Review #24: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles
#24: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles
The dethroned champion! Not only has Sgt. Pepper’s fallen 23 slots, it’s dropped to the third-highest Beatles album on the list. What happened, Sgt. Pepper? You used to be cool!
We’ve now reached the third Beatles’ album on our journey so far. I believe that it’s time to explore the question: What is the purpose of assembling a list like this?
Neither the issue’s Editor’s Letter by Jason Fine (pg. 10) nor the list’s introduction (pg. 41) explicitly states the project’s purpose, but there are clues to their ambitions. The introduction ends declaring that “the canon keeps changing in ways we don’t expect.” Fine’s letter quotes Reviews’ Editor Jon Dolan as stating that the list is “an honest reflection of how taste is now. … It’s more about different histories existing together, a coalition of tastes.”
Okay. So if I’m reading this correctly, the goal is to create a canon, which reflects what taste looks like now, but also combines the musical heritage of many different walks of life.
So what is the purpose, then, of including ten of the Beatles’ 12 studio albums, and excluding Ween and John Denver and Tool and Mitski and No Doubt, all of whom have rabid followings and were influential in their own right? This prioritizing of certain bands is a failure to represent a true “coalition of tastes.” That’s not to say that the Beatles’ did not create many of the greatest albums of all time (so to speak), only that the inclusion of their entire catalog seems redundant.
An excellent New Yorker article by music writer Sheldon Pearce, who was a contributor to RS’s list, explores these redundancies, succinctly stating that “the most heard albums still get upheld for simply being the most heard.”
All that being said, I can’t pretend I don’t love the Beatles just because Rolling Stone’s list does not achieve its stated objective. I can’t help it!
“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” — Haha. “Hi, we’re the Beatles, and we’re completely deranged.”
“With A Little Help From My Friends” — I love this song! I can really tolerate the Beatles’ schmaltzy songs more than I can any other band. Unless this song is about drugs. It’s hard to tell sometimes.
“Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” — I love when the Beatles sound like they’re playing an old-timey carnival on the moon.
“Getting Better” — I love the Beatles’ most aggressively cheerful songs because they’re secretly also their creepiest songs. The backing vocals on this one are It can’t get much worse. Do you think the Beatles are trying to brainwash us with Satanic messages? I do.
“Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!” — Another song that describes a party I desperately want to be at.
“Within You Without You” — One of my favorite Beatles songs because it sounds like it comes from another dimension.
“When I’m Sixty-Four” — I always hum this one for hours after I hear it.
“Good Morning Good Morning” — The Beatles have about a hundred songs that sound exactly like this, but man isn’t it a good one! Are the animal noises at the end a reference to PET SOUNDS??? (They were.)
“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band — Reprise” — Albums always get points for a funky reprise.
“A Day In The Life” — Undoubtedly the best one. The ending of this freaks me out a lot, in a good way though — AHH the jumbled voices make me jump every time!!
LEAST FAVORITE SONGS:
“Fixing A Hole” — Okay, this one scares me in a bad way.
“She’s Leaving Home” — I hate this song. This album was released in 1967 but this sounds like a 1940s song.
IS RS FULL OF IT?
This used to be my least favorite Beatles album, but I gotta tell you, the older I get, the better weird stuff sounds. Therefore I say that RS is NOT full of it, at least not right now.
Review #23: Velvet Underground & Nico, Velvet Underground & Nico