Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Emperor Is Wearing No Clothes

Mr E. Discharge's mention of Yoko One reminded me of a post I was going to do a while back...

I know Boogeyman doesn't think much of my disclaimers, but I'm going to make another one. I'm a Beatles fan. I have all their albums. When I was loading them all onto I-Tunes, as I do with all my albums, I'm selective, and only bother to upload the songs I like so that if I hit the 'Party Shuffle' function I'm guaranteed to get songs I enjoy. 52 Beatles songs made the cut. That's a lot of songs to like. But from their most renowned and respected album 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band'? Three. Yes, three.

(Actually, only two made it from Abbey Road which is a bag of shit, but that's not the album that gets the muso-intelligentsia all jizzin' over their Bang & Olufsens).

Let me look at the tracks.

Side one
"Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" – 2:02

A good start! I like this track. It's a bit rockin', it's quirky and foot stompin' and makes me wanna drop my 'g's from the end of words. It made my I-Tunes list.

"With a Little Help from My Friends" – 2:44

If it wasn't for his most excellent work with Thomas The Tank Engine, I'd be calling for Ringo to have his adenoids removed. This song is bad enough without listening to his nose sing it to me. Then, to make it worse, fucken Joe Cocker force-feeding us an insufferable cover version that we're stuck with to the grave. It's an overly-sentimental sing-song best suited for a campfire at a Seventh Day Adventist Youth Camp.

"Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" – 3:28

See this is why people shouldn't take drugs. Instead of Government paying millions to advertising executives with ponytails and cocaine budgets that exceed Fiji's GDP to come up with hard-hitting anti-drug ads, all they need to do is buy some advertising space from a network, play this song to a blank screen, and right at the end bring up the text: "Don't do drugs."

"Picture yourself on a train in a station,
With plasticine porters with looking glass ties..."

No, I won't do that John because I'm not a potheaded hippy drongo.

"Getting Better" – 2:47

Is it? Is it Paul? Not if this song is anything to go by. Did you learn this melody line at kidergarten? Sounds like it.

"Fixing a Hole" – 2:36

McCartney himself said he was smoking too much pot when he wrote this song. The song fell into context for me when I read that. You know when you're at a party and some pothead starts talking crap about how we are here and they are there and we're just a hole in the wall and we have to fix it man? Well this song just puts the incoherent ramblings of boring odorous potheads to music. And what's with the harpsichord? Whose idea was that? The Stranglers used harpsichord in the brilliant 'Golden Brown' but no other band has ever managed to make it sound cool.

"She's Leaving Home" – 3:35

Tolerable, but it didn't make my I-Tunes. I did consider it though. Still, 'tolerable' is not a word generally applied to the so-called 'genius' of this album.

"Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" – 2:37

Oh fuck off. No wonder he went to Yoko Ono. Her 'art' was as vaccuous as the childish musings on this supposedly 'surreal' piece. To quote TISM: "It's novel, it's unique, it's shithouse." You know, surrealism isn't meant to be indecipherable garbage, but it invariably is. And you know what else? YES IT IS A FUCKING PIPE! And Andy Kaufman can get fucked too.

Side two (if you can get that far)

"Within You Without You" (George Harrison) – 5:05

Ever been in a cheap Indian restaurant eating 20c pappadams and $2.95 dahl and having the distinct feeling that the hygeine standards in the kitchen are sub-standard? Well, this is the soundtrack to that feeling. Oh, and just because Eastern religions are older doesn't mean they are any better. Have a fucking shower, and then you can tell me about my chakra you HIPPY.

"When I'm Sixty-Four" – 2:37

A ditty. Dennis Walters wouldn't even touch it.

"Lovely Rita" – 2:42

Another ditty. Oh, I see... because they're like the biggest rock band EVAH if they do a nursery-rhyme ditty it's cool? But if, say, Miss Helena from Romper Room wrote and sang it, it would be a nursery-rhyme on a K-tel compilation? I see.

"Good Morning Good Morning" – 2:41

The morning alarm clock from HIPPY HELL. How can the same man that wrote 'Mother', 'Happiness Is A Warm Gun' and 'You've Got To Hide Your Love Away' also write this? How is it possible?

"Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)" – 1:18

Love it.

"A Day in the Life" – 5:33

Love it. At least it finishes alright.


I ask you, am I wrong?


Lewd Bob said...

I think you're a little wrong but not too far away. I agree the album's overrated and not even close to The Beatles' best. 'A Day in the Life' is, indeed, one of the best songs ever written, as is Golden Brown (pity it didn't appear on the album). And yes, the ditties: they're pretty unlistenable. Unless you're into easy listening.

This is where you're wrong:

'Abbey Road' is great. 'Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite' is very good. And I'd love to see Miss Helena doing 'Lovely Rita' nude. I'm just not sure why.

Perseus said...

Miss Helena nude? You sick fuck.

I stand by my Abbey Road comment. If it was The Beatles' debut album, the record executives would meet and say, "Well, it's pretty shit, but this Harrison bloke who wrote 'Something' and 'Here Cokes The Sun' seems pretty good. Let's get him to write some songs for Nancy Sinatra."

