Society often feels obligated to turn its nose up to entertainment aimed at children. People are consistently amazed by the way Pixar produces films that appeal to young and old alike, as though it’s an impossible feat. And yes, there are plenty of shows and movies developed by hacks and cynics that insult the intelligence of audiences of all ages by assuming that the only way to appeal to kids (and get their parents to open their wallets) is through loud, colorful, repetitive, and downright annoying content totally void of substance.
But look at the recent burst of Mr. Rogers nostalgia and appreciation, or how Sesame Street has brought on guests that kids probably don’t recognize without sacrificing the show’s core values (exhibit A: “Furry Happy Monsters”). A sense of sincerity is all it takes to Continue reading “#93: All Together Now” →
For a couple of months in 1967 and 1968, the Beatles had a running joke/strategy that they were dumping lesser tracks in order to fulfill contractual requirements for the movie Yellow Submarine. But aside from “Only a Northern Song” (incidentally, the lowest-ranking solo George Harrison composition on the countdown), they actually gave the filmmakers some unique and high-quality tracks, from the kid-friendly “All Together Now” to the unsettling rocker “Hey Bulldog” to the feedback-laden proto-grunge of “It’s All Too Much.”
We enter the top 100 with the second George Harrison track in a row, and this lengthy, psychedelic anthem is unlike anything else in the Beatles’ catalog. With loud, shredding guitars, a surprisingly gentle vocal, a possibly superfluous brass section (I go back and forth), and a chaotic organ part, there is a lot to unpack here. The elephant in the room is that Continue reading “#100: It’s All Too Much” →
“Yellow Submarine” is one of the first Beatles songs everybody hears as a kid, but I can’t say I have any sentimental attachment to it. I mean, I appreciate the kooky visuals and singalong aspect, but it’s Continue reading “#156: Yellow Submarine” →
As much as I’ve grown to appreciate Paul McCartney’s solo and Wings work over the last few years, George Harrison will probably always be my favorite Beatle. He really started to emerge as a songwriter in the group’s later years, and his 1970 triple LP All Things Must Pass is the finest solo album by any of the Fab Four. That said, not all of his 22 Beatles compositions can be winners, and the worst is “Only a Northern Song,” a tedious excursion that takes every psychedelic cliche you can think of, tosses them into a blender, and purees them into a headache-inducing mess.
Much like my famous rum and coke and Chloraseptic cocktail.
George sounds almost as bored singing this song as the listener inevitably will be hearing it. Recorded nearly two years earlier as a Sgt. Pepper outtake, it finally popped up Continue reading “#198: Only a Northern Song” →