The Hang of Music: Revolution #1
Prepare yourselves, because I am about to REVIEW MUSIC.
For those (see: “all”) of you to whom this blog is new, this will be my first “The Hang of Music” post. More explanation will be given in a later post. But ground rules will be given here.
I am going to listen to an album I have never heard before. This is not a difficult thing, as there is an ocean of music out there, and I am just one drop. Regardless, I am going to sit here and review an album I have never heard before. I will listen to it all the way through, in one sitting, and make notes on it.
Then you get an album review. Simple as.
Now you can see how, for my opening gambit, I ended up reviewing this:
My first thought was to remember the first time I heard “Back in the USSR” at karaoke, being performed (quite well, I seem to remember) by my then housemate. And thinking how unlike what I then thought the Beatles were like the song sounded. Since then, I’ve heard more of their stuff.
And I’ve heard even better songs of theirs since.
Irritatingly, not on this album. Unlike the lightning bolt I got when I heard “Taxman”, or when I rediscovered “Girl” from my old radio alarm clock, there was no crowning song like that and although I think I laughed in surprise once, I don’t know why and it wasn’t for long.
Actually, I hate vocables, and I think that may be a serious barrier to my enjoying the Beatles. As I type this, I can hear “shooobie doo all right!” WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? Especially when followed by lines about changing the constitution. I can’t believe I’m being told to change my mind, change the world, then being told “shooobie doo all right!”
A lack of patience for nonsense lyrics can be a problem for appreciating 60s music. Ah well.
One of the problems with listening to old LPs is the track transitions. I was quite annoyed with the shocking transition from “Julia” to “Birthday”, and it’s taken me ’til now, checking the wiki, to realise that “Birthday” was the beginning of Side 3. That abrupt jarring change from one track to another is actually a good side start.
My other real problem with approaching this album was “Revolution 9”. Yes, “Revolution 9”, which is just an avante garde arrangement of sounds.
That I like. I like experimentation. It’s worth doing, and I can see that songs like that were the start of Prog. Which I also love.
What I don’t like is that nothing else on the album sounded even remotely similar. There was no blend from “normal” music to more surreal stuff, it just seemed to lurch in out of the blue and away again. A good album would give some warning, and have more than just an isolated song that was just noise. Not that it’s not a good album, I just expected more… weirdness. Or more “Twist and Shout”. Not less.
Yay for picking controversial albums to start on, as I know that a load of people will be annoyed if I say I’m not much of a Beatles fan, and that this album is not their best, even. I liked some bits of it, but really, a lot of it was just too tame. Too lightweight.
Maybe I’m a bit biased. My relationship with the Beatles has never really been perfect.
But, on a cool note; It took me a while to work out where I heard “Cry Baby Cry” before:
And I can’t help but think that Bowie nicked the Mother Superior reference in “Oh! You Pretty Things” from “Happiness is a Warm Gun”. So I suppose I can’t be too annoyed.
Anyway, watch me soar, I’m out of here. Hope you had anywhere near reading this as I did researching and writing it!
After all, out of the two of us, I’m the one who gets to listen to new music.
EDIT – Crap, errors in the first post! The problem with having an internet is that factual mistakes are inexcusable; just because Bowie was weird prog-pop, doesn’t mean he ever used the words “Mother Superior”! It was “Homo Superior”! Crap on a stick!
Ah well, hopefully no-one noticed. Not even you!