Except, when it randomly throws in The Beatles.
Long ago, when puberty hit, I loved this band as the times asked me to. I too listened to their seemingly simple-minded lyrics laced with quantities LSD, and imagined just what these mega-huge-sunglass donning, funky-mic totting band must’ve been smoking to make sure every song of theirs tread that fine line between morose and manic ha-ha, desperate and devious, tripping and trapped.
There’s a tone to The Beatles that nobody has managed to copy-paste. It’s how they’ve managed to sum up adolescence so… correctly.
Their music is a whiny, skinny boy going on and on about how he’s happy and sad and not getting enough and still a maverick for getting lots, about how he doesn’t care about who you are, what you’re made of, but will still love you, about how you can never understand his pain, but hey, he doesn’t take life seriously. He’s charming. He’s talented. He can bend a guitar to any tune. He’s shameless about wanting attention. He’s a prick. He’s the misunderstood stud with an ear-piercing, malnutrition, occasional halitosis, messy hair. He’s lovable, selfish, a professional navel-gazer.
He’s the boyfriend I warn my friends against. He’s the clown at the party. He’s the one thing that stands out in your memory of teenage-hood. He’s the boy that got away with blue murder.
He’s exactly the kind of person I feel like slapping.
I think that’s what irritates me the most about The Beatles. That they’ve got the discomfort of growing up so right, that other musicians on shuffle-play seem abstract and useless like a painting you cannot relate with. Next to them, my favorite boo-hoo bands, Stone Temple Pilots and Alice in Chains sound exactly like how my grandfather would describe them. Noisy.
At this point in time, there is exactly one Beatles song I can listen to, without grunting and manhandling the worn Next button. Across the Universe. Nothing cracks me up more than the “Jai GuruuuuuDeyyyva” quickly followed up with the “Om”.
What was our idea of spirituality, back then? Finding inner meanings to things. Nonsense lyrics were dissected, in hope that like the innards of a frog held tightly under-skin by tension, meaning would spring out at us, deliver us from certain consumerist doom.
How different were we then, from the libs back in the sixties? Thinking the giant corporations were out to pinch us out of our money, our freedom and our souls, one bra, one PSP, one burger at a time.
Over time, the reasons why we listen to some music, shift well and out of the realm of purely musical. The song of the first kiss. The song of the rains. The song of the night before exams. The song of the first time I really felt life is cruel (Jeff Buckley – Hallelujah. I still find it cruel that this man is dead.)
And in the event of such evolution, The Beatles are a strict no-no. Especially when you’re simply cruising to an uncomplicated love song about an effervescent woman like neon lights. Or about CIA peeking into my backyard.
Imagine, you’ve just finished a heart-rending viola about the shades of nothing. And then comes along some cheeky boy knowing how to get a kiss out of you.