Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Chase Spins More of the Beatles

As promised,or threatened (depending on your perspective), I, Chase McInerney, humbly offers my top 10 Beatles songs:

1. "In My Life" - I want this song played at my funeral. A wise-beyond-its-years song that John Lennon wrote when he was, what, 24 or 25? Amazing. Lennon was such a consistently honest writer, even his most seemingly innocuous lyrics ("There are places I remember all my life / Though some have changed") pulsate with meaning. And the song's concluding swan-song to love gets me every time.

2. "Across the Universe" - Lennon's haunting existentialist lullaby is a happy accident of production, its very roughness augmenting the song's strange feeling of peace. It is some sort of musical genius who can turn the phrase "Nothing's gonna change my world" into something approaching an epiphany.

3. "Come Together" - I've got to defer to Turtle's dead-on description for this one greasy great.

4. "Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey" - Bare-knuckled, blues-drenched, nonsensical rock 'n' roll courtesy Lennon (hmm, I didn't realize my preference for John's compositions until writing this). And it even has more cowbell!

5. "Your Mother Should Know" - I know this is a Paul McCartney-penned trifle, frothy orchestrated pop that doesn't mean anything and is a harbinger of the songwriter's worst impulses to come, but I don't care. This is a great pop song that is as timeless as the music it celebrates.

6. "All My Loving" - Irresistibly simple jangle pop. With its playful rockabilly hook and bittersweet lyrics, this McCartney love song practically calls out for a background chorus of screaming Beatlemania groupies.

7. "Lovely Rita" - From the opening "aaahhh ahhhs" of abandon that sound as if McCartney is spiraling down the rabbit hole, this sonic confection hooks you and doesn't let go until it wraps up all its engaging silliness about a hot-to-trot meter maid. And isn't the alliteration of "sitting on a sofa with a sister or two" just fun to say?

8. "Eleanor Rigby" - Under George Martin's meticulous production, the song's relentless strings and elegiac harmonies paint a landscape of loneliness and isolation. Apparently McCartney had his depressive side, too (bad acid, perhaps?). No wonder he died for a while.

9. "She's Leaving Home" - Maybe they could've toned down the harp a bit, but generally its lush orchestration works in this McCartney sudser about a teenaged girl running away from home. The tune spurred some grousing at the time from rock purists -- after all, the song sure ain't rock -- but I don't know who could deny the song's ethereal beauty.

10. "Here Comes the Sun" - When I was young, I thought this George Harrison composition was just too sappy, but it's grown on me considerably over the years. A deceptively simple track buoyed by Harrison's strumming guitarlines, the song actually sounds like daybreak.

And now you know. Now I can't wait to get around to listing my favorite songs by the Cowsills.

I'm kidding, incidentally. That's an oldies joke.


At 9:22 AM, Blogger Conrad Spencer said...

Paring the list down to ten makes this one of the most challenging questions posed on CTTC. Here’s my list as it is today, but I think some of these selections might change if the question is asked in six months or a year.

For as many great, great Beatles songs as there are, there is some consensus on a few. I put "A Day in the Life" and "Across the Universe" on my list, though I’ll add further existential melancholy with George Harrison’s "While My Guitar Gently Weeps."

"Oh! Darling"—Few other songs, by the Beatles or otherwise, make me wish so much that I could carry a tune. This bluesy soliloquy longs to be belted out in smoky bars at 3:00 a.m., when everyone is too drunk and tired to keep up pretenses and we admit that we’re all really lonely creatures desperate to be loved.

Despite the best efforts of Charles Manson and Motley Crue to ruin it, "Helter Skelter" is still a really, really cool song, as is "I am the Walrus."

I’ve got to agree with Chase and add "All My Loving." Even when the Beatles did conventional pop, they stood out for doing it so much better than everyone else. And while we’re on Paul’s silly love songs, the French ballad "Michelle" is another classic.

Sex, violence, revenge, Bible Belt-style redemption, and an out-of-tune piano, "Rocky Raccoon" has something for everyone.

"Help!" is one of the greatest pop songs of the century. Just try listening to it without smiling, or singing along.

At 10:36 AM, Anonymous Three desks down said...

I'm passing on the list, but you've started the jukebox in my head:
Was it really that long ago?

At 2:08 PM, Blogger MDC said...

Too much fun to resist playing along. Not necessarily a top ten list, or revisions to yours, but...
-I would replace "All My Loving" with "I Want to Hold your Hand" or "She Loves You (yeah yeah yeah)" as my "Early Conventional Pop Choice"
-"Happiness is a Warm Gun" tops my list
-The one-two punch of "Mean Mr. Mustard" and "Polythene Pam" are the unheralded greats of the strung together sequence on Abbey Road
-"Taxman" has two great guitar solos
-A toss up between "Blackbird" and "Mother Nature's Son"

At 1:35 PM, Blogger Robert Rouse said...

A friend alerted me to your list, so I had to take a look. Great job. You inspired me to do the same on my blog. Drop in and let me know what you think.

Left of Centrist

At 2:39 PM, Blogger Robert Rouse said...


Thanks for the link. I've returned the favor.

At 3:35 PM, Blogger cakreiz said...

"All My Loving" is a great song... but it reminds me of a greater one-"Do You Want to Know a Secret?"

My brother used to sing "Rocky Racoon" to his toddler son to get him to sleep. I always thought that was cool.

"A Day in the Life" is the best- love the overwhelming crescendo at the end- but also Paul's sweet middle ("woke up, fell outta bed..").


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