AYNITB’s Best of 2017

A/N: A post I have been meaning to publish for some months — I am sorry, yet again, for my tardiness! A proper explanation for my lack-of-presence of late is at the bottom of this post…

People say that 2017 was an awful year. This may have been true on a global scale, hence my active avoidance of news outlets over the past 12 months for the sake of my sanity — but on both a personal and pop-cultural level, I must say that my 2017 was pretty damn fine! Since pop culture is what I sporadically post about here on AYNITB, that is what I shall be discussing today… Be sure to let me know what your favourite 2017 cultural things were in the comments!

Best (New) Album: Masseduction, St. Vincent

Perhaps my all-time least favourite cliche in music writing is when X newer artist is touted as being the new prestige act — and yet, here I am, about to type that St. Vincent (A.K.A. Annie Clark) is the closest thing we have to a new Bowie. She has the slick style; the constant reinvention; the sleek, beguiling combination of the pop and the incredibly inaccessible — of course, no-one will ever match David himself, but to say she’s pretty darn cool nonetheless would be something of an understatement. Her latest, Masseduction, is at once both filled with layers of emotion and meaning, and then is just a really good pop record. The album is sharp, clean, and glamorous, a sound that is surprisingly quirky and playful and endearingly joyful for all of its detachedness — it’s kind of like the sonic equivalent of a Gucci dress. Clark’s signature virtuosic guitar-ing is still all over the record, much like her 2014 self-titled (a bonafide masterpiece that you should listen to immediately if you haven’t already!), but it really embraces its pop credentials by experimenting with layers of synths. These create an all-encompassing, chaotic sound that wonderfully disorientates the listener, and yet their staccato accenting is irresistibly danceable, producing an impressive bridge between the avant garde and the bubblegum. This experimentation in sound, aided by the songs’ mysterious lyrics, also allows for a level of exquisitely hedonistic, glittery androgyny so close to the allure of the very best glam rock! And then there’s the album’s lead single, ‘New York’, so nuanced and tender and hilariously blunt and heart-burstingly melodic and just perfectly romantic — it’s exquisite.

Honourable mentions: Jen Cloher (self-titled), Phases (Angel Olsen), Pure Comedy (Father John Misty),  Forced Witness (Alex Cameron), Party (Aldous Harding), Windswept (Johnny Jewel)

 

Best (not new) music I discovered:

I couldn’t decide on one winner so, in no particular order, here are several of my favourite discoveries of the past 12 months, summarised in a sentence or so each:

  • Suburban Lawns

Quirky, erratic postpunk from late ’70s Los Angeles, that sounds a little like if the Beach Boys were possessed by ’50s B-movie supernatural antagonists. The choppy guitar and lead singer Su Tissue’s wonderfully girly, idiosyncratic voice are particular highlights!

  • Vintage pop music

This — not an artist, per se, but a style I’ve become very into lately – began as a somewhat ironic fascination with retro kitsch, but has instead blossomed into wholehearted love for what might be some of the most exquisite songs I’ve ever heard. There is this kind of poetic, intense emotion to them, kind of naive and yet so full of the pure feeling that the cynicism our current world sometimes denies us; a romance that makes your heart melt and expand and split into tiny fractured pieces. There’s also such an incredible musical intricacy to these — the layers of ethereal accompaniment, the obscure chord progressions, the way the voices so delicately flow and bleed and tremble into each other — that, despite its technicality, transcends so many of the ideas I have about music and emotion and everything, and makes me feel as if I am floating through the stars, that I am the only person to have ever felt this on top of the world.

  • Helium

Helium are grunge — if you added in the early Velvet Underground, My Bloody Valentine, ’70s soft rock, and English Mediaeval folk music, all played with a voice as melodic and quirky as Joni Mitchell’s and technique as good as what my middle school violin teacher told me to practise two hours a day to achieve. One of the most unique, accomplished — and seriously underrated — bands I’ve ever had the pleasure of being a fan of!

  • Talking Heads

Talking Heads are among the discoveries that I should’ve made a long, long time ago, especially considering that I’ve noted the presence of Stop Making Sense in my parents’ CD collection since childhood. In their earlier work in particular, there’s a kind of detached quirkiness and a chilling objectivity that I find wonderfully and strangely endearing — and, of course, the singularity of David Byrne’s voice and wordy lyrics are equally so also. (And, it doesn’t get much cooler than Tina Weymouth’s funk-infused bass!)

  • Chromatics

Shimmery, synthy dream pop that is the sonic equivalent of city lights glittering on a misty humid night. (Plus, if a band is featured in Twin Peaks, there is a statistically high chance that I will like said band.)

  • The Modern Lovers

To paraphrase what I wrote in a previous post: among why I’ve come to love The Modern Lovers (pun unintended) so much is the way that leader Jonathan Richman contrasts dorkiness with edginess, and the comforting relatability I find in this. While I adore the music and lyrics of Lou Reed/Alex Chilton/Iggy Pop/Patti Smith/et al, I’m the first to admit that I otherwise fit the stereotype of the socially awkward goody-two-shoes perfectly, something that tends to be derided in the culture that I like. It’s kind of nice to find a similar band from this era that not only revels in this kind of nerdy awkwardness, but acknowledges that you can both be this way inclined and love edgy underground music which would otherwise bare no commonality with your person. It’s so great!

  • Joni Mitchell

As with Talking Heads, another discovery that I should’ve made a long time ago! And yet I’m kind of glad I didn’t, because Mitchell’s music requires the listener to permit themselves a vulnerability, an openness to feeling, that I think I have only recently begun to acquire the maturity needed to attain such. Again, there is a musical intricacy to her tracks that I adore, too, in the falling chord progressions and twangs of guitar fingerings and in the soft sweetness of her voice — and an intimacy, maybe in the way her guitar and piano are microphoned and in the sparse instrumentation, or maybe in the sheer welcoming warmth of her songwriting, that makes you feel as if you are the most special, luckiest, only person to have ever heard these songs softly buzz through your mind.

