Tuesday, August 01, 2006

What's your Favorite Beatles song?

People often ask me, "Hey, you're such a Beatles fan...what's your favorite song?" And I usually have no answer for them. To me it's always been more about the albums and not the individual songs. I'm an album guy. Which is probably why I'm not into the whole IPod thing. It's like a throw-back to the days of singles where the goal was to be short, catchy and simple.

Albums are much more satisfying than any individual song. I do love singles, and I have been known to put on five CDs and hit "random". But compared to listening to an entire well-crafted album...well, it's a bit like comparing an episode of "Star Trek" to "2001: A Space Odyssey". Both are enjoyable, but one is like an hors d'oeuvre and the other a full course meal.

But to answer the question, what is my favorite Beatles song, I'd have to say that today, at this moment, it would be "Strawberry Fields Forever". This haunting number gets more interesting over the years. The lyrics are complex and thought provoking and Lennon's ability to put a crazy psychedelic frame around a picture of lost childhood innocence is brilliant. Compare it to Paul's attempt to write the same type of tune, "Penny Lane", and you can see what a great work "Strawberry" is. Because "Penny Lane" is brilliant in it's own way and I love it. But it's nowhere close to the beauty and sophistication of Lennon's number.

And a quick nod to "Help!" as my other current favorite. This tune was really overlooked as the theme song to their second film. But the vocals and harmonies are top-notch, the dynamics of the arrangement are exciting, and the lyrics, while certainly about Lennon and his failure to cope with his immense success, also speak to regular folks trying to deal with their grown-up lives in a confusing, contradictory world: The more we have, the more "help" we need.

It's a mini-masterpiece disguised as a pop movie theme song. Bravo, old friend. Wherever you are.


Blogger -Keller said...

This is the kind of question that has a different answer every day. But, the answer today is: "You Can't Do That."

It has a great beat and it's one of those love songs with attitude, with John warning her, "Now please listen to me if you want to stay mine..." But it's a warning based in John's own feelings of inadequacy; he can't take the public humiliation of her wandering eyes, "Everybody's green, 'cause I'm the one who won your love. But if they see you talking that way, they'll laugh in my face."

It's the kind of song you never would get from Paul; it gives away too much about the man who wrote it.

12:57 PM  

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