Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Beatles Top 100 Songs: 50-41



50. "A Day in the Life" Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
Dare I say that this is the most overrated Beatles song ever? It's pleasant enough and it has some of the benefits of a good collage song, but really? Unlike the meaningless and fun collage on Abbey Road and the collage songs like "Happiness is a Warm Gun" that litter The White Album, this one is actually taken as a gem! If I consider this akin to Citizen Kane, one you can technically admire and might even enjoy watching, then I begin to understand, but it still doesn't mean it isn't overrated. Why anyone put this on a playlist to be listened to multiple times is beyond me. That being said, it's still a pleasant and quite important song in the Beatles career, which is why it makes the Top 50, but only barely so. Anyone else feel the same as I do? (And yes, I think the last note is great too)

49. "Nowhere Man" Rubber Soul (1965)
I didn't see the film Yellow Submarine until earlier this year, but I think the film actually enhances this song quite a bit. I had always overlooked the song, but in the context of the film I thought this song actually began to make a lot of sense. Though Lennon can throw meaningless lyrics around with the best of them, he can also sometimes capture some rather odd emotional feelings in the midst of a 3 minute pop song ("I'm Only Sleeping", "I'm So Tired"), like the "blah, I'm nothing, going nowhere" kind of feeling this one captures for me.

48. "Drive My Car" Rubber Soul (1965)
Of the two driving titled songs (one to be named later) in the Beatles catalog, this one had always been my favorite until a few years ago when the other song actually became one of my very favorite Beatles songs. This is a great little rock song.

47. "Act Naturally" Help! (1965)
The first song off of the Help! album to make my list is kind of an unlikely find as it's basically a country and western song. It's the perfect song to take advantage of Ringo's vocals and I enjoy it's relentless forward drive on the drums. It's a song that I could hear someone like Johnny Cash singing and doing very well at since it has that tongue in cheek comic touch to it.

46. "Hey Jude" (1968)
If I haven't offended Beatles fans enough by putting "A Day in the Life" at #50, then I assume you will all stop reading after this little revelation. Truth is, I think "Hey Jude" is perhaps the second most overrated Beatles song of all-time. I like it a lot, but I like many things a lot. I don't love it. In fact, I like/love 45 Beatles songs more than this one. I think the song is kind of unremarkable except for the fun "Na-na-na-naaaaa" parts. Oh yea, I think it's too long as well.

45. "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" Abbey Road (1969)
From one long song to another, but this one I have a more visceral love for. I think this one deserves its length and the length fits the whole theme and musical drive of the song extremely well. It's a great song to drive to by the way, you should try it. It's fun to basically try and sing the words, "I want you, I want you so bad" in every different way possible. I love the guitar here as well, its' heaviness mirroring the "heaviness" of love Lennon is feeling. Another great example of Lennon capturing a feeling or emotion...just this time in 8 minutes instead of his usual 3.

44. "Two of Us" Let It Be (1969)
This is another song that I love listening to in the car ("We're on our way, we're going home") with the windows down. It's an extremely easy listen and the acoustic guitars compliment the theme extremely well. Not exactly a ballad, but it's still a great ode to a love despite it's moderate tempo.

43. "Get Back" Let It Be (1969)
Initially I didn't really like this song, but it has certainly grown on me over the years. A lot of instruments get a chance to shine here; Ringo's drums and whoever is playing the guitar hook and piano solo is fantastic. A rare upbeat and driving rock song from the Beatles later years. If I played an instrument, I can imagine that this would be a good 'jamming out' song. I'll just have to imagine that though.

42. "Hello, Goodbye" (1967)
Normally I'm not big on the whole meaningless lyrics thing and this song certainly qualifies (read the genesis of the song in the wikipedia link), but somehow the meaninless lyrics actually work together to create a kind of yin-yang in this song. It works along with the fun musical accompaniment to create a kind of playful back and forth of opposites, Hello-Goodbye, Yes-No, etc. There's also a nice little breakdown at the end of the song that adds the perfect ending to a fun song.

41. "Rocky Raccoon" The White Album (1968)
Okay Beatles fans, please stop screaming, I know that you can't believe I would put this song in front of "Hey Jude" and "A Day in the Life", but hear me out first. I like this song more. Not enough for you? You want something academic sounding? Well.....I don't really have it for you, but all I can say is that I love the folk storytelling in the song, the saloon like piano solo, and the tongue in cheek story. I've heard it a million times and still enjoy following the story and song, something I can't say for "Hey Jude" and "A Day in the Life". On another note, I can't go into a hotel room without looking for a Gideon's bible and thinking of this song...and thanks to Mission Impossible I look for a "Gideons of the Drake Hotel" stamp.


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