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Old 10-12-2008, 03:01 PM   #4 (permalink)
Davey Moore
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The White Album, Part I




After The Beatles came back from their retreat to India, they all felt refreshed and were in a big period of creativity. With The White Album you sort of see a return to basics in some areas, there are a lot more straight up rock songs on this album than their post-Revolver peers(with the possible exception of Let It Be). This is also The Beatles first and only double album. On top of that, it's also one of the most iconic album covers of all time. This album really is the beginning of the end for the band. In this period of time, Yoko and John were a pair. That caused tension in the band. George started to make leaps and bounds in his songwriting, although John and Paul were still treating him like a little brother. Ringo was so unhappy he quit the band for a short period, and acutally, on the first song, Paul plays the drums. Paul gets tired of John's sort of withdrawal into himself and his isolation from the band. John is unhappy with Paul, and is intimidated, because he perceives Paul as trying to take control of the band. While everything was falling apart, they still managed to make a legendary album.

Back In The USSR is a weird thing for me. I see it a pretty good song, but nothing too great. Others see differently, there are people who I know in which this is their favorite song on the album. To each his own.Dear Prudence was written in India, about Mia Farrow's reclusive sister, Prudence. Prudence would spend hours upon hours in isolation, depply meditating. John and Paul would visit her and try and keep her entertained. They would try and make her laugh, try and get any emotion out of her, almost like a tourist does in London to those palace guards who are trained to stand perfectly still. This is a John song, and I find it to be beautiful.

In Glass Onion, John gets self referential on our asses. In this song, he basically talks about all the other songs the band has done. It's a cool sounding sort of song, and references a lot of their hits. It's a rough sounding song. The whole album has a rough sort of tone to it. The next song has given me a pretty good mantra in life. I really like the song Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da. I think it's one of the best songs on the album and is up there in contention for possibly the best Beatles chorus. It's packed full of joy, energy and just a sort of free sounding spirit. Life goes on, brah.

People give Wild Honey Pie crap for being short, stupid and formless but I give credit to the guys for having the balls to include something like this on the album. It was basically Paul improving while the rest of the guys were on vacation in Greece. It was going to be cut, but Pattie Boyd liked it so they kept it. The Continuing Story Of Bugalow Bill is quite a weird song, and is signature Lennon. It's basically about this hunter that they met in India. It's the only song by The Beatles where there is a line solely performed by a female vocalist, who is Yoko Ono. Ringo's wife is singing in the background and is the other female voice in the song. It's really good, and is close to great, but there's some thing about it that keeps it from being great. Maybe it just depends on mood.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps is Harrison's crowning acheivement of the album. Lyrics are taken from the Tibetan Book of The Dead. It's quite a wise song, and has a solo by Eric Clapton. George was frusturated because John and Paul didn't put much effort into a song that he thought was really great. So he invited Eric to play on it, thinking that since an outsider was invited in, it would help break tensions and everyone wouldn't get as mad at each other. It worked. It's such a great song. The next song is Happiness Is A Warm Gun, which is one of my favorites by John. The rhythm and the structure of the song are such a radical departure from anything The Beatles did previously. Infact, it's sort of hard to believe that this is the same band that wrote Love Me Do and shook their heads and made all the girls scream. Notice the backing vocals, they are pretty great. I love this song.

I have a feeling that people like to overlook Martha My Dear, but as I listen to it, I don't see why. I think this is a really cool song, and it really is totally up Paul's alley. I like the use of horns. Paul is great at these types of melodies. I like how instruments are gradually introduced throughout the song. The next song is another Lennon classic, I'm So Tired, I personally love this song. As I write this, I sympathize with the song, because I am pretty tired right now. It's sort of schizophrenic in nautre, it gets really low key, then it gets manic. Lennon is pretty angry in this song.

Blackbird is a simple inspirational song, an ode to all those who are repressed and yearn to spread their wings in freedom. Originally, it had to do with the civil rights movements and such, and was named Black Girl, but Paul decided to change the name to make it more of a universal song that can give hope to all. Paul is really good at those sorts of inspiring songs. Nobody really writes them like him. I like the lo-fi quality to this song, how the only sound effects on this song, in an album laden with sound effects, is the soft twittering of birds.

The next song, Piggies is a weird little song by George that, unfortunately, is tainted by history. It was one of the songs that Charlie Manson interpreted as The Beatles prophesizing the downfall of America. When Sharon Tate and others were murdered, they were stabbed with forks and knives, similar to this song. Other than that brutal history, this siong is sort of nice. The instrumental parts are really nice I think.

I sort of see Rocky Raccoon as a parody of country songs. That's how it starts anyway. But there are some parts where the lyrics are actually quite good. I think the whole line "His rival it seems, had broken his dreams, by stealing the girl of his fancy. Her name was McGill, and she called herself Lill, but everyone knew her as Nancy." Even though I have no basis for this, I somehow imagine Paul sitting there for about a half-hour trying to think of a rhyme to get himself out of the hole he put himself in. Finally he must have been like, "and everyone knew her as Nancy!" Don't Pas Me By is ironically one of the few Ringo songs I like, mainly because it has a good beat. I find it funny that his others had a lame beat to them. Also I like the instrumental parts in this song.

Paul's greatest vocal performance is in the song Why Don't We Do It In The Road?, and if you doubt me, find it on youtube and tell me that isn't his best performance. In my mind, it's in the top five rock and roll. The next song, I Will is a nice and sensitive song by Paul. I quite like it. It isn't great, but it isn't mediocre. I think the lyrics are really nice. Julia is really quite a touching song. It is John's tribute to his mother, who tragically got struck by a drunk driver when John was fifteen. Had to go to the hospital and identify the body since his Aunt was too shocked to go and do it. That image must have stayed with him his whole life. John's mother is the one that introduced him to music.
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