We’re currently living in a world overcome by a virus that has disrupted every component of our lives, racial injustice and unrest, and the threat of a Kanye West presidency. Let’s not sugarcoat it: things are awfully bleak. Nobody really knew how to cope.
And then on July 23, Taylor Swift announced the imminent release of her new album, Folklore, and it served as a reminder that it really is getting better all the time.
That’s right, I’m using a Taylor Swift album as an excuse for being too lazy to write an entry for the last two months.
In this cheery, optimistic highlight from Sgt. Pepper, John and Paul mix clever wordplay (“It can’t get no worse”) with Continue reading “#76: Getting Better”
I got a lot of flack for my low ranking of “Yesterday” on this list, and I’m not gonna lie, I had second thoughts. To say I quivered in my boots and experienced heart tremors would be an understatement. The feedback made me sweat more than Papa John after eating 40 pizzas in 30 days. Much like Papa John, I’ll backtrack a little bit and say that, if I were to do this list again, I would certainly reconsider and probably put “Yesterday” a lot higher.
“Yesterday, I was CEO, they called me boss / Now my bloodstream’s 60% sauce.”
All that to say, “A Day in the Life” is probably just as heralded as “Yesterday,” if not more so–it often tops Beatles song rankings–but this is one I’m going to stand behind. Objectively it is Continue reading “#90: A Day in the Life”
For a guy who maintains a very consistent and particular public persona, Paul McCartney surprisingly often lets his freak flag fly on record. Truth be told, they typically end up becoming some of my favorite songs of his, which probably says more about me than it does about Paul’s willingness to get weird. We all love “Maybe I’m Amazed” and “Band on the Run,” but my McCartney collection would be incomplete without oddball gems like “Temporary Secretary,” “Monkberry Moon Delight,” and “Morse Moose and the Grey Goose.”
Maybe the earliest evidence of Paul’s musical wild side is 1967’s “Fixing a Hole,” an eerie slice of psychedelia with lyrics that sound especially deep and thought-provoking at first but it turns out that, once again, Paul is just singing about Continue reading “#98: Fixing a Hole”
In the last entry, I noted that “Got to Get You Into My Life” made an impressive jump on my ranking, but now we get to the exact opposite. Had I done this countdown 15 years ago, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” would have been a clear-cut top 50 entry. And let’s be clear; it’s a great song. But what was intriguing imagery to my younger self now seems like a bunch of random gibberish. I almost feel like I would prefer it as an instrumental. Maybe hang on to the Lennon/McCartney harmonies in the chorus, but I don’t know that I would miss the rocking horse people and newspaper taxis if they were excised.
The elephant in the room Continue reading “#111: Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”
- Paul McCartney kicking him out after he asked Paul to delay the release of his first solo album so it wouldn’t compete with Let it Be
- George Harrison professing his love for Maureen Starkey and proceeding to have an affair with her
- John and Paul having him open a song with the query, “What would you think if I sang out of tune?”
These may be the three cruelest things Ringo Starr’s bandmates did to him, in ascending order. Of course, the drummer took it all like a champ, and he eventually Continue reading “#120: With a Little Help From My Friends”
This may be the single hardest Beatles song for me to rank, no joke. At its core, there is a great song here. A fantastic song in fact. But like much of the Sgt. Pepper album, that great song is buried among layers of production tricks and I have to be honest, I find it virtually unlistenable. If that were the only version available, “Good Morning, Good Morning” would have probably ended up closer to the back end of the top 200.
Also, any song based around having to get out of bed in the morning automatically loses points.
However… Continue reading “#144: Good Morning, Good Morning”
If I had to describe “Lovely Rita” in one word it would be…”busy.” There’s a lot going on here, and it all falls short of the sum of its parts. There’s a quirky kazoo sound that pops up a few times; a jaunty piano line; and John Lennon’s repetitive, borderline extraterrestrial “Lovely Rita, meter maid” backing vocals. But all of those elements aren’t enough to distract from the reality that this is kind of a novelty song, the story of a man attempting to woo a public servant. Well, I guess in fairness, that makes it sound a lot more boring than it actually is. You can probably Continue reading “#173: Lovely Rita”
You may be wondering why I’m ranking the 81-second reprise of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band‘s title track over the original version that oh-so-thematically kicks off the album. “Anthony, quit being so contrarian.” “Anthony, give it a rest with trying to subtly undermine Sgt. Pepper.” “Anthony, stop having hypothetical conversations with yourself on your weird Beatles blog. We’re worried about you. You haven’t eaten in days. You started saving your fingernail clippings in a jar because you said Continue reading “#176: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)”
The Beatles often took inspiration from unlikely sources: their catalog owes an equal debt to the I Ching as it does to a Corn Flakes commercial. But maybe the weirdest is a wordy 1843 poster advertising a Victorian circus.
Meanwhile, I’m sitting here writing an entire concept album about the Step By Step episode where Dana gets her driver’s license. It’s not going well.
I don’t have any particular gripes with this song, other than Continue reading “#179: Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!”
Pet peeve time: when I listen to music, there are a number of factors that almost inevitably will drive me crazy and shrink the odds of me appreciating a song: stupid rhymes (“dustbin lid,” really?). Unnecessary whistling. And fake audience noise on studio recordings. Especially fake laughter. What hilarity took place Continue reading “#189: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”