Monday, October 16, 2006

hotel workers should fire me

So here’s the deal. I have some trouble concentrating at work. Especially now, when the exact parameters of my job have become gauzy and vague. So I’ve decided, rather than learning to discipline myself, to try to focus my goofing-off time into something marginally more productive than watching Ronaldinho clips on Youtube. The key word here, as you’ll soon see, is “marginally.”

Having quoted Chuck Klosterman in the last post, I started thinking about one of his finer (and more stupidly titled) columns, “Give Me Centrism or Give Me Death.”
It presents, for no real reason, the Ten Most Accurately-Rated Bands of All Time. Folks who know me would probably guess that my favorite part of that article was his assessment of the Beatles:

4. The Beatles – The Beatles are generally seen as the single most important rock band of all time, because they wrote all the best songs. Since both of these facts are true, the Beatles are rated properly.

It’s funnier (and a little touching) in context, but it's wishful thinking. The Beatles are overrated – a fact which John Lennon took great pains to point out as time went on. Of course they're overrated. They’re also underrated, or at least some of their catalogue is. Which brings me to the diversion at hand: I’m going to try to channel my laziness into the inconsequential exercise of discussing the most under- and overrated songs on each album. Just to be clear, this is a useless pursuit. So if Blogger has a mechanism to clear out its dead weight, its driftwood blogs dragging down passengers on the information superhighway, NewPlasticWeblog will probably be gone before I get to Revolver.

Anyway, without further ado:

Please Please Me (1963)

Most Overrated: Such an easy choice. “Love Me Do” is not a good song. It’s drivel. I wasn’t alive, but I think it was universally recognized as drivel then. The harmonica saves it from being unlistenable, but it remains wildly overrated (and, I would think, a little embarrassing for the surviving members, or at least Paul, since Ringo only plays tambourine on the album version). If you ever see footage of a live performance, or a “live” studio performance where their guitars aren’t even plugged in, they do sort of sell the song on cuteness, but it’s still boring and basically bad.

Most Underrated: “There’s a Place.” I think this was one of those tunes that made musicologists of the time think The Beatles were up to something fishy. Verse chords so bright and sunny, then they keep veering into startling harmonic territory. It has that slightly asymmetrical harmonica riff, and the stuttering start. It’s also too short for a real chorus, but it doesn’t need one because all the energy (and background harmonies) goes into the verse. I remember right around the time when Nas’s Stillmatic came out, I got tired of hearing it and Nelly on constant rotation in the dorm, so I used to open our windows and blast this song when the college tour groups came through the J.E. courtyard.

Comments welcome as always.

No comments: