I Am About To Commit A Horrible Horrible Sin…

No doubt I am about to offend a grand number of people.  I will be cast from people’s lives like refuse.

My least favorite solo Beatle?  John Lennon.  Sorry.  I find his sentimental attempts at “meaningful social commentary” (such as Imagine) entirely vapid and cloying at best.  I could actually say the same about McCartney-but his songs mostly are sappy love ditties…plus, his last few albums show a real musical maturity.  But Lennon’s songs are relentless naive Hippie Optimism that boils intense problems down to such ridiculous base resolutions…and yet more than one generation has proclaimed his words as great bumper sticker wisdom like “Give Peace a Chance.”  Sure, there are a couple songs I enjoy, mostly in spite of these problems (Such as Merry Xmas, War Is Over)…but the deification of Lennon as a musical genius is kind of annoying.  His genius happened when he was working with MCartney and the other Beatles.  Somehow, that combo tempered his worst inclinations into creating musical gems.  His solo work?  Not so genius.

In fact, of the Fab Four?  My favorite?  George Harrison.  Thoughtful, introspective songs coupled with fun ditties?  Pretty much the entire All Things Must Pass disc is brilliant.  Yeah, he had a mis-step or two, but at least his mistakes are not heralded as Pop Hymns to be performed at every Rock Benefit after every national disaster (I would have paid George Clooney good money to walk up and smash the guitar of any artist who played Imagine after 9/11 and Katrina at a benefit).  Jewel and Pearl Jam don’t perform “I Got My Mind Set On You” at every rock show benefit.

Second to Harrison?  I’ll take Ringo any day.  I kid you not, his songs are fun.  He does not over burden the listeners with cheap lyrics that are supposed to be deep.  While John and Paul showed brilliance as Beatles, they showed far less in their solo work (okay, McCartney’s Live & Let Die kicks all sorts of ass).

You all hate me now, don’t you?

Posted in: Music, Musicians, Rants

8 thoughts on “I Am About To Commit A Horrible Horrible Sin… Leave a comment

  1. Hey, don’t feel so bad. George and Ringo were the Underrated Beatles. The former gave us “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, “Beware of Darkness”,”What Is Life”, and “Taxman”, while the latter gave us “Act Naturally”, “When I’m Old And Gray”, “It Don’t Come Easy” and “Back off, Boogaloo”. That’s not too shabby.

  2. Okay, I couldn’t NOT comment about this. Seriously though, the day after the dead guy’s birthday? And you gotta be a hater? The cairos is all wrong.

    Lennon wrote “ridiculous base resolution” songs for the peace movement–for the anti-war protesters. He knew that people on marches wouldn’t be likely to get a point across singing complicated melodies with deep psychological longings. Maybe I’m going too far with this, but would you say that “We Shall Overcome” boils the intense problems of the civil rights movement down too simplisticly as well?

    I’ll actually agree with you that Harrison’s solo work is the best of the four, but Lennon’s intentions should not be discounted.

    Check out “Help Me to Help Myself” and “Mother” to see another side of John.

    (And oddly enough, I don’t hate you. I love talking Beatles with people–if you’re interested, I’m currently writing a one-woman show about Yoko Ono. I realize that makes me a complete hoser.)

  3. Ok…now Will…that’s cold. 😉

    Tracey: Well, i was over stating things some. But my strongest problem with the anti-war movement of both the past and present (and I say this as someone who opposed entering Iraq long before the rest of the country opposed it) is that they cling to simple statements that suggest they don’t really understand the situation. But to be fair, I am not a fan the boiling down of complex things into catchy one liners. I don’t care for religious bumper stickers either. Certainly, it is over the top (and inaccurate) for me to claim John’s genius is exclusively in the realm his work with McCartney…but his solo work is far spottier than people seem to give it credit for. Honestly, I think if he had not been murdered by a mentally unstable guy trying to impress an actress, he would just be another one of the Beatles with a few hits…but I doubt he would hold the hallowed place he now occupies. But then, that’s the problem of living…it’s easier for people to remember your humanity (both good and bad) when you are still actively making hits and stumbles.

    I vaguely knew his birthday was this week…but I did not eralized I pissed all over the man the day after. My bad. 🙂

  4. for me, john was at his best when he did “ballad of john and yoko”… of course, that was when he was still with the beatles…

    i hear what you’re saying though… it’s the same feeling i get when i tell others i think that (brace yourself) U2 is OVERRATED! “Gasp!”

  5. Certainly, some of John’s solo output (inc. with Yoko) was awful, e.g., Life with the Lions. And George was definitely underrated. (BTW, I happen to be listening to the Beatles’ White Album.) But I do have a Lennon photo in my office, and an IMAGINE pic from NYC in my living room, so you can guess my allegience.

    But, on a anoyther issue, most of politics is reduced to slogans: WAR ON TERROR, e.g. I think you’re fighting a sisyphean task to have it be otherwise. Ya gottta sell it, like Rice Krispies; you remember Snap, Crackle, Pop, of course, whether you want to or not. Politics is pretty much the same thing.

  6. I had to laugh…this morning on MSNBC they were discussing a magazine called Radar that made the observation that politics are like Hollywood and politicians are obsessed with sound bytes and image. All that I could say to that was…”Gee? Really, thank God someone finally had the guts to say it!” 🙂 I mean, this is hardly a cover story at this point…right?

    Society’s Elite: What?! HOW DARE YOU?! U2 is NOT overrated. Bono is almost a GOD! 😉

  7. haha, see what i mean… everytime i get backlash from a U2 fan, i echo the words of brother john lennon in my head..

    “Christ you know it ain’t easy,
    You know how hard it can be.
    The way things are going
    They’re gonna crucify me.”

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