Friday, February 6, 2009

Ranking the Beatles my damn self: This one goes to 11

Originality was never big on my list of things to be.

61. All Together Now (Yellow Submarine)

This song isn't catchy, it's infectious. It's contagious. It's communicable. OK, I'm not sure what that means. Plus it's got Paul and John working together, which is always nice. I used to think John was singing "Jump the tree." I'm still not convinced he shouldn't have.

60. You Can't Do That (A Hard Day's Night)

See, I went and said I LOVE Run for Your Life, so now what word am I supposed to use for this song? I love love love this song. The harmony in the bridge -- hell, the melody in the bridge -- is so unexpected. I love the tone of the lyrics too. And the harmonies in the verse.

59. I Saw Her Standing There (Please Please Me)

Awesome opener for the first proper Beatles album. Interesting, too, in that again, John was really the lead singer at that point. And an insecure man. A testament to the song, then, that he made no recorded complaint about letting it lead off. Or did George Martin take that decision out of the band's hands?

58. Every Little Thing (For Sale)

I can't entirely explain why this is so high. It has a lot of what I find appealing in I Don't Want to Spoil the Party, which you might just now be noticing I haven't listed yet. I like the chorus, and when John sings "I will love her forever," well, I get a funny feeling in my tummy.

57. You're Going to Lose That Girl (Help!)

John's vocal vaults this so much higher than it deserves to be. Is there anyone who doesn't love singing this song? Does everyone else sing both the melody and the harmony response, or is that just me?

56. Carry That Weight (Abbey Road)

Yeah, so here we are. The first countdown guy kept this part of the medley together, and probably he was right, but it seemed like the idea was to rank each track. I won't deny that I considered each one in context, but I tried to rank each one individually. The fact that I ended up grouping them so close together likely means I failed. But at least I got to rank each against the other.

In that context, this is the bottom of the three. Of course, how short the song is has something to do with that. Basically, I added points for the anthemic part of the song, but the reprise of You Never Give Me Your Money suffers for being a reprise, although the guitar arpeggios lifted from the same song do not. I ranked it above Get Back, so I don't think I short-changed it, but not as much to recommend it as there is in the other two parts.

55. Golden Slumbers (Abbey Road)

Just a stronger composition overall, even if I like the Carry That Weight line better than any individual part of this track. Why is this soooooo much better than The Long and Winding Road? I can't really figure it out; it doesn't seem so terribly different. I might have to tuck into Alan W. Pollack's study. Great job by Ringo and Paul on the chorus.

54. Revolution (The Beatles)

The rhythm guitar sound they came up with is just awesome. Nice keys, too, of course.

53. A Hard Day's Night (A Hard Day's Night)

They're still trying to figure out that opening chord. Props to John and Paul for the interplay between them as the song transitions from Paul's bridge to John's verse. Just as I am unable to forget hearing some alternate takes and versions of some songs, how can you separate this song from the open of the movie, and the frenetic feeling the whole thing had?

52. Lovely Rita (Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band)

I don't know how much credit I give this song for the sound they got for the opening notes, but it's a lot, for sure. Beautiful sound, and Paul complements it perfectly vocally. I like the chorus a lot too, really the harmonies throughout the song. And the ending.

51. I'm Only Sleeping (Revolver)

I listen to this less and less often these days, but what a great song, what a great bridge, what a cool idea with all the false stops, and how nice a job they did finding a totally different sound for this track. That's a hallmark for this album, isn't it? Maybe even moreso here than on Sgt. Pepper. This, Yellow Submarine, She Said She Said, Got to Get You Into My Life, Tomorrow Never Knows, Taxman ... and that's not to mention all the songs I don't really listen to.

50. The End (Abbey Road)

Great idea, so well executed. It's so much fun to hear them all soloing, with the bonus of George's best lead playing of the band's career, in my opinion. And then the beautiful sentiment at the end, so beautifully done. Paul's "... you make" and George's guitar lick right after ... a lot of the songs, I ranked them where I did for a nice moment, and there really couldn't be a nicer or more fitting moment than that one, from two Beatles who did not get along by that point, to end their release output.

49. Something (Abbey Road)

I might have ranked this lower than The End if The End were a 'full' song. I'm not this song's hugest fan, but I appreciate the excellent melody, and how great that George turned in such a world class bridge, which really is the highlight of the song for me.

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Yup, only 13 songs. With quality like this, we don't have to pad anything. We're really going to mine the middle period on Monday.

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