Honourable mentions (i.e. people I have begun to get into but will probably further delve into at a later date): Replacements, Go-Betweens, Air, Husker Du, Sky Ferreira, Throbbing Gristle, Cocteau Twins

Best New TV: Twin Peaks (dir. David Lynch)

I never know what to say when I try to write about Peaks, particularly this latest season. I could talk about how it turned the reboot trend on its head — how it self-awarely both celebrated and stomped on nostalgia in front of our befuddled, fascinated eyes; how it was so unlike anything that ever has (and, for the next few years at least, ever will) aired on TV, in its narrative structure, its visuals, its special effects, its sound, its everything — so much that it was technically bad by our layman storytelling standards, but that it transcended those anyway. I could discuss its Lynch-isms — the little references to the rest of his filmography, the incredible use of his cast of regulars (weren’t Naomi Watts and Laura Dern amazing?), the explorations of identity and trauma through the use of a non-linear narrative structure, the little moments of impassioned, almost musical emotion that he directs so well; or I could wax on the way it made me to feel emotion more rawly, of how it taught to have more patience and how good things will come in return, how its imagination captivated and befuddled me in the most beautiful, beautiful way. I even could list my favourite moments, like when Dougie wandered around a Las Vegas casino screaming that now-iconic “hellooo-OOO-ooo,” or when Laura and Coop met in ‘Part 17’, or when Audrey danced in ‘Part 16’, or that equal-parts horrific and beautiful final scene — the infamous ‘Part 8’ in general, too. But every time I’ve tried to write about it, what I’ve come up with has never satisfied, for so much of what I love about Twin Peaks is what it makes me feel — how maybe I don’t always understand it on a left-brained level, but the primal intensity of the emotions it stirs in me still evoke an undercurrent of unconscious comprehension. This feels so intimate, so personal, so unique to me — even though I assume the vast majority of viewers feel the same — that I can barely even defend what I experienced, and why I liked it. But anyway, I did. In fact, I would go so far to say that I loved it, and it’s changed the way I see the world. Scratch what I said about this being the best TV of 2017. Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series/The Return/The Third Season/whatever the powers that be are calling it this week might just be, in my humble opinion, among the most creative, innovative, fascinating, emotionally rewarding — and wholeheartedly the best — TV ever made.

Honourable mentionsSearch PartyBig Little LiesFargo, The End of the F***ing World, The Handmaid’s Tale 

Best New Film: 20th Century Women (dir. Mike Mills)

I don’t usually go to see movies twice during their cinema run, even ones I really adore, but I did just that in the case of 20th Century Women — so that gives you an idea of just how much I loved this film. It’s practically my perfect movie: it’s set in California in the ’70s, the main characters are obsessed with an assortment of obscure postpunk bands, the cinematography and special effects are incredibly artful, it features some of the best actresses working today (Elle Fanning! Greta Gerwig! Annette Bening!), and it’s funny and sad and beautifully thoughtful throughout. One of its most memorable aspects is its imagery and camerawork — the movie has a kind of velvety, sun-dappled, pink tinge to it, mimicking the idling warmth of its suburban Californian setting, and there’s this recurring special effect that phases the image and drowns it in glittery neon chaos that adds to its dreaminess and the narrative’s celebration of the art of moving forward. Of course, then there’s the soundtrack, of Talking Heads and The Buzzcocks and Black Flag and The Raincoats and even Bowie — it’d be perfect even entirely out of context, but the way it is woven into the narrative to reflect how culture can enlighten and define and make us feel is tremendously and upliftingly powerful. (The greatest of these uses occurs fairly early on in the film, when Greta Gerwig’s character delivers a monologue about the importance of the ethos of punk, outlining the very ideas that I have always adored in my favourite music.) On top of its aesthetic, though, the film is wonderfully nuanced and thoughtful in its writing. Each character feels ridiculously real, to the point that their past, present, and future contexts are lengthily established as to create so much empathy and respect for their journeys and identities; and the script’s focusing on small, physical details in each’s world (the way each dances; their bizarre hobbies; the way they speak) adds so much subtle, tender dimension that the audience is almost forced into feeling relation toward and caring for the entire ensemble a ridiculously beautiful amount. These journeys, along with its Californian, arty iconography and montages of historical events that establish just how quickly our world spins, express an idea of the thrill of living in the moment, of letting things move a little slow, of the importance of nostalgia juxtaposed with the importance of moving on, of the complexities that compose the concept of “growing up” — themes that could be trite or cliche, but that are rendered uniquely touching in the narrative’s peaceful quirkiness. A moving, stunning tale. (Plus, hearing the guitars on The Buzzcocks’ ‘Why Can’t I Touch It?’ blast out of my cinema’s surround sound speakers over the end credits was pretty cool!)

Honourable mentions: The Florida Project (a very close second fave!), Phantom Thread, Call Me By Your Name, Lady Bird, The Beguiled, How To Talk to Girls at Parties, Things to Come

Best book I read this year: Play It As It Lays, Joan Didion

There are two reasons why I almost didn’t think to include this on my list: firstly, that I read it back in the first week of January, and secondly, it’s affected the way that I read literature so much that I can barely comprehend that it’s only been in my life for a year. Joan Didion’s incredibly poetic tale of love and death and getting by when it feels like you can’t traces Maria Wyeth’s tale from aspiring film star to mental institution inpatient to maybe the strongest woman in all of Los Angeles. Didion’s richly glossy and sultrily objective imagery is easily its hallmark, both intoxicatingly voyeuristic as the twinkling, technicolour worlds it coolly describes crumble to desert dust, and yet full of implications and meaning and emotion and strength in its preciseness, in all the things it leaves unsaid. (As the book climaxes, this imagery even becomes physical and literal — the chapters become shorter, leaving gulfs of white space at the end of every few pages, reflecting the deadness of both the Californian desert in which the book is set and of Maria’s identity and thoughts at that point.) The narrative is incredibly written in terms of its plot as well, ensuring that its emphasis on beauty doesn’t leave it unfulfillingly shallow. It’s slow, and it doesn’t really climax until the last couple of pages, and maybe in any other scenario some might deem it boring, but its emphasis on minute details adds an everyday poignancy, giving its glamour profound emotional levity — not to mention the way this same technique performs a slow-burn reaction on the reader, allowing its truths and horrors to creep up and delicately reveal themselves so infinitely powerfully and affectingly, especially fitting in a narrative about what hides behind the glitter and dreams so many aspire to see. Then there’s its characterisation, the way it never demonises Maria despite the awful things she does, her three-dimensional-ness, the way she slowly reveals herself, her beautifully female strength in the face of everything her life throws at her; how it wafts in between third and first person perspective to greater explore the context and image of the tale, investing the audience even further in what could have been such a cliche, everyday story; its neon-lights-and-filtered-sunshine 70’s beauty. I could write about this novel for pages. No book has ever made my nerves tingle like this did.

Honourable mentions: The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood), A Manual for Cleaning Women (Lucia Berlin), In Cold Blood (Truman Capote), The Virgin Suicides (Jeffrey Eugenides), To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee — technically a reread but nonetheless!)

