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The Worst Beatles Songs

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Re: The Worst Beatles Songs

Postby rrnate » Mon Mar 26, 2012 4:34 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:
Kenneth Burns wrote:I've experimented with paring the White Album down to two sides. Seems like it should be obvious what to cut, but no sequence I've come up with seems as strong as the original. Maybe the Beatles knew what they were doing.


Honestly, I would have a tough time getting that record down to only 40 min, which is about how long (or shorter) most albums of that era were. But it's pretty simple to pare it down to sixty (-twoish) min without having to rearrange too much to keep a nice flow, and that isn't overlong for an album (especially in the CD era). Note that you can't just rip and burn the tracks in this order, tho -- because of the interstitials, you'd need to do some editing.

Back In The USSR 2:43
Dear Prudence 3:56
Glass Onion 2:17
The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill 3:14
While My Guitar Gently Weeps 4:45
I'm So Tired 2:03
Blackbird 2:18
Savoy Truffle 2:54
Don't Pass Me By 3:51
Happiness Is A Warm Gun 2:43
31 min.

Revolution 1 4:15
Piggies 2:04
Rocky Racoon 3:33
Yer Blues 4:01
Cry Baby Cry 3:02
Mother Nature's Son 2:48
Sexy Sadie 3:15
Everybody's Got Something To Hide... 2:24
Helter Skelter 4:29
30 min.


I am outraged that "I Will" is not included in your track listing. OUTRAGED!
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Re: The Worst Beatles Songs

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Mon Mar 26, 2012 4:39 pm

rrnate wrote:Yeah - I really like the full White Album. It's obviously too long and has some shit but the way it veers between good/bad vibes is pretty unique IMO.

Oh, I agree. I would argue that was less a conscious aesthetic choice than a "how do we please everybody" compromise, but it works as what it is nonetheless (even more so on vinyl because the side breaks help.) It has flow, but lacks cohesion (and really does grind to a screeching halt during "Revolution 9".)

rrnate wrote:I am outraged that "I Will" is not included in your track listing. OUTRAGED!
Ack! Just an oversight, I swear! (Love that song.) Stick it anywhere you'd like -- it's under 2 min, so it doesn't really affect my argument about the pared down length.
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Re: The Worst Beatles Songs

Postby rrnate » Mon Mar 26, 2012 4:46 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:
rrnate wrote:I am outraged that "I Will" is not included in your track listing. OUTRAGED!
Ack! Just an oversight, I swear! (Love that song.) Stick it anywhere you'd like -- it's under 2 min, so it doesn't really affect my argument about the pared down length.


I think this song gets overlooked far too often. I could make a case for including "Julia" as well, but it does not provoke my often-dormant sense of Beatles-rage like omitting "I Will" does.
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Re: The Worst Beatles Songs

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Mon Mar 26, 2012 4:56 pm

rrnate wrote:I could make a case for including "Julia" as well

Double ack! Of course I would include it.

My argument seems to be breaking down...
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Re: The Worst Beatles Songs

Postby Bwis53 » Mon Mar 26, 2012 5:04 pm

I like Why Don't We Do It In The Road for it's sheer humor. It makes me think of every couple I want to say "Get a room". I listened to Beatles so much when they were hot that I seldom listen to them now.
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Re: The Worst Beatles Songs

Postby meowzamusic » Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:17 pm

This argument/discussion represents a classic example of why I don't understand other people. I really likemost of the Beatles music. When they were good, they were really good and when they were sort of meh, they were still pretty damn good. And in those rare moments where they sucked, it's still at least entertaining. I'm looking at everyone chiming in on all these songs that they think stink or suck or whatever and I think, wow, I really like that song or songs. But this happens again and again in my tastes--there are so many people who really dislike things that I can't imagine anyone not liking. And I've always felt I was a music snob, that I have really narrow tastes and don't seek out new music ever unless it's something 35+ years old that I might have already had exposure to.

