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Friday, October 21, 2011

So Now What Do You Think About the Beatles? Well, I'll Tell You! Reflections on Seven Years of Beatlemania in Three Weeks

Nothing is real.
Well, that was intense. I've never been the type of person to go through phases. I like to think I'm a pretty well-rounded individual. Listening to almost nothing but one band for three weeks is something I'm completely foreign with. At times I felt like The Beatles were taking me hostage, even though I did this by choice. It probably did make me a little crazy, so in that spirit, here's an interview with me, by me:

With their moppet haircuts, those Beatles look like the Biebers of their day! The words even sound the same, so it must be so! Which Bieber...I mean, Beatle, is your favorite?
Ha. This is something I actually thought about while listening. Since I play all of the basic instruments The Beatles did, I didn't lean any particular direction based on that. The cool thing to do is say that George is your favorite. He seemed the most distant and chill, and he didn't put himself out there as much as the two front guys. Plus, when I was a kid, and my dad had a mustache, I thought they were the same person. It's no doubt that while George only wrote a small percentage of Beatles songs, he wrote some pretty good ones, especially near the end. His playing added a lot of soul to the band, as well, and his guitar solos always elevated the songs. The oddball, or even more leftfield hipster thing to do, would be to say that Ringo is your favorite. Obviously, he is wanting as a singer, and he only wrote two songs for The Beatles, both only decent. Also, his drumming isn't the most technically proficient work ever done. He did bring the perfect feeling to every song, though. He never overplayed, and he rarely underplayed. He was pretty darned good. The lame thing to say if you weren't a teenage girl at the height of Beatlemania is that Paul is your favorite. He wrote the poppier songs, and he has the most traditional appearance. Then again, the guy also wrote some geniunely weird songs, sometimes even more leftfield than John. Afterall, Sgt. Pepper and the Magical Mystery Tour were both his ideas! He was far more creative than he's often given credit for, and some of his songs are the best the band recorded. Then, of course, there's John, who most people like to claim as their favorite. The guy wrote a bunch of great songs, a bunch of weird songs, and he had the attitude most people think of when they think of The Beatles. Then again, without his Yoko dalliances, the band would probably still be together. Also, it seems that he could be kind of childish and petty. Actually, they all seem to have kind of been that way. They were in their early 20's, afterall, and they were certainly no role models. Musically, I don't think I could pick, so I would say that I like them all together, and not really very much on their own. I haven't been able to get into hardly any of their solo stuff (just a little bit of Lennon's), so I think it is obvious to say they were much better together than apart. Lennon kept Paul weird, and Paul kept Lennon grounded. They both assured that only the cream of Harrison's crop would rise to the surface. Ringo was back doing what he did best. Untethered, they just aren't the same. Also, two of them are dead.

Well, you just reviewed TWELVE albums! What Beatles album is your favorite?
I have to say, even though I gave Abbey Road a better score and like that album a whole heck of a lot, I really love Magical Mystery Tour. I don't know why I'm drawn to that one so much, but I think maybe I have a stronger childhood connection to it, and it kind of defines what The Beatles mean to me. It certainly makes me feel the best when I'm done with it.

Not a lot of comments. Did anyone actually read your Beatles reviews?
Shockingly, traffic more than doubled during these reviews. I was really worried interest would be low, but apparently people still google "The Beatles" almost as often as they google "Is Zach Braff a Scientologist" or "What is the difference between dubstep and techno?" They even google it more than "i want 2 c a narked vargina with penes incide," which sadly hasn't led anyone to The Nicsperiment in a while.

So are The Beatles the greatest band of all time?
That question is completely subjective. I reviewed 12 Beatles albums and only gave out one "10." I reviewed nine Appleseed Cast albums and gave three "10's." If I were to tell The Appleseed Cast that I thought they were better than The Beatles, they would probably slap me in the face. Several times, probably.

Now what are you going to do?
Keep reviewing the letter "B." There's a ton of good stuff left, including Beck, Björk, Blindside, Bruce (I'm going in first name, not last name order, because that's how my Zune does it), as well as a bunch of lesser known should be interesting...or it should be something.

You smell nice today. What is that?
Well, I don't generally wear cologne, as no particular scent really sticks to me. I am wearing Brut Stick anti-perspirant/deodorant, which is getting increasingly hard to find. I don't know why. I've been wearing it since I was twelve. It's awesome.

Interesting. Do you find that the things you enjoy are becoming more and more uncommon?
Yes, it is interesting. You know, I'm not sure if they're becoming uncommon any more than they're just becoming harder to find.

Huh. So is it an access issue? At a time where access to information seems almost unlimited?
Yes, you see, me, that's the problem. The good things just don't stand out anymore because they are completely swamped by everything else. Everything is exposed now, naked so to speak, and anyone can have it, it's just a matter of thumbing through the to speak.

So, so to speak, are you still happy?
That's the goal, yes.


Jessica said...

I have a dad who has always been a HUGE Beatles nut (he won't even give me his records yet, although he doesn't have a turntable anymore and I do), so I've heard about them my entire life. Here's the thing: I've ALWAYS based my like or dislike of the Beatles on their personalities and behaviors, not their music, which I suppose is odd. I know my dad is a Lennon fanatic, but I'd have to say (as a person), he's my least favorite.