I feel like I should also acknowledge something else: my lack of posting over the past year. When I started this blog, I was in  middle school — I had very few other responsibilities and an insane amount of spare time. That was four years ago, and now, my situation stands somewhat altered. I am currently firmly absorbed in the very pointy end of high school (I’m in my second-to-last year and am also completing some coursework for my final year), I am working at becoming a professional musician, I make art, I’ve begun preparation for a particularly tricky violin performance exam, I have a more widened social life, and I have been lucky enough to also be able to begin writing for a couple of other online publications, resulting in my previously ample free time becoming a heck of a lot more thinly spread. I also, between my tendency to ramble a bit and the amount of time it takes me to properly edit, take a while to write things, meaning that I require some time to finish pieces to my satisfaction — time that my constantly replenishing pile of homework refuses to let me have, really only leaving my quarterly school holidays for my own projects, which also include my music, my work for the other publications, and my art. However, writing this blog has always, and will always be, one of the greatest joys of my life — I mean, where else can I publish sprawling essays about any one of my favourite things with no deadlines, and get to interact with an amazing group of fellow writers to boot! I am so sorry for my lack of time spent here at the moment, but I assure you that AYNITB is not something I’m going to give up on, and I will always be here whenever I can. I am working on several pieces currently which I plan on posting this year, and I attempt to be consistently active within the WordPress community in general, so I promise that you will still regularly see plenty of me — and as soon as I am somewhat less busy I shall properly return! In the meanwhile, you can also follow me on Instagram (@tangerinetrees99), and read more of my writing at The Mostly Books Blog and the Felicitas CollectiveThank you all so much, though, for sticking with AYNITB even with its sporadicalness — I can’t tell you all how much your readership and discussion throughout the years means to me. Bear with me over the next year or so — I promise I’ll be as active as I can whenever possible, and I look forward to being able to be a more consistent presence once my workload lessens a little! See you all soon 😆

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The AYNITB Christmas Post of 2017!

(Credit: kitschyliving.tumblr.com)

So here we are again. We’re a week out from another year’s end, and it’s the eve of The Most Wonderful Time of The Year™ – and so, naturally, it’s time for the All You Need Is The Beatles‘ Christmas Post of 2017! You may remember from the Christmas Post of 2016 that last year, I finally got to enjoy the icy-cold Northern Hemisphere Christmas I’ve always dreamt of, so I must admit that this year’s festive season is a little bit of a let down. However, I have indeed found myself indulging in a little more holiday spirit this year – I have even actively sought out kitschy Christmas music! – so perhaps the other side of the world has rubbed off on me a touch?

Anyway, I’m gonna keep this short this year, as I’m gonna go wrap presents, thrown on Phil Spector’s A Christmas Gift For You, and watch Olive the Other Reindeer (unarguably The Best Christmas Movie!) in a sec. But alas, as tradition dictates, here are a few of my Christmassy faves for 2017 – some the same as those I’ve mentioned in prior years, but accompanied by a few new numbers as well! Be sure to let me know what you’re spinnin’ this festive season in the comments too…

David Bowie & Bing Crosby – ‘Little Drummer Boy (Peace on Earth)’

Big Star – ‘Jesus Christ’

The Waitresses – ‘Christmas Wrapping’

Lou Reed – ‘Xmas in February’

Wizzard – ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day’

Cocteau Twins – ‘Frosty the Snowman’

Ramones – ‘Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)’

Darlene Love – ‘Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)’

Darlene Love – ‘White Christmas’ 

(I know I included another of her songs from A Christmas Gift For You above, but I adore ‘White Christmas’ so I had to add this too!)

Joni Mitchell – ‘River’

Thee Headcoatees – ‘Santa Claus’

The Sonics – ‘Don’t Believe In Christmas’

Shonen Knife – ‘Space Christmas’

John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and the Harlem Community Choir – ‘Happy Xmas (War Is Over)’

And so, merry Christmas everyone, and best wishes for the rest of the festive season and final week of 2017 – thank you so much for your continued readership and interaction, even with my sporadic posting schedule, it really means so much to me! I am, however, planning on returning with one final post before the 1st of Jan – and I also already have large portions of my first few posts for the New Year! – so you shall hear from me again very soon. Anyway, I’m gonna sign off with a few clips that I love that didn’t really fit above: an upload of my favourite Christmas album, excerpt from my favourite aforementioned Christmas movie, and that same amazing clip I did last year…

tangerinetrees99 plays another gig!

Unless you’ve been reading this blog for a couple of years, you might be unaware that, on top of being a music fan, I’m actually an aspiring musician myself. So, about a month ago, I was lucky enough to be able to play a short set at a fairly well-known pub in my city! I performed a Bowie cover (‘Quicksand’) and a Courtney Barnett cover (‘Kim’s Caravan’), the latter being a duet with my guitar teacher. It was such an amazing experience – a few people even came up to me afterwards to tell me how much they enjoyed it! – and it was easily among the most thrilling and enjoyable things I’ve done. Anyway, here are a couple of clips from the gig…

SEE ALSO: tangerinetrees99 plays her first gig!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY RINGO STARR!

Ringo during the 'Get Back' sessions (Image credit: thebeatles.com)

Ringo during the ‘Get Back’ sessions
(Image credit: thebeatles.com)

As you probably know, today (July 7) is the 75th birthday of Richard Starkey, a.k.a. Ringo Starr! Happy birthday, Ringo! Like Paul, I’ve never written that much about Ringo, so today is my chance…

When people are asked to name their favourite drummers, there’s the obvious ones. Keith Moon, John Bonham, Neil Peart, Ginger Baker. And for good reason, ‘cos they’re exceptional players. Moon and Bonham take two spots in my ‘top three drummers’.

And of course, Ringo is the other person in my list. And I think that he’s one of the most underrated drummers, ever. Way too many people underestimate his abilities. But although I’m not a drummer, his playing, in my opinion, is wonderful! What’s special about his style is that it is quite understated; no drum solos, no flashy beats. But that wouldn’t have gone with The Beatles’ style. He was absolutely perfect for them.

Ringo is a very inventive drummer, too — whether it be the bassy fills in ‘A Day In The Life’, or the syncopated rock of ‘Ticket To Ride’, or anything in between, he executes his parts so well! The fact that he uses a right handed kit, despite being a lefty, only adds to his style and makes him even cooler! He made The Beatles drive. To quote Dave Grohl:

Ringo’s swing and backbeat carry so many of The Beatles’ songs. Back then, the recording depended on the feel of the song. There was no digital manipulation of drum tracks, so it was up to the drummer to dictate that feel. And Ringo had his own sound. Pull all the instruments out and you’d still know it was a Beatles song. And that’s the sound of a signature drummer. It’s the kind of thing drummers strive for all career, but not all of them make it.

