Sometimes people ask me if I have the full list of my Beatles ranking already planned out or if it’s a work in progress that I’ve been assembling as I write them up. (Yes, people do ask me about the list. Yes, I do have friends. “Hey, we were just talking about the list. Nobody was saying you didn’t have friends, Anthony.” The tone was implied.) Well, if you’re dying to know how the game is played, the art of the trade, and how the sausage gets made, yes, the ranking is fully complete and safe in my possession, despite the efforts of desperate Russian hackers trying to get their hands on it who have dejectedly turned to meddling in American politics instead.
Vladimir Putin’s favorite Beatles song is “The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill” so he’s had it out for me ever since I ranked it at #193.
From time to time, I hear a song, wonder where it is on the list, and then react with appalled rage that it’s so low. Surely I made a mistake when I compiled things! How could I have Continue reading “#86: Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)”
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”
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”
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”
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”
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”
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.
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”