#101: If I Needed Someone

As discussed in the last entry, “Ask Me Why,” the Beatles weren’t always completely cutting-edge, but more often than not, they were wearing a Chuck Berry or R&B influence on their sleeves. “If I Needed Someone” is a rare case where they imitated a contemporary, as the track probably shares a bit too much in common with the Byrds’ “The Bells of Rhymney.” But if you’re going to copy another band, you could do a lot worse than the Byrds (insert obligatory R.E.M. shoutout here).

“Just as the Byrds were influenced by the Beatles, we were influenced by the Byrds,” George Harrison admitted, and it’s clear from the first jangly note of this oddly ambivalent love song. Along with his other Rubber Soul contribution, this is the first Continue reading “#101: If I Needed Someone”

#101: If I Needed Someone

#121: Girl

Is there anybody going to listen to my thoughts about the song “Girl”? Ah, “Girl.” (deep sigh)

Armed with melancholy harmonies and alluring, wistful guitar strums, it’s easy to get sucked into this cynical, matter-of-fact ballad. It was one of the earliest Beatles songs I became familiar with, thanks to its appearance on the 1962-66 compilation, which boasted a whopping six of 14 Rubber Soul cuts. Even though I’m ranking this above “Drive My Car,” I feel like “Girl” is probably the least essential inclusion of the bunch. It’s a great song, but thematically it feels similar to “Norwegian Wood” and musically shares some DNA with “Michelle.”

Of course, “Girl” does boast one distinct feature Continue reading “#121: Girl”

#121: Girl

#137: Drive My Car

Kicking off Rubber Soul into high gear, “Drive My Car” steered the Beatles onto a road they’d never gone down before, and I’m already sick of these car puns so let’s forget this intro ever happened.

In the first half of the sixties, the Beach Boys seemed to corner the market on automobile tracks, from “409” to “Little Deuce Coupe” to “Driving Aimlessly Because Continue reading “#137: Drive My Car”

#137: Drive My Car

#152: What Goes On

Listen here, cowboy, I’ve got a bone to pick with country music. Several in fact. I’m all for jokes like, “A horse walked into a bar. The bartender asked, ‘Why the long face?'” but I draw the line at actually giving beer to horses. Also, there are approximately 750 award shows devoted specifically to country music annually. This is an excessive and not at all hyperbolic number. And country music artists are by far the most Continue reading “#152: What Goes On”

#152: What Goes On

#159: The Word

Fans of Family Guy and pre-Beatles rock music are well aware that in 1963, Minnesota’s own The Trashmen established definitively and without question that “bird” is the word. It may have been occasionally accompanied by stutters of differing lengths, but the veracity of its prominent place in the lexicon was not up for debate.

And yet in 1965, two cocky young songwriters Continue reading “#159: The Word”

#159: The Word

#197: Run for Your Life

Imagine binge-watching a great season of your favorite show and every episode is awesome, and then you get to the finale and they throw in some unexpected plot twist that isn’t enough to retroactively ruin the season, but it leaves a pretty sour taste in your mouth. That’s sort of what listening to Rubber Soul is like.

himym

Tonight on CBS: the series finale of How I Met Your Mother and Then Killed Her Off 20 Minutes Later.*

 

I mean, I won’t deny that Rubber Soul‘s concluding track, “Run For Your Life,” is catchy. It is. But any song Continue reading “#197: Run for Your Life”

#197: Run for Your Life