Here are a few of my favourite Ringo drumming moments:

Ringo’s drumming turned from ‘good’ to ‘mind-blowing’ in 1966, in my opinion. His skill is on full show in ‘Rain’. His beat is peppered with these magnificent fills! The booming embellishments mimic thunder, his triplets complimenting the psychedelic guitars. Quote Ringo: “I feel as though that was someone else playing – I was possessed!”

I was listening to ‘Paperback Writer’ the other day, and the drums caught my attention. In particular, the cymbal fills in the verses, which sound a bit like someone writing on paper, in my opinion. And of course, like everything else Ringo did in 1966, the other fills are amazing, too!

Ringo’s drums on ‘Come Together’ contributes to the laid-back feel of the song. Perhaps one of the most iconic drum lines in history, his bassy pounding is instantly recognisable. I love it!

(‘Helter Skelter’) Ringo had blisters on his fingers for good reason! Ringo bangs out his drumline, playing like a heavy metal musician. He pushes the boundaries, drumming wonderfully heavy-handedly. His drums make the song drive.

‘What You’re Doing’ is possibly my favourite early-Beatles drum performance. The loud beat that begins the song is perhaps what sticks in the listener’s head. In fact, that booming drum intro is what makes it one of my very favourite early Beatles songs, full stop!

And whilst Ringo wasn’t a super great singer, so many kids are introduced to The Beatles by songs he sang. The first Beatles song I heard as a small child was ‘Octopus’s Garden’. Ringo actually wrote ‘Octopus’s Garden’, with a little help from his friend George. (Pun intended.) To this day, I love the song; for the memories, that slide guitar and the drums!

And though I’ve said before that I’m not very familiar with Ringo’s solo career, there’s one of his songs that I love; ‘I’m The Greatest’.  A hilarious, satirical take on The Beatles written by John, I can’t help but smile when I listen to this song! And both John + George play on it, too, so…

And Ringo seems like a really down-to-Earth and nice guy. I mean, there’s certainly good reason behind why he’s The Beatle that everyone likes. I especially enjoyed his contributions to the Anthology documentaries, for his humour and his honesty. He’s probably the most unaffected Beatle, too – this especially shows through in the fact that he runs his own social media, something I find very cool. (His Twitter account is hilarious, by the way!) I loved reading Rolling Stone’s interview with him, earlier this year. I’m glad that he’s now been inducted into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame, and getting the recognition he deserves!

So happy birthday Ringo! Peace and love! 🙂

HAPPY (slightly belated) BIRTHDAY PAUL McCARTNEY!

One of my favourite pictures of Paul, as taken by the Lovely Linda... (Image credit: iwasdreamingofthepast.blogspot.com

One of my favourite pictures of Paul, as taken by the Lovely Linda…
(Image credit: iwasdreamingofthepast.blogspot.com)

As you probably know, Sir James Paul McCartney turned 73 a couple of days ago, on June 18th! Happy birthday, Paul! I did mean to post on the day, but I’ve been quite busy with end-of-term assessments, so sorry ’bout that. I haven’t really written all that much about Paul, so today is my chance to muse on all things McCartney…

I’m not much of a Paul person. John has always been my favourite Beatle, and George a close second. And everyone likes Ringo. When it comes to songs, I’ve always found the songs that John and George wrote more appealing to my ears than Paul’s. I’ve always found a majority of his songs to be a little too much on the poppy side for me.

But regardless of the fact that I’m more of a John-and-George gal, I think that Paul is an extremely talented guy! There is no doubt that he is one of the best songwriters ever. Not only is he one half of Lennon/McCartney,  a number of his post-Beatles songs are also certified-classics for very good reason.

Most of my favourite McCartney-penned compositions stem from The Beatles era. Especially from Rubber Soul onwards, Paul was an amazing songwriter. Penning everything from screaming proto-metal rockers to the softest of folky ballads, he was something of a songwriting genius! He definitely deserves the many accolades he receives for his work.

(‘Helter Skelter’) ‘Helter Skelter’ is recognised by most music fans to be one of the first heavy metal songs ever. And whilst I’m not really a fan of the genre in its modern state, I absolutely love this song! The song incorporates Ringo’s thrashing drums, completely awesome guitar performances from Paul and George, a rockin’ bass from John and a screaming vocal performance from Paul! There has been more than a few interpretations of the song over the years; John claimed it was about a, well, helter skelter (an essential part of English fairgrounds), Paul said the helter skelter symbolised “the fall”, and we all know what Charles Manson thought… The song has since become a pioneer of all things hard rock, and is also one of my very favourite Beatles songs!

(‘Blackbird’) And now to the complete opposite… In my opinion, ‘Blackbird’ is one of the most beautiful songs ever written. Paul’s solo voice accompanying his fingerpicked guitar and his tapping foot (and later, some blackbird sounds) is perfection, in my opinion. Paul’s lyrics in this song are some of his best, I think; they are supposedly about the Civil Rights Movement in America. My favourite bit about this song, though, is the guitar. It’s gorgeous. And even after months of trying to play it, I still can’t play it properly… 😉

(‘I’m Looking Through You’) Paul’s songs on Rubber Soul are all super-cool, and this is one of my favourites. Ever since I first listened to the album, ‘I’m Looking Through You’ has always stood out. Whether it be Paul’s great vocal performance, John’s rhythm guitar part, George’s lead guitar part or Ringo’s organ (!) or the folk-rock feel, this song is just all-round great. I particularly like the mono version of this song, as the outro is a little longer, and I especially love the outro…

(‘Here, There and Everywhere’) For me, it’s easy to see why this song was one of both John’s and Paul’s favourite Beatles songs – for it’s one of my favourite Beatles songs, too! This song is simply beautiful. Paul’s vocals are sung gorgeously, and the backing vocals are simply hypnotic! I also love Ringo’s bass-y drums, and the rhythm guitar is great. An all-round perfect song…

(The Abbey Road Medley) This is what I like to refer to as Paul’s masterpiece. Taking up most of Side 2 of Abbey Road, the Abbey Road Medley is nothing short of a masterpiece. Beginning with the epic 4-part ‘You Never Give Me Your Money’, and ending with the philosophical musings of ‘The End’ or brief ‘Her Majesty’ (depending on who you ask), you’ll hear about everything from a few rpgue “Apple Scruffs” climbing through Paul’s bathroom window to a grouchy old guy who sleeps in a hole in the road. Each song is carefully merged into each other by Paul and George Martin, and stylistically, it ranges from raw rock’n’roll to delicate orchestral pop. A perfect final note that will be remembered as one of the most innovative things ever released.

