Tuesday, June 7, 2011
My 10 favorite songs by The Beatles
This is a list I've been compiling mentally for a while now, and I finally decided to get it together and compile it. Honestly, picking these songs, while leaving others out, was a bit like having to choose which of my children I like most. Ultimately, though, I came up with a bit of a criteria for it, and scaled each from 1-10: nostalgic value, current relevance, and pure musical enjoyment. Since I've been listening to The Beatles pretty heavily, but perhaps more now than ever, I felt that nostalgia and my current feelings should both be factors, along with how much I purely enjoy the song. Without further ado:
10. Can't Buy Me Love (from the album "A Hard Day's Night)
This song is on this list almost completely because, to me, it's the quintessential "Beatlemania" song. The guitar sounds in the intro are so bright, so punchy, that it just seems to capture the craziness of the era. Every time I hear this song, I can't help but picture teenage girls screaming and crying.
9. I've Just Seen A Face (from the album "Help")
To me, this song is incredibly underrated. I recently read Here, There, and Everywhere: The 100 Best Beatles Songs, and was shocked to not find this among the ranks. It's a pretty simple ditty, but you can really tell they had a blast recording it.
8. All I've Got To Do (from the album "With The Beatles")
Speaking of Beatles song the are criminally underrated, this one without a doubt ranks first on my list of "most underrated Beatles songs ever", which is a list I'll probably never actually make. A relatively new discovery (as I never really delved into this album before, for some reason), this is one of the few songs by these guys that I'd describe as "dark" (at least musically, as the lyrics are pretty much in line with much of their early material). This one gets extra credit for being the first rock song in which the bass player plays chords as a vital part of the song.
7. Yes It Is (from the album "Past Masters")
The only non-album entry on this list (it was originally the B-side to "Ticket To Ride"), I love this song because of its throwback (but still complicated) vocal harmonies and the way the electric guitar sounds, fading in and out.
6. And Your Bird Can Sing (from the album "Revolver")
For me, this might be the most purely satisfying "pop" song on this list. "Pop" because it's short (it clocks in at exactly two minutes) and catchy, and satisfying because it has so many aspects that, on their own, sound incredible. Each aspect of this song is aurally fascinating to me, from the guitars (which are tonally amazing) to the vocals to the simple, yet memorable bass line.
5. For No One (from the album "Revolver")
Among the many great songs on Revolver, this one initially stuck out to me because of it's use of clavichord, a most unconventional instrument for rock music (of course, it's not really a rock song, but I digress). What made it stick around past that first intrigue is its real heartache and sense of loneliness. Oh, and the French Horn solo is pretty awesome too.
4. I'm Only Sleeping (from the album "Revolver")
I hate waking up, so I know exactly where John Lennon is coming from when he sings this song. Widely credited as the first song to employ backwards guitar, I love this song for that reason, and many others. During the chorus, when he sings "please don't...", and the background doo-wops kick in, I'm in pop music heaven.
3. Long, Long, Long (from the album "The Beatles")
In my mind, this song is the first one that made me think "holy crap, George was totally stifled when he was with these guys". One of 30 songs on the album (but one of only four that George wrote and sang), I'm pretty sure Elliott Smith wouldn't have existed without this song...or at least the music on his last couple of albums would have sounded a bit different.
2. A Day In The Life (from the album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band")
The first time I listened to the legendary ending to this song was the first time I crapped my pants while listening to music (not literally, I promise not literally). Everything about this song speaks to me in a different way, from the out-of-nowhere bridge that somehow fits perfectly, to the dark vagueness of the lyrics.
1. Something (from the album "Abbey Road")
I had no doubt all along that this song would end up taking the top spot. This was the first Beatles song I ever really connected with, and it's stuck with me ever since. I'm not really a big guitar solo guy, but the one in this song is one exception I'm willing to make. Sure, it's borderline schmaltz, but that's part of what I love about it.
Songs I feel bad about not including (in no particular order, unless you count iTunes as a particular order):
*Happiness Is A Warm Gun
*Strawberry Fields Forever
*I Am The Walrus
*All You Need Is Love
*Don't Let Me Down
*She Said She Said
*Think For Yourself
*In My Life
*She's Leaving Home