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The Beatles – Beatles for Sale

23 05 2010

Listened: Friday May 21

Beatles For Sale is the last Beatles album I acquired in my Beatlemania phase. Probably because it’s the least famous as a whole and has no famous ‘Beatles’ song on it (Eight Days a Week being only a minor song in the pantheon).

I always forget how much fun it is to play.

I also always forget on the early albums which of the lesser known songs are Lennon/McCartney and which were written by Lieber/Stoller, Little Richard or the like. I’m repeatedly shocked when I realize which songs the Beatles wrote that I was sure were written by more experienced songwriters. I could have sworn No Reply, Baby’s in Black, and Every Little Thing were written by the “big guys”. Lennon and McCartney were excellent style mimics as well as lyric writers.

This album is drenched in handclaps, which somehow really works and increases the energetic qualities and old school feel of it. I’ve got to remember to play this album a lot more when I need some “buckle down, sing to yourself, and crank” music.

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The Beatles – The Beatles aka the ‘White Album’

23 05 2010

Listened: Friday May 21

It’s amazing to me – ignoring close reading of lyrics for a minute – how much the White Album is like a children’s record.

Piggies, Bungalow Bill, Ob-la-di, Blackbird, Birthday, Me and My Monkey, Good Night – all could easily be played for children. Plenty of other things on this album are not, though. Helter Skelter is sonically frightening/challenging. Happiness is a Warm Gun is not explicitly sexual, but definitely has overtones and even if it wasn’t about sex, singing about how great a gun is is less than desirable. And Revolution 9, let’s not even go there. But what can I say about the White Album that hasn’t already been said? It competes with Sgt Pepper for most studied Beatles album.

I’m glad I was very versed in the Beatles’ other albums before hearing this one. It was my first Beatles album I owned on CD (and not taped from the library’s copy – the only one they had was on vinyl and I wasn’t set up to tape that). I have to admit that I’ve always disliked both Back in the USSR and Birthday. Imitating the Beach Boys (who I am not a big fan of) did not strike me as interesting when taken out of chronological context, and Birthday I just found silly. Though actually upon reflection it’s a pretty brilliantly simple song. It should be noted that I used to be a lot more anti-Paul and staunchly pro-John than I am now, so that might have something to do with it.