And now for Paul post-Beatles… I’m not a huge fan of Paul’s solo career. However, I’ve since found that there are a whole heap of great songs that Paul wrote after the breakup of The Fab Four, too! Last post, I mentioned my penchant for both ‘Call Me Back Again’ and ‘Dear Friend’. And I think I’ve mentioned my like of ‘Another Day’ and ‘Mrs Vandebilt’ before, too. So here are a couple of songs from Paul’s solo career that I particularly enjoy…

(‘Too Many People’) Despite the fact that the whole song basically denounces John and Yoko, this is one of my favourite Paul songs. Musically. I particularly dig that killer lead guitar, and Paul’s vocals are also great! The acoustic guitar is also awesome. In fact, this is an all-round awesome song, apart from the lyrics.

(‘Band On The Run’) And I’ve always loved this song! I love how it has three parts, and each of them are contrast each other so much. My favourite is the middle part — the rockiest part. I also really love the guitar riff that runs through parts 1 + 2, and it’s one of my favourite things to play. I was pleasantly surprised to hear this pop up in the middle of 2014 film Boyhood, which is my favourite movie at the moment.

(‘Maybe I’m Amazed’) This song is amazing. Pun intended. Paul’s vocals are raw and emotional and just wonderful! And I’ve always been a fan of his piano work in this song. It’s one of Paul’s best known songs, and for very good reason.

And of course, Paul is an amazing musician. It’s a well-known fact that he is one of the best bassists ever. Many Beatles songs featured extremely inventive bass lines due to his genius. My favourites include ‘Dear Prudence‘, ‘The Word‘, ‘Hey Bulldog‘, and ‘Drive My Car‘. Paul is my favourite bassist, along with John Entwistle of The Who.

Other examples of Paul’s musical prowess can be found within some of his lead guitar lines. The solo in ‘Taxman‘ is one of the best examples, and as a guitarist, I find it truly amazing! Paul also played some great breaks on ‘Another Girl‘, ‘The Night Before‘ and (along with John and George) ‘The End’. Paul was also the first Beatle to play an Epiphone Casino guitar, and as the proud player of such a model, I’m very thankful for that. I also very much like Paul’s piano skills, which can be heard on songs such as ‘Let It Be‘, ‘Hey Jude’ and parts of ‘A Day In The Life‘.

And so, happy birthday Paul! As a musician, I find your musical skills absolutely amazing. Thanks for all the wonderful songs! tangerinetrees99 🙂

And now for one more tune…

10 Underrated Songs From The Beatles’ Solo Careers

Image credit: ultimateclassicrock.com

Image credit: ultimateclassicrock.com

You could say that The Beatles’ solo work, as a whole, is underrated. So much media attention is directed towards The Beatles as a whole, and very deservedly so. But the music that each former member created after they split is somewhat overlooked by the general public.

But that’s not to say that The Beatles’ solo careers don’t get attention, too. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hadn’t heard the opening bars of piano of ‘Imagine’, or the slide guitar fills of ‘My Sweet Lord’, or the screaming vocals of ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’. But even with this, there are so many great songs from The Beatles’ solo careers that are very under-appreciated. So today, I thought I’d dedicate a list to a few gems in each Beatle’s solo career that I think don’t get enough attention. So in no particular order…

‘How?’ (John Lennon)

John’s pretty piano ballads make up a fair amount of his best-known songs: ‘Imagine’, ‘Love’, ‘Jealous Guy’, etc. But ‘How?’ never seems to quite get the same amount of accolades. Situated near the end of the Imagine album, the piano chords delicately land on the beats, and the violins add a beautifully shimmery extra layer. John’s vocals are also particularly delicate, suiting the overall dainty feel of the song. And like many of John’s songs from the time, the lyrics are quite personal and contemplative, as they were inspired by his Primal Scream Therapy. One of John’s prettiest songs!

‘Ballad of Sir Frankie Crisp (Let It Roll)’ (George Harrison)

George wrote this song about his house, Friar Park, which he purchased early in 1970. The house was originally built in 1898 by a guy called Sir Frank Crisp, hence the title of the song. I think ‘Ballad’ has some of George’s best lyrics; within each verse, the listener is taken around Friar Park and surrounds. Spanning rooms, and gardens, and fountains of perpetual mirth, the words are witty and (like a lot of his songs) spiritual and just gorgeous! The song is wonderful from a musical aspect, too. Laden with reverb and slide guitar and jangly instruments, the song has a beautifully ethereal, dreamy sound to it. In fact, it’s dreamy, full stop!

‘Call Me Back Again’ (Paul McCartney & Wings)

Buried on the second side of Venus and Mars, I came to ‘Call Me Back Again’ after hearing it on iTunes’ free solo-Beatles EP last year. It has since become one of my favourite Paul solo song, and for good reason! Paul’s vocals scream out of the speakers, for one. The saxophones featured prominently in the song are pretty awesome, too. I’m particularly loving the lead guitar, too, which is wonderfully intricate and cool. A great song!

‘Well, Well, Well’ (John Lennon)

There are so many reasons why I think this song deserves way more attention. First of all, John’s guitar is amazing; laden with crunchy distortion and an almost-punk sensibility, it’s wonderful! Same goes for Klaus Voorman’s bass performance and Ringo’s drums. They, too, put on an amazingly rocking show! John’s lyrics talk of spending time with Yoko — of going to dinner with her, of their involvement in political activism. And John’s vocal performance is stunning; in the latter half of the song, he howls confrontationally over the grungy instrumentation. It’s not for everyone, but in my opinion, ‘Well Well Well’ is one of John’s best songs.

‘I’d Have You Anytime’ (George Harrison)

The opening track of George’s masterpiece, All Things Must Pass, George wrote this song with Bob Dylan in late 1968. (Harrison and Dylan wrote a number of songs together during this period.) Their lyrics muse on the friendship that had blossomed between the two, and George sings them in his typically sweet voice. I think that George’s slide guitar performance on the track is one of his very best; beautifully emotive and perfect. His choice of chords is very interesting, too. In my opinion, ‘I’d Have You Anytime’ is a beautiful song!

‘New York City’ (John Lennon)

‘New York City’ is the fifth song on Sometime In New York City, an album I would argue is completely underrated, full stop. And it’s a gloriously rockin’ song! I love the piano and John’s guitar and it has a wonderfully rough sound. John’s lyrics are what makes the song for me, though. A witty recount of him and Yoko’s move to New York, and all the people and troubles that they crossed along the way, I especially like the lyrics! An unfairly underrated rocker that’s pretty awesome, in my opinion.

