I Do Not Like The Beatles.

I don’t like The Beatles.  There, I said it.  It felt good to get that out there.

I never have, ever since middle school.  Something about it just didn’t sit right with me. I tried to pretend at times, in the Napster/Limewire heyday downloading select songs, and listening for a bit, but the charm just wore off.

Yes, they wrote beautifully crafted songs.  Perfect melodies.  Groundbreaking arrangements.  But so fucking what?  To me, most of it seems to come from a self satisfied point of view, with an uptight feel, lacking any real darkness or mystery.  Rock music is about the mystery, the unknown, ghosts and shit.  It all came from blues…that’s all blues was! Pain and ghosts. It just may be the whitest music of all time.

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You could make the point that The Beatles were just a pop group writing pop songs for the masses, but some people don’t seem comfortable with that.

This leads us to the Stones Vs Beatles question.

The world is not divided into Beatles and Stones people.  It’s divided into Beatles people, and people who enjoy other types of music, and don’t believe in putting a god like figure (or group of figures) at the top of it.  Beatles fans are really not that far off from The Tea Party.  Funny how that works, isn’t it? Lennon is definitely Regan.

If anything, it’s comparable to Mac or PC, in which case the Beatles people are definitely the PC, no getting around that.

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It’s not that I hate every Beatles song.  If it’s on in a bar, I won’t go into a rant (maybe a small one.) It’s just that I would almost always rather listen to something else.  My choice of song to play will not be a Beatles song.  Unless it’s Desmond Decker’s instrumental of “Love Me Do.”  If I want some beautiful orchestral pop, I’ll listen to Harry Nilsson.  If I want a British sounding rock song, I’ll listen to The Who.  And If I want someone heavily influenced by American rhythm and blues music, yes, I’ll listen to The Stones.   For the life of me, I just can’t imagine a time when I think “You know what I need to hear right now?  A Beatles Song!”

Just had to get that out there.  Thank you for listening.

Jealous Guy Revisited

Please forgive my ignorance, but I have no idea who Donny Hathaway is.  I was just looking over this post on Aquarium Drunkard, and came across it.  I respect and admire John Lennon, but I’m not one to proclaim my undying love for him.  I do love the song “Jealous Guy” though.

Covers are tough territory as we all know, there is so much to live up to already.  And on this subject, I was damn near sure The Faces took the cake on that one.  The classic outtake with the band in a full on argument beforehand makes you smile every time.  Its a fantastic groove, even more so than the original.

But all of a sudden, my mind was blown.  It was all over.  In retrospect, who was I to think that any english white guys could out-soul a dude named Donny Hathaway.  I literally heard Rod Stewart, Ronnie Wood, and the ghost of John Lennon, get up, put their coats on, and say “well, nice knowing you, fuckers”

I literally cannot stop listening to it.  That guitar line!!  Holy shit who is playing that!?  The tambourine on the intro has more soul than the collected works of American popular music in the last 40 years.  The piano is slightly out of tune, but it only enhances it.  And it’s LIVE!  I cannot believe this.

Upon closer inspection, its soul legends Willie Weeks on bass, Cody Clayton and Cornell Dupree on guitar, who seem to have played with nearly everyone on the planet.

There’s not much more to say than that. This is the correct way to start a Friday…or Tuesday, or Monday for that matter. Just listen to it.

Fuck You: Music’s Underlying Message

I had a discussion recently about the underlying message in music. What is all music really saying, ya know? I think it boils down to very few subjects. But we’re not going to discuss all of those subjects here, dear reader, oh no. We won’t discuss Lionel Richie and the longevity of the love song, nor will we discuss the triumphant and everlasting message behind Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream.” We’re here to discuss the most important message of all: Fuck You.

Who knows what “good” music is anymore. For someone such as myself who is in love with musical superlatives, I am aware that so much of this is subjective. So let me say, this will apply to “Powerful” music. Music that has an exclamation point. This transcends genre, era, performers, context, all of that. Music that if it came on first thing in the morning, your day would be constantly guarded by an iridescent mountain lion wearing a technicolor dream coat and Cosmo Kramer’s lobster shirt. A great song should be saying “Fuck You” to something.

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For all of the Gweneth Paltrow-izing that it has gone through, Cee Lo Green’s mega summer jam is a fantastic song. Do you remember before it was “officially” released, censored, and overplayed, and there was simply a video scrolling the lyrics in different whimsical fonts against a colored background? That may have been the greatest video I have ever seen. The song is so pure at its foundation. Let me summarize; “You, the dude over here, stole the girl I loved, and for that, you may sincerely go fuck yourself. You ma’am, over there, former object of my affection, who once held the keys to my heart, you’re a gold digga’…may also, on your voting registration, join the Fuck You Recipient Party. In this case, I’ll even include the censored version, because Cee Lo deserves to get paid, and the message remains.

But as we said earlier, the message does not need to be explicitly stated. In writing this, I tried to think of examples of amazing songs that do NOT say “Fuck You” in some way. And let me tell you, web user perusing this here blog, it was not easy! “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head?” That song is just one giant “Fuck You” to everything. Listen to the end of the chorus “Because I’m free….nothin’s worrying me!” Bacharach and David are basically giving the middle finger to everyone and everything in that statement. Politics, social issues, sports teams, they’re not worrying me, so take a fucking number.

Let’s continue on the theme of the not so obvious “Fuck You.” We skip the catalogs of John Lennon, The Rolling Stones, Johnny Cash, Punk Rock as a whole, The genius Harry Nillson…wait, let’s include that one for good measure:

Hall and Oates? “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” might as well have been parenthesized (is that a word?) “I Can’t Go For That (Fuck You)” The Bee-Gees “Stayin Alive”? Check out the lyrics, man! But even if that song were instrumental, you would get the message. Even Beyonce…”If you Like It Then You Shoulda Put A Ring On It….And By The Way Fuck You” was the working title before it was released.

We want our music, regardless of style, to have some conviction. That’s why these temporary Idol pop songs do not move us. (with the exception of “Since You Been Gone”) Its just generic dance floor propaganda. Yes, we can roll up to the club, say something to the DJ, and find some fly members of the opposite sex, but what then? We need some lyrical sparring, something we can get behind. And if we can’t get behind the underlying message of “Fuck You” then really, what hope do we have as a society? None, by blog browsing friend, none.