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”
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”
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”
This track often shows up on “worst Beatles songs” lists, and it’s admittedly a very curious choice for the band to cover. Originally performed by girl group The Shirelles, this ode to the less fair sex was a regular part of the group’s early setlists, allowing them to nail it in the studio in a single take. The decision to only alter certain lyrics results in Continue reading “#183: Boys”
The slaughter of Please Please Me covers continues. In order to properly describe “Chains,” the only thing I could really think to do was head to thesaurus.com and decide on my favorite synonym for “pleasant.” I am settling on “congenial.” Also, did you know that “bland” is synonymous with “pleasant”? I mean, I get it but I’ve never really thought of those words as amiable.
“Sha-la-la-la-la-la-la” may not be the most profound lyric of all time, but it can make for a heck of a hook. It’s safe to say that “Baby It’s You” does not suffer for lack of being catchy by any stretch, which is hardly a surprise considering it was composed by Burt Bacharach. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to come across a version Continue reading “#206: Baby It’s You”
It’s gone down as one of the most laughable blunders ever made by a record label: on January 1, 1962, the Beatles auditioned for Decca Records and were turned down, purportedly because “guitar groups are on the way out.” But the truth is, if you listen to those recordings, it’s not the Beatles you know and love. For one thing, Ringo had yet to join, with drum duties handled by inaccurately-last-named Pete Best.
Pete Passable-For-The-Time-Being didn’t fit on a marquee.
The 15 songs they recorded that day were selected by manager Brian Epstein and did little to showcase the group members’ personalities, which were just as critical a component of their early success–if not more so–than their musical ability. And that doesn’t even account for Continue reading “#207: Anna (Go to Him)”