‘Isn’t It A Pity (Version 2)’ (George Harrison)

Whilst Version 1 is also underrated, Version 2 of ‘Isn’t It A Pity’ is extremely under appreciated, probably because it’s “version two”. The song plays host to one of my favourite guitar performances from George ever, and the organ is also just dreamy! And of course ‘Isn’t It A Pity’ is a great song, anyway. George’s slightly sad lyrics are lifted up by the music, which — in typical Harrison style — is simply beautiful!

‘Dear Friend’ (Paul McCartney & Wings)

This song is heartbreakingly beautiful. Possibly Paul’s most beautiful song (in my opinion), his voice accompanies piano in such a sad yet gorgeous way. Paul’s lyrics are also atypically emotional and personal. He wrote them in response to the war-of-words that had surrounded his friendship with John since the late ’60s, and he sings them in such a vulnerably-gorgeous way. A wondrous song.

‘I’m The Greatest’ (Ringo Starr)

Not being super familiar with Ringo’s solo catalogue, I’m perhaps not the best person to select one of his more underrated songs. But I feel that this song never gets enough attention. Written by John, the song is a satirical take on the history of The Beatles and Ringo’s life, and it never fails to make me smile! Ringo, John and George played on the track, too, which makes it a Threetles song, which is a plus! An awesomely funny song!

What Beatles solo songs do you think are underrated? Be sure to send me a postcard, drop me a line…

Hope you’re having a great day, and good day sunshine ’till next post! 🙂

Nine Of My Favourite Lyrical Beatles Songs

I love these pictures!

I love these pictures!

In my opinion, The Beatles didn’t just write some of the world’s greatest tunes. They also wrote a lot of the greatest lyrics, too! Sometimes in music, lyrics are sadly underrated. But from being a Beatles fan, I’ve learnt that quality lyrics are just as important as the melody. From 1965 onward, their lyrics were particularly wonderful, proving that they were very talented when it came to writing. But even in the early days, there were still a lot of outstanding examples, too! So today, I thought I would pay homage to The Fab Four’s words of wisdom (pun intended), and list my favourite Beatles songs in the lyrical department. Let the list begin…

‘Across The Universe’

Widely recognised as one of The Beatles’ greatest lyrical songs, I can certainly see why. John’s beautiful metaphors and imagery could probably evoke exquisite scenes in the minds of even those who don’t think of themselves as imaginative. John uses words that just sound good together, too. An absolutely sublime piece of work that could definitely hold its own without the music!

FAVOURITE LINES: “Images of broken light which dance before me like a million eyes / They call me on and on across the universe.”

‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’

A song shrouded in controversy, the lyrics of ‘Lucy In The Sky’ create much psychedelic imagery. Inspired by Alice In Wonderland, a drawing by the young Julian Lennon (from which the song takes its name) and (probably) acid, the trippy lyrics create beautiful images of (among other things) newspaper taxis, tangerine trees and marmalade skies, tall cellophane flowers and a girl with kaleidoscope eyes…

FAVOURITE LINES: “Picture yourself in a boat on a river / With tangerine trees and marmalade skies / Somebody calls you, you  answer quite slowly / A girl with kaleidoscope eyes…”

‘Hey Bulldog’

This song’s lyrics are complete nonsense. And that is what makes them so good! Ever since I first heard the song, the different phrases have always captivated me. Whether it be words that probably don’t even exist, or the phrases that end each verse that kind of make sense or just a bunch of words piled in probably just ‘cos, the lyrics in this song are absolutely great!

FAVOURITE LINES: “Big man / Walking in the park / Wigwam / Frightened of the dark.”

‘In My Life’

The lyrics for ‘In My Life’ are beautiful! John  talks of his affection for those who have disappeared. But he has never loved anyone like the “muse” for this song. His love for people that went before pales in comparison. But he will never forget those who he has loved before…

FAVOURITE LINES: “And these memories lose their meaning / When I think of love as something new / Though I know I’ll never lose affection / For people and things that went before.”

‘Within You, Without You’

I reckon that this is George’s lyrical masterpiece. The words discuss how humans are only very small; that love could save the world; how the only person who can change themselves is them… Very deep.

FAVOURITE LINES: “When we find it, to try our best to hold it there with our love / With our love, we could save the world, if they only knew.”

‘Piggies’

I love this song! The piggies are of course the posh 1960s conservatives who loved looking down upon youth. George mocks them wonderfully  — he sings of how they always have “dirt to play around in”, and of how they didn’t care of what was going on around them…

FAVOURITE LINE: “Clutching forks and knives to eat their bacon!”

‘For No One’

This is my favourite song ever written by Paul. The lyrics are especially powerful. Lamenting the end of a relationship, Paul sings of how it all went wrong, of how he and his partner fought; of when his other half left him, and of how he will never forget her… Quite sad.

FAVOURITE LINES: “She wakes up, she makes up / She takes her time and doesn’t feel she has to hurry / She no longer needs you.”

‘Blackbird’

The lyrics of ‘Blackbird’ are quite simplistic, but are nonetheless symbolic. Paul encourages the bird to learn to fly, and to learn to see with its various differences. The blackbird has been waiting all its life for the upcoming moment to arise. It then flies into the dark, black night, presumably to face the moment… Supposedly about the Civil Rights Movement.

FAVOURITE LINES: “All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise.”

‘The End’

Ironically, this is the last song that all four Beatles recorded together. Paul wrote the song, and decided that he wanted to end the cycle of solos with a meaningful couplet. And so he wrote two of the most beautiful lines of The Fab Four’s catalogue! The couplet has an air of finality to it, and is a poignant listen near the end of a poignant album. As with ‘Within You Without You’, very deep…

FAVOURITE (AND ONLY!) LINES: “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”

So hard to chose just nine! Which Beatles song do you think has the best words? What is your favourite Beatles lyric? Be sure to tell me in the comments!

Hope you’re all good, and I will post again soon! ‘Till then, good day sunshine 🙂

HAPPY (belated) BIRTHDAY GEORGE HARRISON!!!

Happy birthday, Georgie!

Happy birthday, Georgie!

[PLEASE NOTE: I did start writing this post on the 25th, and I meant to publish it then. But I had a Science assignment to finish. Sorry George. But I managed to finish and get the post up today!]

The 25th was a great day for all Beatles fans, for it would have been the 72nd birthday of the great George Harrison! I listened to All Things Must Pass to celebrate, and I might even get around to listening to some of my George vinyl, too! Happy birthday, Georgie!

