Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Top 5 Beatles Songs

An epic list to end all lists--this is what this blog was made for. We are through the looking glass here, people.

Ryan's Top 5:

1. "A Day in the Life" - Sgt. Pepper - I'm not convinced this is my personal favorite (though it very well could be), but this song really is The Beatles at their absolute best. Revolutionary pop rock sounds and the utter cohesion of Lennon (esoteric lyrics--"He blew his mind out in a car..." I don't care if it's taken from a newspaper, it's still creepy sounding) and McCartney (simpler pop lyrics--"I woke up, fell out of bed, dragged a comb across my head..."). They were masters of the crescendo, and this song has not one, but two, count 'em, two.

2. "Dear Prudence" - The Beatles (The White Album) - Speaking of crescendos... A great song with some rather simple lyrics--just trying to get someone to come out and play. Ruined in a totally useless scene in the movie "Across the Universe."

3. "Happiness is a Warm Gun" - The Beatles (The White Album) - Like I've said before about this song, I'm a sucker for irony. You've got to love the title; it sounds like a Kilgore Trout short story. And the doo-wop background singers (Bang bang, shoot shoot!)... I could go on, but it would just be rambling. I really, really like this song.

4. "Here Comes the Sun" - Abbey Road - I think Eric Idle said it best. I remember seeing him on VH-1 on one of the myriad documentaries about The Beatles (I forget which); he named this song as his favorite song. I can't find the quote online, but his point was that, if we could all hear this song every morning when we woke up, the world would be a much happier place. I concur.

5. "Across the Universe" - Let it Be - Another feel-good song, so 4 almost cancels out 5 (probably in favor of "I Am The Walrus"). But so what? This is what The Beatles excelled at. So feh, non-existent complainers of my wacky self-imposed ranking rules! Feh!

Honorable Mentions: "I Am The Walrus," "Strawberry Fields Forever," "Penny Lane," "All You Need Is Love," "Revolution," "Let It Be," "Eleanor Rigby," "Helter Skelter," and OK, "Hey Jude."

Dan's Top 5:

I agree that this is an epic list, but I certainly hope it's not the "list to end all lists." Let's just say we're blowing the lid off this mug. I've also noticed that your list comprises only later Beatles songs. Interesting strategy.

1. "Dear Prudence" from The Beatles - I'm not entirely sure why I like this song. Actually, that's a lie. I like the song for the cyclical guitar riff. I mean, there are other things to like about the song, such as the childlike simplicity and the lyrics. Yet, all that's needed to gain my affection is a musical hook that repeats endlessly. Perhaps that's why I was so late to join the Beatles camp - it's not what they're known for.

2. "Hey Jude" (released as a single) - Many in music critic-dom will claim that this is one of the best rock songs ever written, or it may even top their lists at #1. Given that this song has so much love from everyone else in the world, I (a) don't feel the need to put it at #1, as my list likely won't mean shit to anyone, and (b) do need to include it, as its omission would be an affront to the Beatles.

3. "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" from Rubber Soul - Okay, so for my criticism of Ryan's list not featuring any earlier songs, this is the only early song that my list has to show for it. It's hard to decide between this song and "In My Life," though I prefer this song for its imagery. "In My Life" is a bit too introspective to include here.

4. "I Am The Walrus" from Magical Mystery Tour - If #3 suggested that I like imagery, this seals the deal. Essentially a massive drug trip for those of us who haven't been fortunate enough to take LSD, this is the Finnegan's Wake of Beatles songs. What I do love is the chord structure behind Lennon's ramblings, as the beginning and the end of the chord progression mesh perfectly. It's a neverending circular song that could theoretically have go on forever. Just listen to the repetitive ending and you'll hear that there's no resolution.

5. "Happiness is a Warm Gun" from The Beatles - What I love about this song is the use of multiple parts. (I'm also a sucker for Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" and Radiohead's "Paranoid Android.") The only reason it ranks so low on the list is because it's been tainted by the film Bowling for Columbine. It was a good movie, but it's like seeing songs by The Who being used as the openings to episodes of CSI: Whatever-City-We're-In. Some songs are just holy and should never be touched. This is such a song.

Honorable Mention: Just about every other song I've heard, but particularly "Across the Universe," "Revolution," "Yesterday," "Blackbird," "In My Life," and a ton of others that I can't remember off the top of my head and would likely exhaust my fingers trying to type out.

Tory's Top 5:

OK. This list is going to be difficult, but I will do it because I have an awesome list that I hope everyone can relate to. Now, even though this list will be hard, I really mean numbers 2-5 are going to be difficult to place...

1. Rocky Raccoon from The Rocky Raccoon Single - I only assume that is the album it's from. It might also be on the White Album, but I'm pretty sure that was the hit single from said album.

2. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da The White Album - There aren't too many songs at all (whether by the beatles or not) that make you feel like nothing is wrong at all in the world, even when a lot of things have gone to shit.

3. Yesterday Help - This was one of my favorite songs of all time for a really long time. I still like it a lot though, and it's brilliant because it's really only about 4-8 lines sung over the course of 2 and half minutes. But it still holds an incredible sense of depth.

4. I've Just Seen A Face Help - I never heard this song until that travesty Across the Universe was made, but the introduction of this song is enough to allow that pretentious piece of shit exist (unless there was some other way for me to be introduced to this song, in which case, let that film fuck itself.) Either way, I'm realizing that Help was a pretty good alubm with these past two entries.

5. Girl Rubber Soul - I'm a big fan of really depressing songs, and this has got to be in that top 5 for beatles songs too. It's also got some unbelievable unobstruced vocals to start the song off.

Honorable Mentions: Happiness Is A Warm Gun, Let It Be, Norwegian Wood (I suppose Rubber Soul was pretty good too,) While My Guitar Gently Weeps.


Whitters said...

I do believe that with this list you officially win at life (or at least at being a Beatles fan). I grew up on the Beatles, and these were my favorite songs of theirs (with the exception of "Happiness is a Warm Gun" being replaced by "Eleanor Rigby").

Jon Spell said...

I'm in the middle of listening to all the old Beatles albums all the way through. There certainly are a lot of musical styles to love. My own list would probably look more like this:

1. Got to get you into my life
2. Eleanor Rigby
3. While my guitar gently weeps
4. Day in the life
5. All my loving

I've already flagged 43 songs that need to be added to my Favorites list if they aren't already there.

Ryan said...

RE: Hey Jude... I think I've just heard it too many times. Certainly one of their best, but so is Yesterday, In My Life, Let It Be, etc. These are songs I've heard about a jillion times.

Whitters said...

@Ryan: I totally agree. While Hey Jude is arguably one of the Beatles most popular songs, it unfortunately has (as many great songs have) been overdone. At least for me, the more I hear them, the less I WANT to hear them.

@Jon RE: All My Loving: I completely forgot about this song! But now I do believe I must get it from somewhere. I can remember my aunt singing this song to me when I was younger. That, and "Baby's in Black"