But anyway...my picks for bad Beatles are:

Slow Down and Matchbox, both are covers and while they did great with many covers in their career, these two are so lame and limp compared to the originals. I would put Mr Moonlight in this pack, but it's a shining example of so-bad-its-good.

Maxwell Silver Hammer is a no brainer. Somewhere out there is a video of Paul--I think it was on Charlie Rose--reading the lyrics and it's like wow, he's still defending his shitty song.

Is that it? Well, more or less for me. Many of the covers they do on the BBC Sessions are pretty shitty and way beneath what they came up with themselves, but I wouldn't hold that against them. I'd say it's easier to rate the records against each other than the songs themselves. I find Abbey Road has its moments but is sort of bland otherwise. Same for Help--some great songs but really kind of dull stuff, they were obviously pretty burnt out by that point.

Am I nuts? Of the other bands that I consider myself a "superfan" of--The Kinks and The Who for instance--I can rattle off plenty of songs that I think are weak or bad. Most bands have more clunkers than not in their catalog but with the Beatles, I just don't feel like there were many missteps.
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Re: The Worst Beatles Songs

Postby Huckleby » Tue Mar 27, 2012 10:21 am

To my ears, the Beatles stopped making bad songs around 1966. Exception being "Don't Pass Me By" on White album, which was intentionally & aggressively bad. I don't like "The Long and Winding Road", but it was very popular, so it had something going for it.

They had several stinkers early in career, but I won't mention specifically out of respect for the deceased.

I can live without "I Want to Tell You" on Revolver.
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Re: The Worst Beatles Songs

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Tue Mar 27, 2012 11:45 am

meowzamusic wrote:I really likemost of the Beatles music. When they were good, they were really good and when they were sort of meh, they were still pretty damn good.

This is my position, as well, as I said in my OP.
But it's interesting to me to note the missteps of a band that had so few. The songs I chose stood out while doing my weeks-long Beatles Blowout, but the real lesson I took from that jam was that holy shit, The Beatles were some seriously fucking talented musicians. Listening to all 9 CDs-worth of BBC recordings really demonstrates how tight they were as a band, how amazing their (different-from-take-to-take) vocal harmonies are, and how quickly they improved as songwriters (and they were pretty great right out of the gate, "Love Me Do" excepted.) The Beatles became the standard-bearers for good reason: They were better than everyone else.

meowzamusic wrote:Slow Down and Matchbox

See, I like their SSlow Down" -- John's vocal is great and it's just such a shambling mess (especially John's awful guitar solo -- I think this is demonstration enough why Harrison usually played lead.) "Matchbox" is definitely weak, though, and probably should've been on my list. But yeah, neither of those can touch the originals. But yet another example of The Beatles shining is how many of their covers do top the original. The Beatles version of "Roll Over Beethoven" is pretty tame, but their "Rock And Roll Music" beats the hell outta Chuck Berry's original. Their "Slow Down" might not beat out Larry Williams, but their "Bad Boy" sure as shit does. And anyone who can make "You've Really Got A Hold On Me" more magical than Smokey Robinson and The Miracles is really doing something right.

meowzamusic wrote:Most bands have more clunkers than not in their catalog but with the Beatles, I just don't feel like there were many missteps.
Exactly. Out of 275 songs, I came up with just over 20 that I thought were less-than-good. I can't imagine any other band with a similar volume of output even coming close to that number, especially considering there were 3 distinct songwriters who all wrote in a variety of styles.

Huckleby wrote:To my ears, the Beatles stopped making bad songs around 1966.
To my ears, this is exactly backwards. The Beatles didn't start making truly bad music until they removed themselves from the very process that had made them so great in the first place -- non-stop writing and performing. The cracks start to show the less time they spend together as The Beatles, opting instead for the kinds of "solo" works which dominate from "Magical Mystery Tour" on. Once Lennon and McCartney stopped challenging and censoring each other is when most of the real drek was allowed to slip through, IMHO.
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Re: The Worst Beatles Songs

Postby david cohen » Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:32 pm

Don't we all wish we could pen such tripe?;)
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