Monday, June 04, 2007

I got blisters on my fingers!

I discovered The Beatles when I should have been discovering Cyndi Lauper. Shall we say - it was all due to a Christmas present gone wrong, the lines of communication crossed and frayed in the midst of language and cultural barriers. While playing this critically canned and beaten up old Beatles compilation tape (Rock n Roll Music Vol II) that I'd gotten as a present when I'd explicitly asked for Cyndi Lauper I went from loathe to love over the course of a few months.

It is singlehandedly the most played album I've ever owned. I'm talking by hundreds of listens - not tens. God knows I've been listening and learning since I was 7. That's 22 years of The Beatles (am not retarded, no). No, I was not one of those children that grew up listening to The Beatles because their parents exhausted Rubber Soul one too many times on the old record player. I was not one of those kids who knew of The Beatles because they read too many music magazines praising the genius of Sgt Pepper either. It was simply an accident they ever landed in my lap but a happy one. And no, just in case you're wondering I'm not one of those fans that think that The Beatles are "Gods" and simply put, I don't think they're overrated either.

I don't really understand how they could be considered so anyway. They were certainly no one hit wonders and it's not like people don't STILL cite them as an influence. Are they overrated because their music is catchy? Is it because they are commercial? How dumb the whole argument is. I can understand how people don't love them, or even like them from a musical standpoint but to say they are overrated? No.

I visited an old music internet haunt a while ago. I was interested to see what these people were still talking about. Were they still pretentious? Were they idiots? Were they...gone? I came across a thread where they discussed 'the most overrated musical acts'. U2, Tool, Led Zepp, The Beatles, Rolling Stones all rated a mention and then someone came up with a doozy so amazing I almost choaked from laughing. Mozart. Yes, Wolfgang Amadeus "I wrote symphonies when I was a kid" Mozart is apparently overrated. For Fucks Sake! After I finished laughing I wanted to kick his arse. The point is: a statement of something being overrated says a lot about the person saying it rather than the musical act itself. ..and so finishes my rant on so-called overrated music.

Anyway, I forgot about them in my mid teens. The tape remained buried under an old jumbled collection of other forgotten bits and pieces that didn't belong anywhere else in my life except the miscellaneous pile. The Beatles, I suppose didn't really fit too neatly into the life of someone worried more about their teen angsty 'got any blacker' situation. I rediscovered the tape again eventually though - coming across it by accident while spring cleaning. I thought about tossing it out but couldn't. I sat and listened to it instead. One last listen - and discovered the songs all over again. Taxman, not just a bouncy tune anymore, but instead slightly disgruntled, raw and edgy. Helter Skelter, almost frightening in its frenzy, Revolution; poignant and relevant still and Get Back amusing and soulful. Where once the music was simplistic and uncomplicated, I discovered layers of cultural and musical intricacies. The only explanation I can give for missing them before was that I'd finally grown up. Experience gives you a point of reference I guess.

The most flattering thing I can say about The Beatles is not that they are 'the best band ever' (or any other kind of hyperbole that surrounds them) but instead a compliment that I can only subscribe to one or two other childhood favourites and that is: I'm still a fan. After all these years, I'm still a fan and I still have weeks where I will listen to nothing but The Beatles and to boot I am still discovering new things about them to like.

I'm going to go ahead and put the first four songs that I really fell in love with as a 7 year old by The Beatles. In no particular order.



Get Back

Helter Skelter

(looking at those four - hm no wonder I am a bit funny in the head).

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