Saturday, July 28, 2007

Music Stands for Comfort 5.5: The Beatles


There's a notion that the Beatles were the best band ever. This meme exists and works its way into your mind, dulling people's ability to (a) critically assess the Beatles or (b) think of anything as being as good or better than the Beatles. Further, it blinds people to the very real limitations of the Beatles.

What were these limits ? Well lets start: they were four cool, smart, successful men making beautiful pop music in the 60's. Of all these things it is the fact that they were cool is the most limiting issue. Unlike the Beach Boys they never sang about or wrote about what it was like to be painfully uncool, to be crippingly insecure and searching for an answer. 'Cool' if anything, is an easy mastery of ones enviroment, and the Beatles constantly mastered there enviroment. The Beach Boys did not: there was always a bursting, pained quality to there work, a sense that it could all fall apart.

Coolness is terribly limiting: most of the people I know who are doing something with there lives are not very cool: there spazzy, obsessive types. The coolest people I know do almost nothing. Being cool is a difficult and draining performance and it requires one to never fail. But to never fail is to never try.

The Beatles of course did fail eventually, but by that point they were too bloated and too wrapped in the fat of success and not caring to really let it go. There music is too full of sexy situations, of girls who want to go to bed with them and fun drugs to try. Even when it hurts, it hurts in a cosmic groovy kind of way: it was I was mean to my woman, not my woman was mean to me and I stayed because I kinda loved her and I was kinda afraid of her. It is much easier to apologize for bad things you did than to forgive for bad things done to you.

The Beatles lack any sort of visceral terror. They never seemed like they might be alone for there whole lives, never sang as if the song might be able to shield them from a terrible loneliness. This distancing from one of the core fears of being a human means that there best work (which is lots) lacks the component of feeling like everything is at risk, and that everything might be won. The Beatles never sound desperate. Those who love the Beatles excessively are people who want safety.

12 comments:

diddleysquat2002 said...

U obviously have never extensively listened to the beatles ya fool on the hill of course they sounded desperate and they also spoke to desperate people. When they were writing music they focused on the good in their life in times of extreme terror which is a marvel of strength in the human soul. Also they were not always cool are u serious? they were winy even at times they would sing about how ran out of parties because they were too embarrassed and didn’t want to spoil the party. Also they never actually said much of drugs but yea some ambiguous references exist in their songs cause c’mon look at the culture of the sixties but then again people lived in fear at that time it was a time of revolution so its to be expected in any society. and seriously they never talked explicitly about going to bed with any girls not that I could think of.. most songs were basically high school love notes put to pop music and another reason the beatles got so popular is because they had soul. They sung their hearts out it on stage and in the studio the sensitivity they put in their music was recognized by many song writers and that’s why their so revered today... Also u said . It is much easier to apologize for bad things you did than to forgive for bad things done to you. Ummmm thier whole message in post sixties through the seventies was peace and love. accept people for who they are and any wrong or aggression someone shows u throw back love at them... I would actually say that’s a better message than just forgive a person for a wrong its actually showing love in the face of hate. The Beatles lack any sort of visceral terror. And this quote "They never seemed like they might be alone for there whole lives, never sang as if the song might be able to shield them from a terrible loneliness." half of the beatles music at least is wining about how they need someone to love and because they feel worthless and alone in the world without someone... ur a poo head and don’t talk about something unless urn able to do some research or know something more than basic common knowledge about a band... and ur last comment is limiting urself by giving urself a prejudice against die hard beatle' fans. Not all of them are insecure and want safety someone of them just appreciate good music..... dumb

Suzanne said...

I was actually LISTENING TO A SONG WHICH YOU SAID IS NONEXISTENT! listen to 'Run for Your Life' on Rubber Soul

jopageri said...
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jopageri said...
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jopageri said...
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lizstew said...

You made some pretty insightful and bold assertions. I think that's great. And while I like the Beatles very much, they are certainly not my favorite band, and I can relate to your argument . I used to be really into the Beatles, but I did find that they lacked a certain emotional, raw, desperate essence, which I found with bands like the Doors and the Velvet Underground. Cool idea.

Not trying to be a bitch, but their (the possesive form of they) is spelled their, not there. Just thought you would like to know.

Sean said...

Give me a fucking break!!! So you want them to sound like every sorry ass band on every rock station in the country today whining and complaining about.....boo hoo......how bad life is! *sigh*

The beatles were enjoying drugs and life, and trying to spread their enjoyment of the culture at the time. Try and remember it was a time of peace and love. At least all their songs sound different! every band today is 10 tracks of the same shit! Thats why you d-load the song you like and piss on the rest!!!

Redbendad said...

Very interesting assertions. The Beatles were very cool. I am unable to compare them to other bands because they were the central band in my life as a teenager.

As a casual musician, I find that their chord progressions are more advanced and interesting than most music of the period and I love their harmonies.

Timmy K said...

Stfu. Just because the beatles have done drugs and like to have sex dosnt make them any less of a great band. You look me in the eye and tell me that u havent once done drugs or Thought of a girl sexualy and u will be a damn lier.
Another thing is that it didnt make them any less peaceful and loving as they were. No music artist in ths world compares to the beatles. There love and compasion for music and expressing how happy or sad they were in there music ws ingenious and like no other band.
In my opinion the drugs helped the beatles excape from this bulshit place we call earth. Alls they ever wanted to do was excape, and they did threw there music.
And the fact that they never seem to act like anything ever bothered them was because they were smart enough not to let it bother them. Its called "Taoism" looking on the brighter side of things, knowing that one day might be bad but it wont always be. instead of critisizeing The Beatles why dont you try to learn something off of them, Im 15 years old and if i can realize this so can you.
Plus the Beatles never tried being "Cool" people just saw them that way because they were always happy and trying to enjoy there lives unlike you who is willing to try to put other people down just because u dont like a band. Instaed of siting on your computer all day writeing blogs about how u feel, go out side and explore the world, open up your eyes and live each day like its your last the the greatest band in the worl, The Beatles :]

Timmy K said...
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Julia said...

dude, really you have no idea what your saying. if you knew what the songs were really about you would realize that a bunch of the songs they sing, are about pain. maybe if you listen to the songs, hear what theyre saying you would notice that almost every song has something sad in it. they weren't trying to be cool they were trying to show the world theyre thoughts which was cool. they could speak/sing theyre minds and didnt care what people thought. why dont you write about the good things each of them did instead of talking crap because i read the other comments and obviously more people would disagree with you than agree. its just sad that you would waste your time writing dumb lies about THE BEST BAND IN THE WORLD, THE BEATLES

BigG said...

Man, what are you on?