'I Want You (She's So Heavy)' is good, 'Come Together' is good... the Harrison songs are tolerable and the rest is garbage.

"Maxwell's Silver Hammer"?
"Octopus's Garden"?

Please. They are not just the low point of The Beatles' body of work, but they are the low point of rock music full stop.

Perseus said...

...and add 'Mean Mister Mustard' to that shit list.

Anonymous said...

I missed where the disclaimer ended.

The Beatles and drugs didn't mix well. The Doors mixed drugs and music much better.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Revolver is a much better album.

And I bet your favourite character on The Young Ones was Vivian - wasn't it Pers?

The Doors? I spit on them!

squib said...

Still, it's got quite a nice cover

When I was young, a boyfriend used to play 'When I'm Sixty-four' and he used to look at me in a meaningful way. He also used to sing Karen Carpenter's 'Close to You' in a Kermit voice

shitbmxrider said...

Maybe I am far too young(24), but I just don't get the Beatles... Just a seemingly very average band, from my point of view...

Besides, everyone knows that the New Wave/New Romantic/Synthpop era of the 80's is the best period of music ever to be recoreded...

Watching Yellow Submarine whilst high is a interesting experience, however...the one thing from the Beatles body of work I can recommend.

Lewd Bob said...

Their best is represented by some of 'Help', almost all of 'Rubber Soul' and 'Revolver' and scatterings of greatness from 'Sgt Peppers' to 'Let it Be'.

Regarding Abbey Road, 'I Want You (She's So Heavy)' is fucking great, you cad.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I am far too young(24), but I just don't get the Beatles... Just a seemingly very average band, from my point of view...

I like a lot of different kinds of music from a lot of different eras but the Beatles don't stand out to me as being anything particularly special. On the other hand, I'm not really able to debate the merits of things like music, photography, film, and art in general. To me, it's all just entertainment and the only thing that matters is how much enjoyment you personally get from it. I sometimes get the impression that the word "art" is used to try and raise entertainment to an intellectual level and make people who don't enjoy it feel dumb.

Lewd Bob said...

Much so called 'art' is little more than entertainment but it's all about how you define art. Greater minds than mine have failed to agreed on it so I'm not going to try for a definitive answer.

However great art is there to challenge us, to make us think differently, to see things from various perspectives. If all it is is entertainment, then it's not art at all. Art is something that takes us a little further. I think Sgt Peppers - and much of the Beatles' mid to late period output - IS art. Doesn't mean you have to like it.

Fad MD said...

The Stones of the period were much better musically.

I also hate so much of the McCartney stuff in the Beatles. At least John's writing had an edge to it.

I downloaded the entire Beatles discography and then went through and did what Perseus did, deleting half of it.

Oh and Miss Helena nude? Yay!

Anonymous said...


Are you saying that great art is something that contains ideas or perspectives that you find new or interesting?

I know you said that you're not trying to define art but I had to ask.

Lewd Bob said...

Yeah, I said I wouldn't and then I did.

Anyway, we're talking about it 40 years later so maybe longevity is one of art's greatest attributes.

Not that 40 years is very long in the context of great art.

Perseus said...

I have a more liberal definition of art that's easy to understand. Art is singing and dancing and painting and writing and stuff.

Britney's art. So is NCIS. So is ancinet rock carvings.

We all know what art is.

I just think some do it better than others, and some, such as The beatles, heralded in a new concept of what art can be.

I for one think what's groundbreaking about The Beatles is the first four albums. Listen to them on headphones some time. On the rockier numbers, they are bashing the crap out of their instruments - a precursor to hard rock / punk. They took Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis one step further. Cut forward only 2 or 3 years and suddenly Velvet Underground, Stooges and The Doors are adding the whole 'high art' thing to the 'basic art' thing, chuck in and voila... new genres are opening up like no tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

I just think some do it better than others

Initially, I was trying to say that while I'm capable of telling you if I enjoyed something or not, I have no idea how to judge whether art is good or bad beyond that point. So I don't see any way to differentiate art from entertainment. You made a point about certain bands being historically or culturally significant. Is that a defining factor?

Art is singing and dancing and painting and writing and stuff.

Does that definition include people who hang flags off things or people who shit in jars and put them on display? What about pornography?

Lewd Bob said...

I can do all those things (singing and dancing and painting and writing and stuff), badly, and it ain't art.

Melba said...

Shit it stinks in here. All this testerostonica is full-on.

Let me know when there's a post about hair, ponies, sex or makeup.

I'll come back then.

PS I have the Beatles box set of albums. Yup, got it for my 18th birthday.

homesick said...

I agree with you on most of it Pers but then again you're the resident muso so far be it for me to question your musical choices.

I am 42 BMX boy, and I still don't get the "genius" that was The Beatles. Was it just simply because they came out with someting very different to what was around at the time that made people say "WOW"?

Flame me if you must but give me Rolling Stones over the fab four any day*

McCartney.. so overrated then and now, and as for Wings... nope enough said.

*Mind you I love alot of Harrison's solo stuff (Sweet Lord, What is Life) much more than any of the Beatles stuff