Key To Music Grades

A - You will never be whole without it
B - Highly recommended
C - Flawed, but still pretty good
D - It's your money, not mine
F - Why couldn't this have been burned in Fahrenheit 451?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)

I would like to address, perhaps, an unfounded perception everyone may have of me; namely, that I thoroughly despise the Beatles. This is partially true, but not entirely because of their music. While I do think Rubber Soul is utterly abominable (read here), I have more of a problem with how they have been treated (musical gods) than with how they should have been treated (brave pioneers). In this sense, much of the ire I have for them I utilize in the same vicious fashion as I do with hacks such as Clapton who, by-the-by, when unveiled beyond his guitar god hype, had considerably less to offer than the Beatles. These guys have, without argument, some deliciously good tunes; but for me, these tunes are sandwiched between mountains of awful offal. Which is why they seem to get it so right on Sgt. Pepper's.

From the joyful psychedelia of "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" to the carnivalesque "Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite," this is definitely my favorite Beatles album. I like the White Album as well, but it's a bit messier. Part of the reason for this is because of the tautness and remarkable fluidity this album possesses -- I tip my hat to you, George Martin. Even for the three songs I don't care for, the vaudeville "When I'm Sixty Four," the totally-doesn't-belong-on-this-album "Within You Without You" and the completely fucking stupid "Fixing A Hole," the album still flows quite nicely. (Ok, I am a total album purist, but whatever.) I also hate Ringo Starr and think he's fucking musical waste, but "With A Little Help From My Friends" is a great song, and if that's not proof enough why this album has to be good, I don't know what to tell you. Lastly, for those who missed my "preliminary" Beatles grades for all of their albums I own, click here and scroll down some. Oh, and "A Day In The Life" rules. B+


Master Cianan said...

I'm gonna defend Ringo. Believe it or not. His solo output is pure shit, there's no argument about that. But the arguments against his drumming are totally unfounded. He did what many drummers cannot do, and that is to simply hold the beat in service of the song if that's what's called for. The fact is that I've heard Ringo play some pretty nutty shit, but he's just not one to go all chopzilla for the sake of showing off. Kind of like Frank Beard.

Master Cianan said...

Also, The magic christian is a fucking great movie, and Caveman is pretty good too.

The Mad Hatter said...

Part of your argument is problematic for me not so much because it doesn't make sense -- because it does make sense -- but on account of the usual shittiness of Beatles songs. Ergo, a shitty song held up by a beat does not of Ringo Starr a favorable opinion make. Even for this album, which I obviously like, I can't really give him props. Also, his drumming is not the entire problem -- it's his singing. If I ever have to hear "Good Night" from the White Album again, I'm gonna rip someone's nuts off. Horrible!

Master Cianan said...

Well, I never said that his reserved drumming made any of their songs good on its own. That's like saying the strings on "automatic for the people"
improved the songs, and I've certainly argued against THAT. My point is only that he's capable of MUCH greater things than he usually does when anybody is looking.

The singing bit was a clean hit, BTW. yugh.

Jeff said...

The sad thing about "Good Night" is Lennon wrote it as a lullaby for his son Julian. It could have been nice for Julian to look back on that song while Lennon was absent from his life, but instead he has to listen to the terrible vocals of Ringo.

The Mad Hatter said...

Master Cianan,

As you are more aware than most, Iam quite capable of much greater things when no one's looking, either.


Wow, I didn't know that. That does make it pretty sad. I know "Hey Jude" was written by Paul for Julian. And, uh, that's a much better song.

David Amulet said...

Funny, I think this is the most overrated Beatles album.

Maybe I'm just pissed off that i didn't make it on the cover.

The Mad Hatter said...


Even though it is my fave, it is definitely overrated. Greatest album of all time? Oh no. Every list seems to hoist it up as musical perfection and I don't understand.