Friday, January 26, 2007

Revolver (1966)

An excellent interview with Giles Martin on All Songs Considered prompted me to finally get back to these. Let me say that it has been a real struggle to fairly consider this Cirque du Soleil project. I mean, however much you dress it up, Cirque du Soleil is ultimately about transvestite clowns. The Magical Mystery Tour movie failed for a reason, after all. But I have to admit that Giles Martin is a very smart guy, and obviously possesses a talent commensurate to his father's. Based on the clips I've heard, the music is actually terrific. The staging appears to be a ridiculous skateboarding, breakdancing fiasco. Should have just been an album.

Anyway, Revolver.

Most Overrated: "Good Day Sunshine." This song has some wonderful rhythmic and harmonic divergences in the chorus, and an awesome fade, but basically it's lame enough that it seems like Paul wrote specifically for Kermit the Frog. It's cheesy enough to make "Yellow Submarine" seem mature and subversive. On an album with "I'm Only Sleeping" and "She Said She Said," it sticks out more than necessary. Overrated.

Most Underrated: "She Said She Said." Very easy choice. The correct genre title for this song (and its author, actually) would be "existential badass." It just destroys, but in this finicky way that's impossible not to love. I had a lot more to say about the structure of this song, and the meter-changes in the bridge, and the the brilliance of the verse melody, and the high dog-whistle organ mixed way in the back, and Ringo getting a fill in every verse to go apeshit -- but you can just listen to it.

Also, the song contains an excellent transcription of my internal monologue during English class at Yale:

"Even though you know what you know
I know that I'm ready to leave
And you're making me feel like I've never been born."

3 comments:

Not a Flaneur, I Just Walk A lot said...

I disagree with your assessment of "Good Day Sunshine." It really isn't that bad, just kind of harmless. "Taxman" and "Eleanor Rigby," on the other hand, both strike me as pretty overrated.

Good call on "She Said She Said," but I might have picked "And Your Bird Can Sing" for George Harrison's sublime guitar riffs or "For No One," just to show that I don't completely hate everything Paul McCartney has ever written.

sarah said...

Bro - shame on you for dissing "Good Day Sunshine." If dad reads your post, you're screwed.

I am SO getting the coffee table now, and you and Camille will be stuck with a lovely pair of cloisonne lions. Boy, that coffee table sure will look nice in my living room!

Julie said...

My niece Sofia turned 8 in early January, and she requested that "Good Day Sunshine" be included on the birthday CD that we make for her friends as birthday party favors. So, yeah - I hear you on the whole harmless Kermit the Frog thing.