As most Beatles fans know, there is considerable doubt over whether George’s birthday is on the 24th or 25th of February. George himself supposedly found out in later life – after being told that he was born on the 25th – that his “real” birthday was on the 24th. But his birth certificate says that it is the 25th. (And apparently George’s mother rang a friend almost immediately after George was born.) So I think the jury’s still out on which day he was actually born, but anyway…

I said a lot about George on the 29th of November, but I still have heaps to say about the “Dark Horse” – so here goes!

I cannot emphasise how much I think George is underrated when it comes to songwriting. Though virtually everyone who knows a little about The Beatles knows that George wrote ‘Something’ and ‘Here Comes The Sun’ and ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’, a whole chunk of people forget that he wrote so many other great songs, too! It’s such a pity (not to mention totally unfair) that John and Paul and George Martin underestimated — and undermined — George so much, as well. Especially since people such as Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton (who had been working with George during the break between the White Album and Get Back/Let It Be) had nothing but the utmost respect for him. (Though it did make for one of the greatest albums of all time – All Things Must Pass…)

(‘Think For Yourself’) This gem off Rubber Soul was one of the very first Beatles songs I heard, and it made such an imprint on me. I thought it was a Lennon/McCartney song for ages. It was only a number of months later that — spurred to look it up on Wikipedia — that I discovered that George wrote it! George said that he probably wrote it about the government. Still so relevant today…

(‘What Is Life’) This was my favourite George song for ages and ages. It is still one of my favourites (though not my top favourite). It just brings such a giant grin to my face, whenever I hear it, and I can’t help but dance to that rockin’ guitar riff and sing along at the top of my lungs. Oh, and the single of this song was the first solo Beatles vinyl I bought.

(‘Long Long Long’) I know I talk about this song all the time, but it is definitely one of my top four (if not less) songs on the ‘White Album’. And definitely, definitely one of my favourite songs written by George. It is so underrated, and it is so gorgeous — everything about it is perfect from George’s gently weeping strummed acoustic guitar, to his equally gentle and beautiful vocals, to the mad ending.

(‘Wah Wah’) Now — THIS is my all-time favourite George Harrison song! (Though I will admit I haven’t listened to all of his solo albums…) All Things Must Pass is such an amazing album, full stop! I just love the vocals, the brass, the guitars, just everything! George quitting The Beatles for that short period during the Get Back sessions sure made for a very good song…

(‘Don’t Bother Me’) This was the first song that George ever wrote (excluding ‘Cry For A Shadow’), and though he always hated it, I think it’s wonderful! Very danceable — like most of the early Beatles’ music — and very, very fun! It’s also one of the very first Beatles songs to go a bit experimental when it came to instruments…

(‘Isn’t It A Pity’) One of the most beautiful songs ever written. Ever. The lyrics are just so touching and exquisite, George sings it wonderfully and those slide licks are the sweet icing on top of a gorgeous cake. I love both versions, but Version 1 is the one above.

(‘Savoy Truffle’) Plenty of people love to hate this song. But I love it so much! Those groovy keyboards, the saxes, not to even mention that Clapton-esque guitar… This time last year, I used to YouTube The White Album just so I could listen to this song.

(‘Awaiting On You All’) This song makes me smile so much! It’s wonderful! I love how it is used so much in George Harrison: Living In The Material World, ‘cos it sure deserves it!

And George was also a really, really good musician. That crazy bassline in ‘Old Brown Shoe’ is probably my favourite bass line ever. And let me tell you now, it is not Paul is playing it.

 

And though many of my favourite George lead guitar lines stem from his slide work from his solo career, the solo — and licks — on the album version of ‘Let It Be’ (by far my favourite version, by the way) are amazing! People always say that The Beatles never had a rock god moment in their career. They should listen to this.

 

And that’s not even mentioning his sitar work! The first in rock music, I might add… I love all his sitar-y songs, but I’ll embed ‘Love You To’ ‘cos it was my favourite for ages…

 

George always seemed like such a lovely guy, too. There are so many stories of him being really, really nice to fans (he was the Beatle that wrote ‘Apple Scruffs’!), and of course there is that story about George mortgaging Friar Park to fund Monty Python’s Life of Brian! I really love listening to George speak about various things, too. I was lucky enough to get a box-set of the Anthology documentaries for Christmas, and George’s insights are definitely the most interesting. He also had some really interesting (and realistic) things to say, as well. A very interesting — and intriguing — man.

George also had a wonderful sense of humour! What would A Hard Day’s Night be like without the ‘grotty shirts’ scene? (George was the first to use the word ‘grotty’, by the way…) And that clip of George launching into ‘My Sweet Lord’ turn ‘The Lumberjack  Pirate Song’ (and doing other related skits) with Eric Idle on Rutland Weekend Television is just about the funniest thing ever!

 

But to finish, happy birthday Georgie! Though John may be my favourite Beatle, you are a close second and you are a great inspiration to me. You were a great musician, and a great person. We will never forget you. tangerinetrees99 🙂

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tangerinetrees99 plays her first gig!

Since midnight on Saturday, the 7th of February, a few things have happened to me:

  1. My Surface Pro 3 – which we had to buy for school purposes – has frozen at least ten times, been in my school’s IT department at least 5 and has suffered from the Blue Screen of Death. Insert the slightly ironic sad face from the Blue Screen here.
  2. Penny Wong – a South Australian senator – bought me waffles! Or more precisely, my parents and I sat next to her in café, and she kindly gave me the waffles she had bought her young daughter (who wouldn’t eat them).
  3. I got an electric guitar! A blonde Epiphone Casino, to be exact (just like what John used from ‘Hey Jude’/’Revolution’ forwards).

But most excitingly, I played my first gig! I learn guitar at a place where the guy who owns it has an affiliation with a well-known live venue in Adelaide called The Wheatsheaf (or the Wheaty). Because of this, our annual student “showcase” is held there.

For about a term, I had been working on writing my own song with my guitar teacher. I called it ‘Wouldn’t That Be Good’, and I basically only finished it a week before the gig. But anyway…

So, the 7th of Feb (the day of the gig) arrived, and as you can imagine, I was all psyched up for my debut! (Okay, not really my debut, but anyway.) I went to my weekly Saturday guitar lesson for one final practice of my own song and the cover I had chosen, went home and arrived at the Wheaty.

The 7th was forecasted to be a 40 degree (Celsius) day. Very, very hot. (Not unusual in an Adelaide Summer, though…) And the Wheaty also turns out to be a tin shed, so it must have been about 45 degrees. Very hot.

