Sunday, January 6, 2008

Razor's Retro Reviews: Beatles White Album (Side 3)


1. Birthday (McCartney)

Another McCartney creation, could this song be any catchier? No, it cannot.

Among other things, it allows the Beatles to re-visit their roots, churning out a shallow pop song that means absolutely nothing. I’ll tell you this: it sure as hell beats the original ‘Happy Birthday’ song…man that song sucks. Well, the Marilyn Monroe version is ok.

Happy Birthday, Mr. President.

At any rate, it’s a great way to kick-off side 3 of the album or, as any radio DJ will tell you, a list of celebrity birthday announcements. Further, it is definitely a nice change of pace from the infinitely more lugubrious side 2.

Oddly, the Beatles’ wives/mistresses sing back-up on this one, proving once again that behind every great man is a stubborn harpy that won't mind her own business.

Here’s the mandatory clip:

Well, it is more 'words scrolling up the screen' than a clip really.

2. Yer Blues (Lennon)

Now it’s Lennon's turn to show off his blues chops, and yeah, his chops are better than McCartney's. He makes up for his lacklustre performance on side 2 with this return to form.

Actually, you know all that stuff I said about side 3 being lighter material? I lied. The first words of the second song:

I’m lonely/ I want to die

Careful what you wish for John.

Seriously, this song kicks ass. I love the reference to Bob Dylan’sBallad of a Thin Man’ with the lyrics,

I feel so suicidal/ Just like dear Mr. Jones

I found this awesome clip from a movie the Rolling Stones did called ‘The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus’ where Lennon sings this song with Eric Clapton and Keith Richards. Don’t feel obligated to watch the awkward exchange between Lennon and Jagger at the start, just do it:
*Editors Note: Some bitchy company asked that the embedding of the clip be disabled.

3. Mother Nature’s Son (McCartney)

Alright, so far on this album, we have an upbeat pop song followed by a suicidal blues number, so of course, you need to follow that up with…a folk ballad? Sure, let’s go with that. This is a very simple song that Paul wrote and performed without the other Beatles.

It’s a good song, but completely forgettable.

4. Every Body’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey (Lennon)

This is the longest title in the Beatles catalogue, and it continues the ‘what the hell is going on?’ trend that side 3 seems to be establishing. It’s great though, I love jumping from one genre to the next on an album, I’ve never seen it done like this before, each song is just so much very different than the last.

This would be lumped under ‘Hard Rock’ and its Lennon’s way of telling the world that his affair with Yoko Ono isn’t the big secret everybody made it out to be. In that case, you’d probably assume that the monkey in the title is Yoko Ono. Does this make sense? It does to me. Have you seen what the woman looks like?

See. I told you. Yoko is the monkey. In reality, no one really knows where Lennon came up with the ‘and my Monkey’ part of the title (the rest of the title is attributed to the Maharishi), so you might as well believe me.

If you ever find yourself on trial for something, I’d recommend shouting 'and my monkey' at the top of your lungs. The judge will be moved, he really will…oh, and it’s a great song, very energetic.

Here’s an awesome clip:

5. Sexy Sadie (Lennon)

Two Lennon songs in a row? Excellent. This is a good one, a scathing critique of his beloved Indian Guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. I’ve mentioned the Maharishi many times to this point, and assumed that everyone knew who he was (still is). For you ignorant swine out there, he’s basically a meditation guru and is known largely for developping the transcendental technique.

I’ve never tried it, but I’d like to think that it looks like this:

Relations between the Beatles and the Maharishi broke off after Lennon ‘allegedly’ caught the Maharishi making a pass on a female member of his entourage. I’d like to emphasize the word ‘allegedly’ because the Beatles renamed the song from ‘Maharishi’ for fear of being sued by him. Not only can this guy transcend several levels of consciousness, he also has an in-depth knowledge of international law. Anyways, this pissed off John which drove him to write this song in order to call out the Maharishi on his ‘alleged’ hypocrisy.

Thus, I reveal to you that John Lennon was a huge cock block, because really, who fucking cares? So the Maharishi is human. Douches don't belong on pedestals John, you do.

Here’s a good clip for the song, the guy with the funky beard is Maharishi:

6. Helter Skelter (McCartney)

This song has been called many things: revolutionary, apocalyptic, raucous and fierce, just to name a few. Helter Skelter is often credited as being the first ever ‘Heavy Metal’ song.

It’s pretty tame by today’s standards, but back in 1969, this was very heavy shit. McCartney, once again, wanted to prove to everyone that he didn’t only write ballads…point well taken.

This is a fucking awesome song, but I don’t understand McCartney’s inspiration for it. To find out, I thought I'd start by figuring out what the fuck Helter Skelter means.

The first three lines of the song describe it well:

When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide
Where I stop and
I turn and I go for a ride
Till I get to the bottom and I see you again.

That’s right, it’s a fucking amusement park slide, and it looks like this:

OK, now we know what it means, who wants to volunteer to tell Charles Manson? Anyone? This was the key song that Mr. Manson mis-interpreted as a calling for everyone to prepare for the Armaggedon. Close but no cigar…

The song ends with Ringo yelling ‘I’ve got blisters on my fingers!’ at the top of his lungs, probably the single greatest contribution by Ringo Starr. If you’re a fan of ‘Family Guy’, then you certainly recall Stewie Griffin shouting the same after strumming his banjo.

Here’s a fan vid with random images accompanying the song:

Here’s a slowed down version of Helter Skelter with Charles Mason’s voice dubbed over (saying the actual lyrics); it’s more than a little creepy:

7. Long Long Long (Harrison)

This calm and serene Harrison ballad perfectly juxtaposes the madness that was Helter Skelter.

Didn't I tell ya man? That Spears bitch is crazy.

It is the last song on this side and provides the perfect denoument to an album side that just about takes you everywhere.

As a stand alone song, it’s not very special, but it’s nice and relaxing. Harrison did a good job here, certainly better than what he gave us on side 2.

FYI: The strange rattling at the end of the song is the sound of a wine bottle rattling on top of a speaker. The bottle would rattle if Paul hit a certain note on his organ and the band liked the effect. What's that? You want a source for that little tidbit? Go fuck yourself, Martha.

Here’s a nice Harrison tribute:

Final Thoughts
And that’s the end of side 3, a very unusual album side with respect to the flow of the music, but there were no absolutely strange songs to compare with those on the first two sides, or even on side 4, which I will review later. Overall, I’d consider this to be as strong as side 1, if not stronger. As for side 4…yikes…

1 comment:

Kitty McNosenfuck said...

Manson is surprisingly insightful.