(I'm so lucky to have a dad who had good taste in music, though, because it's definitely done a lot to shape my musical palate. I wish I had more time these days to find new music and listen to it. I used to be the go-to girl in my group for unusual, but good music. :( )

I'm finding that the things I'm interested are more and more uncommon these days. I find something I like, and then it's discontinued.

Also, IS Zach Braff a scientologist? I've never even thought about who was or wasn't a scientologist before, but now you've piqued my curiosity.

Nicholas said...

It's awesome that our parents passed on good music tastes. The Beatles are probably the poppiest thing mine listened to. Almost every thing else was prog or hard rock. I don't think I realized how fortunate I was until I worked at the library and people my parents' age would donate records: The Beegees, disco, just a bunch of total crap.
Yeah, they always get rid of the awesome stuff so fast. Remember Snapple Rain? The cactus flavored drink you could make a tornado in by twirling it around? Why create something so beautiful, only to destroy it?
I have no idea if Zach Braff is a scientologist, but for some reason, a large portion of the Internet wants to know. Maybe I should google it!

Jessica said...

Yeah, when I got really into harder rock, my mom was wondering why the heck I would listen to that. It took me a few years to realize that my dad pretty much listened to his generation's version of the same thing (sounds similar to your parents, in fact), so I must come by the inclination naturally. (Maybe that explains why heavier stuff is almost a lullaby to me and can put me to sleep easily. ;) )

I could have easily Googled the Braff thing as well, but I didn't (and still haven't). I wonder why so many people are interested in that. I mean, there are a few famous people who have really put themselves out there as scientologists, but I haven't really given it a thought for others. Maybe it's partially because I don't pay much attention to celebrity "religion" these days. Or, well, ever really...

Neal said...

I have a fondness for music from the 50s-70s, much because of my parents' record collection (I also love Bill Cosby's standup comedy for the same reason). I also know Abbey Road and Sgt. Pepper the best out of all the Beatles albums, as that is all they owned of theirs (when asked why, my Dad said they were on the radio all the time, so why buy more? How practical of him).

Not sure who my fave Beatle would be. I got a kick out of Ringo being on Thomas the Train back in the 90s when I was taking care of some kids in the afternoon. That has always suggested something fun about his character. But other that, I can't say much.

But I dunno, I'd probably have to go with Paul for my favorite Beatle. I don't know enough about George to say much about him, though he does have a few songs that I quite like. I also think Lennon was a little full of himself and arrogant. Which is ironic given my liking of U2 and Bono, I suppose, but Bono's earnestness has never led him in the same directions as Lennon (leaving his wife and the band, discounting the wisdom of older generations, etc.). I kind of put Lennon in the same camp as Thoreau, who had never heard any old person say anything worthwhile, or something like that. Such thoughts are somewhat adventuresome, but also dangerously arrogant, to my view.

Paul is a good balance of fun and seriousness, so that's why I'd go with him. :)

A side note on Jessica's love of harder rock. My brother was surprised when he found out she had a Three Day's Grace album. He obviously didn't know her or me that well, as we both like music in that direction as well. Heh.

Nicholas said...

Jess, not even Will Smith? Surely you must wonder if he is a Scientologist? Haha! That seems to be the number two "is he a scientologist" candidate. Who are these people that care about this stuff? I don't get it.
Neal, I remember Bono talking about his mid-life crisis about a decade ago. He recalled talking to an older, wiser person who said it was only natural, but under no circumstances should he leave his wife. I guess respect for elders is a key difference he has from Lennon. It might also explain why the Beatles barely made eight years together while U2 has already lapped 30.
Also, your choice of Paul is acceptable.

Neal said...

Oh, well as long as my choice of Paul was acceptable! :p

Bono is a weird guy. He's over the top in many ways, but then admits that he's over the top as well. Kind of makes me feel like he's at least more self aware than Lennon could be. Not sure what Yoko had on Lennon, but she sure could make his head spin and do... just about anything.

And I kind of like that U2's major crisis where they almost broke up was more about faith and belief (should we be making rock music, or focus on other things) than it was about how some lady came in and goofed things up. I know there was more to the Beatles breakup than that, but it was a big part.

buck09 said...

Hey Nicholas I just checked out your blog for the first time this morning. Scanned through a few of them and stumbled upon the Beatles smeadles blog. I personally am not a fan and never have been. I probably appreciate them more now just from listening to so much music lately but I am a 'hater' for the most part. I guess a hater would be more less to do with their music but more to do with how much praise they get on a daily basis.

I could say I get this from my parents as the previous comments have talked about since neither my mom or dad likes the Beatles and they grew up in the 60's and 70's. But my musical taste kind of takes a mind of its own. My parents are into country western and the classic rock as is most the folks from the small town I grew up in with basically one radio station being country.

Anyways, I have always been more of a Led Zeppelin kind of guy and feel the Beatles have more crappy songs than hits if you look at it from that perspective. The glass is 3/4 empty.... But then again, if I actually sat down and listened to 12 Beatles albums in their entirety maybe my mind would be changed, then again maybe my mind would have a .357 bullet tunnel through it.


Nicholas said...

Bucky! There was definitely a point around the third or fourth one where I was about to put the 12-gauge to use. Thankfully, at least in my opinion, the quality upticked, or at least fell in line more with my tastes.
I think my opinion would be 3/4 full. I kind of like The Beatles.