Sunday, July 08, 2012

The White Album

I just bought a used copy of the new reissue of the Beatles' 1968 White Album. I've never owned or listened to the entire album before. For a while I had a cassette in which I cherry picked the songs I liked on to one side. It's an amazing album, if totally incohesive. It contains some of their most beautiful songs, like "Dear Prudence," "Blackbird," and "Julia." It contains some of their heaviest songs, like "Yer Blues" and "Helter Skelter." It contains some really weird shit, like "Revolution 9" and "Wild Honey Pie." And it contains some of my favorite songs, like "I'm So Tired."

The Beatles were one of the first bands I ever listened to and loved. I remember listening to my mother's copy of Meet the Beatles when I was in first grade. It's amazing how much they changed in their brief lifespan. In seven years they went from the teeny-bop of "Love Me Do" to the psychedelic weirdness of "I Am the Walrus" to the heavy rock of "Get Back." A lot of it was the times: their trajectory followed the trajectory of popular culture, but I'm not sure how much of that was them following the trends or setting them. My only real problem with the Beatles is that I've heard their songs so much I frankly get sick of them. Which is why it's nice to rediscover their later material, which I have not had as much exposure to. Listening to them is like listening to home: comforting, familiar, sweet, and also dysfunctional and a little discordant.

1 comment:

Charlie Wildgoose said...

I know what you mean about The Beatles. I grew up with them without buying all that many of their records [I was more a Bob Dylan fan].

I don't really listen to their songs that often but there is something about them that makes me shiver, a sentimentality linking me with my youth ... and some of those songs are great. One of my favourites is 'Rain' ~ an excellent song.

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