pops up on shuffle or I’m listening to Help! I smile and think, “Yeah, I like this one.”
It’s pretty charming right out of the gate, with calming percussion and meek, wistful lyrics. As much as I normally Continue reading “#99: Tell Me What You See” →
Apparently the most-covered pop song of all time, “Yesterday” is essentially a perfect composition, so don’t be fooled by its ranking just shy of the top 100. When the protagonist began playing it in the recent film of the same name, I got chills, and that was a decidedly flaccid “guitarist on the quad” rendition of the song. But the versions by Ray Charles, Judy Collins, Aretha Franklin, and of course the Beatles’ original are all beautiful blueprints of the possibilities of putting this song in the right hands.
When I say the Beatles, though, I really just mean Paul McCartney, who is the only member of the band involved with its writing and recording. Even when it was performed in concert, John, George, and Ringo would step aside for Paul’s solo spotlight. Despite its generation-spanning appeal, Continue reading “#103: Yesterday” →
Ooh, Paul McCartney’s getting sassy here! It’s hard to imagine a song like this coming out in 2018 and not receiving some mild backlash, but the Beatles could get away with anything, including this not-entirely-fictional threat that Paul’s significant other had better play her cards right, because if she doesn’t, he has another girl lined up and ready to go. “I ain’t no fool and I don’t take what I don’t want,” he taunts, and unlike Continue reading “#134: Another Girl” →
This has got to be one of the most unjustly overlooked Beatles songs ever. I realize by putting it at #138, I’m probably not doing anything to curb its underrated status, but man, give it a listen and tell me that this is not a damn good song on every level. Really. There’s a palpable excitement from the opening roll of the bass and drums to the twinkle of a guitar riff that punctuates everything.
I really don’t know where to start with the praise. How about Continue reading “#138: The Night Before” →
I know, it’s too low. I’m sorry. But I don’t much care for Bob Dylan, and this is John Lennon trying to be Bob Dylan. He still produces a much better result than the actual Bob Dylan, and at least he didn’t make a career out of trying to be Bob Dylan like Roger McGuinn, but then again, Continue reading “#147: You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” →
Oh Paul McCartney, you delightful trickster, you. The longing strums that open “I’ve Just Seen a Face” make for one of the most deceptive intros in the Beatles’ catalog. Because what follows those first 11 seconds is one of the Continue reading “#161: I’ve Just Seen a Face” →
Surprise, surprise, here’s another song John Lennon wrote and subsequently bad-mouthed a few years later. “I always thought it was a lousy song,” he said in 1980. “The lyrics were abysmal. I always hated that song.”
Ok, so he wasn’t Continue reading “#164: It’s Only Love” →
Look, I actually do like this song. Honest. But I’m going to go on record as saying this might be the most generic set of lyrics ever written, not just by the Beatles, but by any major band from any era. (“Generic” of course is not synonymous with “worst.” Don’t worry, Black Eyed Peas, that title lies safely with “My Humps.” At least Alanis Morissette salvaged it somewhat.) That probably explains why, as with “You Like Me Too Much,” George Harrison didn’t Continue reading “#181: I Need You” →
Perhaps content that “Don’t Bother Me” shut up the journalists who kept asking him when he would start writing songs, George Harrison left it up to John and Paul to take care of the original material for the next two Beatles albums. When he gave it another shot for Help! he delivered two below-average songs so unimpressive that Continue reading “#188: You Like Me Too Much” →
Another day, another Ringo country/western cover. Aside from the quickie romp with “Maggie Mae,” the Help! album was the last time the Beatles went to outside sources to fill up an LP, and it was apparent by this point that their originals were at a way higher level. Oddly enough, they passed over Continue reading “#204: Act Naturally” →