Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Random Top 10: "The Beatles," Golden Girls Memories & Gay Born Again Christians (aka Life in a Small Town)

Last Friday, I decided to go home for the weekend to see my parents. One of the things they wanted to do was see a Beatles tribute band that was playing in a local small town's annual outdoor concert series.

(Being the Golden Girls obsessive that I am, my mind immediately jumped to the episode where Dorothy gives up her date to Blanche to see a Beatles tribute band and ends up sleeping with "Paul." Ridiculous, I know, but that's how my mind works. And how can you go wrong with a line like "What do you say about a set that started with 'I've Just Gotta Be Me' and ended with 'Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting'?" Genius.)

But I digress. I'm not the biggest Beatles fan and don't exactly believe that they are the greatest thing to ever happen to music like so many others. Don't get me wrong, they have some fan-fucking-tastic songs but I find it idiotic that so many people believe that every song they ever recorded is the BEST SONG EVER. I remember during Beatles Week #2 on Season 7 of Idol Simon Cowell commented that even the Beatles had bad songs in their catalog, some diehard fan responded on a blog (or maybe Entertainment Weekly, I'm not sure) that the Beatles didn't have bad songs, just bad Idol singers butchering them. That is just ridiculous. Of course they have some stinkers; what musician doesn't? Even ABBA, my favorite band ever and one of the most critically ignored artists in music history because they made "silly" pop music, has some songs I usually skip whenever they come on my iTunes. I simply find it annoying when someone tries to claim that the Beatles are the exception.

Anyways, I decided to go since I had nothing else better to do and, like I said, I do enjoy a few of their songs. The main thing that I took away from the night, however, had nothing to do with the music, oddly. During intermission, there was this young guy who was sort of emceeing and working the crowd before the 50/50 raffle. He seemed like a generally jovial guy, but I found it odd that out of nowhere he decided to announce that he was still excited about getting engaged to his girlfriend a couple of weeks ago. My first reaction was, "Well, I hope you're still excited about getting married a couple weeks later." My second reaction was, "Wait, that 'mo?" I thought that this shock was all he had in store for us, but, oh no, he had to go and do it again. He then proceeded to give a shoutout to his church, the Born Again Christians, who promptly responded with a cheer that was possibly louder than the band had been at any point. I, of course, rolled my eyes and muttered "Jesus Christ" under my breath. Only in a small town could you possibly get away with doing that and get an enormous response like that. Egad.

But I digress yet again. Let's get back to the music. Overall, I found the band to be enjoyable and they did sound eerily similar to the original band, but I was annoyed that they didn't play more of my favorites. I know, I'm that vain that I think that the whole concert should have revolved around my tastes and preferences, but I can't exactly help that? I'm sure everyone would have reacted that way. So, since they didn't play many of the Beatles songs I like, I thought I'd list my top 10 for you all. Generous, I know.

10. Yesterday A touch overrated, but you have to admire the fact that they squeeze so much out of a song that's barely two minutes long.
9. Revolution A protest song from the Vietnam Era that still packs a wallop.
8. Something That guitar bit is still magnificent.
7. Strawberry Fields Forever One of the only LSD-inspired songs I like and you have to give it props for inspiring the only sequence in Across the Universe that wasn't a complete disaster.
6. Eleanor Rigby The imagery in this song sounds like something straight out of a Bergman film and, yet, it's still one of their most beloved pop songs. Genius.
5. Can't Buy Me Love My favorite song from the movie A Hard Day's Night. So fun and carefree although I don't care for the message (someone can definitely buy my love)
4. Penny Lane Completely adorable. I'm still miffed that Davie Archuleta didn't choose it during either Beatles Week (I know I should let that go, but I just can't).
3. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da Their overrated early stuff like 'She Loves You' and 'I Want to Hold Your Hand' are beloved for their simplicity, but I find them too simple (as Sophia quips in the episode of the Golden Girls I mentioned earlier, "'Yeah, yeah, yeah'? You call that music?"). There's no denying that 'Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da' is a simple song with it's "La la la la la life goes on" chorus, but I think the simplicity makes it that much better.
2. Let It Be A social message song about peace, love and understanding that doesn't feel preachy or obnoxious.
1. Hey Jude The intro is beautifully done and the breakdown half way through, leading to the the infamous "Na na na na na na na" chant, is freaking epic.

And, as a bonus, here are some of my favorite Beatles covers that are at least as good as the originals, if not better.

The Carpenters 'Ticket to Ride'
By slowing down the tempo of the original, we get to focus on every single crystal-clear note emerging from Karen Carpenter's mouth. I call that a win, don't you?

Bette Midler 'In My Life'
For the Boys may be a complete mess, but the moment when The Divine Miss M starts singing, immediately after telling the soldiers to "shut the fuck up" in a way that only Bette could get away with, is beautiful in it's own subdued way (not exactly a word one associates with the loud and brassy Ms. Midler, hm?)

Jude Law 'Hey Jude'
I can't find a clip of this version with Jude Law from Saturday Night Live in 2004 (you know, the infamous episode where Ashlee Simpson got caught lip-syncing and performed a hoe-down instead) but, trust me, it's a goodie. Jude Law maniacally ripping into "Ju-ju-ju-ju-Judy!" and Tina Fey, Amy Poehler & Maya Rudolph doing the "Na na na" chant in a big circle around him.

Carly Smithson or Kris Allen 'Come Together'
They are both amazing covers but for completely different reasons.

David Cook 'Eleanor Rigby'
His version is the one that made me realize the brilliance of the original. Bravo.

Fiona Apple 'Across the Universe'

I could listen to this over and over again for hours. It's completely soothing and indescribably absorbing.


Emma said...

I can't get enough of Hey Jude. The "Na na na nananana" bit is indeed epic.

My no.1 Beatles song is Rocky Raccoon. It just really speaks to me. I even tried to cover it on YouTube, haha!

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