Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Beatles Top 100 Songs: 40-31



40. "Helter Skelter" The White Album (1968)
McCartney's response to critics who said he could only write ballads is the heaviest and loudest song in the Beatles' catalog. Throwing aside all the stupid Manson misinterpretations and connotations that have been placed externally upon the song, this is a very good harder rock song from a band that didn't produce anything else like it. Also, for those who aren't big Beatles fans but are following along, you earn points if you listen to the end when you can hear Ringo yells out, "I've got blisters on me fingers". 

39. "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
A Lennon gem that perfectly captures a carnival/circus atmosphere, while retaining its ability to be an entertaining and singable song. I especially love the protracted instrumental period that literally feels like your on a musical trapeze. It's one of the Beatles quirkier songs that wasn't some kind of drug ode or nod and wink, so it earns extra points for that.

38. "From Me to You" (1963)
This song is the third-best mail themed song on the list (the others come in at #4 and #22) and the best since Elvis' "Return to Sender". One of their very early pop hits, it's a very infectious and fun ditty (it only runs 2 minutes) that features Lennon on the harmonica. Not much more to say about it I should think...

37. "Come Together" Abbey Road (1969)
This song is perhaps the perfect mix of the lyrical nonsense and musical genious tension I mentioned earlier in songs written by Lennon. The meaning of the lyrics in this song could either be slyly insightful about himself, his band members, or they might be complete nonsense. Alongside of those lyrics is an incredibly original sound and song. It all works together to create a whole that oddly works very well to me. It's got enough plausibility to be about his fellow band mates that I enjoy hearing the song in that vein. It does make me think that while recording did the other guys catch on? "Hey John, you writin' 'bout us mate?"

36. "Lady Madonna" (1968)
I like this piano driven rock song (which I don't think is usual for the Beatles) that recounts the tale of a woman who is tired from working hard every day. It has a bluesy feel, sounds great, and can be listened to over and over again. 

35. "Here Comes the Sun" Abbey Road (1969)
In the last two years of the band, George Harrison began writing many of the best songs they were putting out. This is beautiful song that wonderfully evokes the feeling of a lovely spring day coming up and driving out everything dark and dreary before it. This is a song that always brings a good feeling when you hear the first few notes.

34. "Let It Be" Let It Be (1970)
I prefer this 'inspirational' song to McCartney's "Hey Jude".  It's incredibly memorable and moving. Sometimes I feel the "Let it Be" wisdom works in a "Don't worry yourself so much" kind of calming way, but if a passive worldview it be, then it kind of rubs me slightly wrong. Overall though, a great song.

33. "I'm Only Sleeping" Revolver (1966)
Has anyone every captured laziness in a song like Lennon has done with "I'm So Tired" and now "I'm Only Sleeping". That it's wrapped up in this great song is just extra for us. Love the bass, the reverse tapes, and the fact that the both of us are lazy people at heart. 

32. "When I'm Sixty-Four" Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
Ahhhh, how fun is this song? Written incredibly early in McCartney's life and not recorded until much later, this song has always stuck with me. It's musically memorable, but it's also incredibly singable and quotable as well. Love that something this playful and simple was put on a serious Rock & Roll record like Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

31. "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band/With a Little Help from My Friends" Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
I'm not sure how common it is to combine these two songs, but because they basically merge together and finish out a complete idea, I have always thought of them together in my head (besides, I think Rock Band combines them as well). It's fun, creative, a great Karaoke song and it deserves to be on this list.
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