Monday, 3 August 2009

The Beatles

Blimey Charlie, today I listened to The Beatles, or The White album depending on your preference, it is a lengthy expensive album, that in places has moments of greatness and in places has moments of Yoko.
This album is the 30th Anniversary edition, bought by my wife and cost in the region of 30 quid, EMI really did like to squeeze every penny out of Beatles albums and my current wife thoughtfully got it me for my Birthday.
I know from reading too many Beatles book and using my ears that this is a fractured recording, the sound of a band on its uppers, possibly one of the last concerted efforts to get something Beatles on record, some songs didn’t make the cut and appeared on the final Beatles albums proper.
What you get with The Beatles though are 3 musicians trying to make solo records, Lennon in particular is having a stab at his debut solo album and Julia would not have been out of place on Plastic Ono Band, and it is with perhaps one eye on this record that Lennon had whilst putting together his songs.
McCartney is also guilty, his, at times intolerably optimistic songs grate and seem totally at odds with Lennons often spiteful lyrics, on the one hand you have the angry young man and on the other you have the thumbs aloft optimist. Both seem to be in their own world, if not their own studio.
The songs though if you remove the filler, are amongst the best ever recorded by the Beatles, from the sublime Dear Prudence, the rock n rolling Back In The USSR, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Blackbird, I Will, Julia, Don’t Pass Me By, Cry Baby Cry and Helter Skelter, if this album were two sides long this could be amongst the best ever made, and if you believe Rolling Stone magazine, its in the top ten.
But what about the songs that aren’t akin to Helter Skelter or I Will? What about the songs that have more in common with Maxwell’s Silver Hammer, or worse? Well who knows who had the most influence on this album , but there are too many Savoy truffles, too many Obladi bloody dahs and too many Rocky flaming racoons and if there was one of the above then it would be forgivable but it seems George Martin pissing off during recording meant that the voice of reason left the building too, you say you want a revolution? Well yes we do but can we have the fantastic rock n roll track and not Revolution bloody number 9. Stick your Stockhausen up your hausen.
So how do I mark a great album, that is overly long, meandering, selfish, disjointed, drug fuelled and probably seemed like a great idea at the time. 10 for the great songs, 0 for the bad? 7 for the good the bad and the ugly. 7 out of 10.

I Will by The Beatles

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