So the gig starts, and there is no proper set list. We get through the entire first set, and I still hadn’t been called up. The break between sets comes and then my guitar teacher (who was playing with his duo next) tells me I’m on last! Headliner, eh?? 😉

So I wait a little more, and finally – at around 3:10 PM – it is my turn! The guy who owns the academy and my teacher introduce me. I hop up onto the stage, grab my trusty acoustic-electric (which had been the go-to guitar for all those who had seemingly forgot their own) and I introduce myself. After making a joke which no-one really got, I launch into ‘Little Black Submarines’ by the Black Keys, my chosen cover. After I finish, I get a big applause from the crowd, and I start to play my own song. Again, a big applause. And then I get asked to play an encore! Thinking of what songs I can play best, I play a cover of ‘A Day in the Life’.

After the show finished, heaps of people came up to me. I got a little note from a complete stranger saying that they loved my set. A few people came up to me and said that they, too, enjoyed it. I discussed The Black Keys with the man sitting behind me, and a woman compared my voice to that of Julia Stone!

And if I say so myself, what a groovy debut/not-debut?! Here are some clips:

‘Little Black Submarines’:

 

‘Wouldn’t That Be Good’:

 

‘A Day in the Life’:

And there we go – tangerinetrees99’s first gig!
I had a great day today! Went to see plenty of good music-related exhibitions, and met Scott Hicks at one, to mention two. I shall post again soon, but good day sunshine ‘till then! 🙂

9 Of My Favourite John Lennon Rhythm Guitar Performances

The aforementioned Beatle with the aforementioned instrument.

The aforementioned Beatle with the aforementioned instrument.

Hello (goodbye) all! Happy February, happy British Invasion anniversary (for the 9th) and happy Rooftop Concert anniversary (for the 30th of last month)! And so it’s back to school for tangerinetrees99. To paraphrase John, “Another school year, a new one just begun.” But anyway…

Today I thought I’d do a post around my favourite Beatle. (I think everyone who reads this blog knows which Beatle I’m talking about.) And something which not everyone immediately associates with that particular Beatle; his rhythm guitar skills!

Despite what a few people think, John was an incredibly good rhythm guitarist. (Rhythm guitar, by the way, is the rhythmic strumming of guitar chords, as opposed to lead guitar, which is fingering melodies.) In fact, he was an utter rhythm guitar genius. (And those who play rhythm guitar know that it is a lot harder than it looks.) Changing between dirty, bluesy sloppiness (a la ‘Revolution’) and incredibly precise, near-impossible perfection (a la ‘All My Loving’), with some stabbing proto-punk and tender fingerpicking in between, John helped Ringo make The Beatles drive.  John had a quirky yet strong sense of rhythm and timing, and often relied on the offbeats (beats 2 and 4 in a bar of 4 beats) to create his rhythm part. He also had a penchant for barre chords, also contributing to that distinctive Lennon sound. A deceptively simple concept to follow, John truly was one of the few who innovated rhythm guitar for generations to come. Here are nine of my Lennon rhythm favourites, in no particular order:

9. ‘She’s A Woman’

Despite one missed chord change, John’s barred, offbeat stabs of his Rickenbacker 325 practically sums up his style in one song. As much as I love Paul’s “Little Richard” vocals, my very favourite thing about this song is the rhythm part. Thanks Johnny!

8. ‘All My Loving’

A well-known example of John’s guitar skills, this song is practically impossible to play. Those nay-sayers need to be directed to this song. Just check out those super-fast triplets! Proves that The Beatles were always an incredibly good band, even before Rubber Soul!

7. ‘I’m Looking Through You’

This song is too overlooked. Not only is it one of Paul’s best songs (in my opinion), John’s acoustic guitar is damn groovy! Who can’t dig all those complicated finger movements and rhythms? Definitely one of my favourite songs to play. (George’s groovy distorted lead is cool, too!)

6. ‘Revolution’

As soon as that iconic distorted groove kicks off, John’s guitar work in ‘Revolution’ only goes up. John himself said that he found himself a better guitarist after working on this song! As you probably know by now, I have a penchant for distorted, dirty guitar work, of which John is the master. I seriously dig the sort of bluesy patterns John is beating out on his Casino. (Side note: Nicky Hopkins played keyboard on this track. He is probably the only guy ever to have played on the records of the Beatles, solo-Beatles, Stones, Kinks, Easybeats, Who…)

5. ‘Yer Blues’

Okay. This song was definitely going to be on the list. Again, deceptively simple. Actually near impossible. John’s quirky sense of timing certainly contributes to the absolutely groovy feel of this song! His rhythm part alternates between incredibly precise “frills” at the end of each line and sloppy swinging. I find the distinction between lead and rhythm very fine on this song, which is cool! The Rolling Stones Rock’n’Roll Circus performance of this song (with Eric Clapton on lead, Mitch Mitchell on drums and Keith Richards on bass) shows the distinction a little more, for those interested (also includes John and Mick Jagger doing incredibly bad US accents and being jokey…):

 

4. ‘Across The Universe’

John’s acoustic work here is just gorgeous! Especially the intro. It definitely isn’t as complicated as some of the stuff above. But it’s really beautiful to listen to. And isn’t that what true music is all about?

3. ‘Julia’

John used the fingerpicking technique that Donovan taught him in India on this absolutely heartbreaking track. John uses a few really obscure chords on this song. He really did have an impeccable knowledge of creative harmonies… Totally beautiful. Whilst he was a master of the dirty, sloppy rhythm, his tender fingerpicking is too underrated.

2. ‘Revolution 1’ (‘Kinfauns’ Demo Tapes version)

I know I included the single version of this song above, but I just had to include the ‘Kinfauns’ (George’s house at the time) Demo Tapes version! That guitar work at the beginning is something I love very much. I think John is also playing barre chords (or maybe with a capo), playing true to the “Lennon sound”. The Beatles all sound like they are enjoying themselves very much, which contributes to the fun sound of the demo!

1. ‘I Found Out’ 

Yes, I know this is in fact a song off John’s first solo album. Not a Beatles song (though Ringo does play drums on it). But I had to include it somewhere! That rumbling, dirty distortion is not something you hear every day… Some people even count it as proto punk! A really rockin’ song.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: ‘I’m So Tired’, ‘Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except For Me and My Monkey’, ‘Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)’, pretty much anything on A Hard Day’s Night, ‘Help!’, ‘She Said, She Said’, ‘I’m Only Sleeping’, many other songs…

And there we go! Exposing another exceptionally talented side of John, for which he isn’t always known for… Have you got a favourite Lennon rhythm part? Please tell me in the comments!

Oh, and yesterday, I played my first gig! It was really wonderful! Once I put the videos somewhere, I will post about the experience here, so keep an eye out… But until then, good day sunshine! 🙂