As many of my beloved readers are aware, I love music. As a referential listener with a superhuman memory for lyrics, I can find something to love in any pretty much any genre. I think it is pretty safe to say that I love music more than you, and probably more than anyone you know — including but not limited to that guy you know who’s always going on about the superiority of vinyl or that girl you know who just got that treble clef tattoo proclaiming that music is her life.
Being the exceptional lover of music that I am, I am compelled to attempt to quash a musical misconception has plagued society for generations – you know, the one about The Beatles being the Best Band of All Time. Come on, now. Stop it. That is ridiculous. So without further ado, here is your ticket to ride to the land of correctness:
The Beatles: A ‘revolutionary’ band formed in 1960 that found great commercial and critical success. (Present day) it is considered a federal offense to claim that you do not consider them the best and last great thing to happen to the entirety of music. Regarding them as “meh”, “okay” or “overrated” may result in, but is not limited to; severe berating/beating, vandalization of property, and/or having all you enjoy referred to as ‘overrated’- regardless of its relevance to music; all punishments which may be delivered by hipsters, your parents/grandparents, the general public, etc… (Urbandictionary.com)
Now before anybody gets their panties (or…whatever) in a bunch, I’m not here to take away ALL their props. Far be it from me to take away props from musicians who can actually play instruments. Or from the catalysts of change in a time when change was sorely needed. I’m just here to point out that too many of their songs pretty much sucked. The main problem I have with The Beatles is that most of their songs sound like exactly what they are: bubble gum boy-band pop written by a guy who looks like Paul McCartney. Newsflash: Lyrics matter. It’s like…what was going ON back then?! Was there some kinda word shortage?!! “She loves you yeah, yeah, yeah!” makes me want to…bite my teeth out. And fight someone. In fact, that’s pretty much the only screening instrument I need. If hearing one of your songs makes me want to fight you — and especially if I feel like I can win — you are not the Greatest Band of All Time. Case closed.
Okay, case reopened. You know who loves The Beatles nowadays? People who loved them back then and people who want you to think that they “understand” something that you do not understand about the evolution of music, or The Beatles’ post-“Wheeeee/Lookitme! I’m doing drugs!” releases; i.e. hipsters. Ohhhkay. I understand that the social and universal consciousness/connectedness born of THC makes you feel all smart(er than everybody else) but unless you’re blazing up all day every day, one of these days you are going to pop in a Beatles “record” or be blindsided by some DJ while driving down the road and be all, “WTF is this nonsense?!!” and then go and try to fight someone. Believe me, it is going to happen.
The Beatles were arguably no more talented – and certainly no more “psychedelic” than many other emerging artists of their time. In fact, it was their mainstream marketability, more than anything else, that launched them to the top of the charts. Yes, the top-40 charts. Think NSync. And Backstreet Boys. Doesn’t the very mention of those “bands” make you want to fight someone? Ah, good. We’re making progress.
C’mon — admit it, Beatlemaniacs! One of these days my oldest niece is going to have to admit she was in love with that guy from NSync (which she thought was the Greatest Band Ever) who came out as gay. And my youngest niece is going to have to admit she was in love with Justin Bieber (whom she thinks is the Greatest Band Ever) who has yet to come out. Just as when I was a little kid, I thought New Kids on the Block was the Greatest Band Ever. I admit it! And I might have been in love with one of those (Donnie) if I hadn’t already pledged my eternal love to COREY FREAKING FELDMAN. If I can admit that, Beatlemaniacs, surely you can renounce your claim that The Beatles are the Greatest Band Ever. You don’t think I know it’s hard? But it’s better this way. To hold on to the preposterous notion that, as one conscientious objector stated, “The Beatles rocked your mom’s fucking face off!” is postponing the inevitable past the point of absurdity. First of all, no they didn’t. And, secondly, don’t you dare talk about my mom! Moving on.
Hey, remember when GRUNGE ousted the METAL/HAIR BANDS? That was a sad and confusing time for me. Driving down the road listening to the lamentations of a bunch of flannel-shirt wearing crybabies who looked like they combed their hair with a pork chop was the last thing I needed to hear during that particular stage of my development. I got by with a little help from my mix tapes, and my trademark pathological optimism – just a-waitin’ and a-hopin’ for the day when all the badasses of music would rise up and put a stop to that nonsense. Alas, that such a day never came. And who among us could have predicted that what would have emerged from the grunge suicide ashes would have possessed even less musical talent? That’s right, I’m talking about boy bands. Like NSync, Backstreet Boys, 98 degrees. Like The Beatles. There wasn’t enough weed in the world to assuage that grief. Or to make a whatever-their-next-album-was-called sound less stupid than whatever any of their other albums were called. So please — spare me your Abbey Road arguments. I get that they were popular. I will even allow “revolutionary” given that I understand the meaning of that word. But Greatest Band Ever?! No. Just no.
In conclusion, understanding the hype makes me no less obligated to denounce it. I get that the baby boomers’ babies didn’t have a lot to choose from when listening to top-40 radio. We all know that hipsters would never listen to top-40, but the majority of us regular kids (who weren’t born with ipods up our asses) did. As did the original Beatles fans. The Beatles were unquestionably the best thing going in a time governed by people who thought Elvis Presley’s moves were “too hot for TV.” I get that. I will even concede that every single song released by The Beatles did not suck. After all, John Lennon’s “Imagine” certainly does not suck, and I will always stop to listen to Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed.” But as it strictly pertains to The Beatles — the Greatest Band Ever they were not. Case (re)closed.