A Magical Mystery Post

Well it’s late at night and I’ve decided to do a post where I just talk about a few Beatles and music-related things that come to mind. In the past with blogging, I’ve found that my favorite posts are borne out of an utter lack of initial ideas that then becomes an uninterrupted stream of consciousness. So let’s just see where this goes!

It’s been 23 days since the news broke that David Bowie had died, and though some of the initial shock and disbelief has passed for me, I still find myself listening to his songs a lot more than I ever have before. I stand by my favorites that I posted last month, but as I’ve continued to dig deeper into his catalogue, I’ve discovered more songs of his that I absolutely love, including Hang On To Yourself. I had never heard of this song until about a month ago, but one day it came up on shuffle and I could not stop listening. I think it’s one of his catchiest and most fun songs, and certainly an underrated cut from the Ziggy Stardust album. It also sounds kind of punk-ish, yet another example of Bowie being musically ahead of his time. Definitely take a listen if you don’t know it already! (or even if you do, because it is a fantastic song)

This week also marks 52 years since the Beatles first landed in America to perform on the Ed Sullivan show, thus spurring the Beatlemania we all know and that I’ve posted about many, many times before on this blog. Once again, I continue to admire how strong of a presence the Beatles have in society today. They’ve even made it into children’s books!

Awwww this is just so cute!

Awwww this is just so cute!

My mom sent me this picture of a cute book she saw recently, which made me realize that the Beatles are truly at “textbook-status” now. They’re basically historical figures, synonymous with an era in history defined by revolutions in music, politics, fashion, and countless other things. The fact that books like this are being published to make the Beatles accessible to young children is truly heartwarming. It gives me continued confidence that the greatness and brilliance of the Beatles will never fade from the world.

Random Beatles Song I’ve Been Listening To A Lot Recently: You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away

For some reason I couldn’t find the original version of this on YouTube, nor could I find the clip with it from the Help movie. 😦

Anyway, one thing I’ve realized about this song as I’ve listened to it more and more is that it is, in my opinion, one of the Beatles songs that has aged the best. It really sounds like it could be released today, that’s how timeless it is, and I absolutely adore the melody. As much as I love the Beatles’ more experimental songs like I Am The Walrus, I also admire their simpler, more folksy songs that can be performed with just a guitar and a voice. This is one of my favorite Beatles songs to walk around singing to myself. I never get sick of it! If I one day learn how to play guitar, I will learn this song for sure.

That’s all for now folks. I’ll be back soon!

 

My Top 10 Favorite David Bowie Songs

bowie guitar

A master of his craft, David Bowie is certainly gone too soon ❤ 

I definitely was not expecting to blog quite so soon after my last post. When I woke up this morning to the horrible news that David Bowie had died of cancer, I immediately prayed that it was another celebrity death hoax, but when I saw the news on his official Facebook page I knew it had to be true. Though I have not listened to the majority of his astounding 25 studio albums, I do consider myself a big fan of his. His incredible, artistic music aside, David Bowie seemed like a musical and artistic genius to me with how he continually reinvented himself and refused to duplicate his past work.

He is also a musician whose existence I suppose I took for granted, in that I just assumed he’d be around forever to promote his album, musical, and various future projects. I sincerely wish I had listened to him more and fully appreciated his artistry while he was alive. But I suppose the best I can do now is to honor him by posting my ten favorite songs of his and why I love them. Again, these may be somewhat mainstream choices because I am not familiar with all of his extensive catalog, but I hope to remedy that in the near future. This list may change for me, but at this moment, these are my favorites, so that’s what I’m going with.

10. Ashes to Ashes

I forget when exactly I first heard this song, but I do recall being extremely intrigued by the opening. It has a really interesting sound that I can’t quite put my finger on, and I love how it brings back the Major Tom character from “Space Oddity.” One thing I’ve noticed about David Bowie’s songs is how they often have the same beat throughout the entire song, which you might think would make them eventually tedious but they somehow never are. This song is just magical and I love it!

9. The Man Who Sold The World

I actually first found out about this song from the Nirvana cover on their MTV Unplugged album. I’m very thankful for that, because the original version is so intricately arranged that each piece seems like a puzzle piece meant to perfectly fit in a whole. The guitar riff is also somewhat ominous and unresolved, which adds to this song’s mystique and strengthens its overall appeal for me.

8. The Jean Genie

My favorite part of this song is definitely the guitar throughout. I just cannot get enough of it, it’s so catchy! Beyond that, the lyrics are fun and the harmonica is awesome, also the bass at the end is pretty badass. I don’t have a ton else to say about this one, I’ve just always gotten very happy when it comes on the radio and it is one of my favorite Bowie songs!

7. Starman

This is an absolute gem off of the Ziggy Stardust album, which is filled with gems. I know it was kind of the point of the album, but I love how many songs on this album involve stars. It all seems so fantastical and otherworldly, which judging by Bowie’s look during this period was fully intentional. I also love the part of this song where the music stops except for some cool spacey star sounds, I honestly don’t know what instrument that is but I think it is pretty self explanatory. Also I’ve noticed the lyrics to this song take on an entirely different meaning in the context of Bowie’s death. Something to think about.

6. Under Pressure

This song is a true classic for both Queen and David Bowie, but I felt compelled to include it here because it is so brilliantly crafted to show Bowie’s talent. I love how it builds and builds to a triumphant climax and then tapers off again towards the end. It’s one of those songs that I have to listen to all the way through if it comes on the radio or anywhere because though it is an extremely popular song, it is not overrated in the slightest. Somewhere right now, I bet David Bowie and Freddie Mercury are singing it together. 🙂

5. Ziggy Stardust

I hope it’s not terrible to say that whenever I hear this song, I first think of Jimmy Fallon’s “Tebowie” skit that changed its lyrics to apply to Tim Tebow. That video always makes me laugh, but aside from that, this is yet another well-crafted rock song from David Bowie. The guitar here absolutely makes the song for me once again. In fact, this is probably one of my favorite guitar-heavy songs that I can think of by any artist. As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and Jimmy’s “Tebowie” character is certainly the highest form of flattery for this fantastic song.

4. Life on Mars

This may not be #1 on my favorites list, but musically this is an absolute masterpiece. It may well be his very best song ever. The piano here is stunning, it reminds me of “Rocket Man” by Elton John a bit with its complicated, unpredictable, majestic chord progressions. How funny that both songs are about outer space in some way. Anyway, for me this is up there with “Bohemian Rhapsody” as a truly perfect example of rock music at its finest and most artfully cinematic.

3. Suffragette City

This is probably one of the most fun, upbeat David Bowie songs out there, and I think it was also one of the first songs I heard by him. The chorus with its piano part reminds me a lot of the Beatles’ “Back In The USSR,” and in general it is just an awesome song. I get really excited whenever I hear it and could honestly play it on repeat for hours on end. It’s that good!

2. Fashion

To be honest, it was really hard for me to choose between the top three songs on this list. I basically like this song just as much as my #1 choice, but for different reasons, so I put it at #2 here. The whimsical lyrics here are fun and lovable, the guitar is percussive and slightly abrasive, and the whole song is, for lack of a better word, fantastic. I think I identify with this song on a spiritual level, it means that much to me!

And…

1. Heroes

I didn’t discover this song until I saw “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” a few years ago, which is a wonderful movie, but it quickly became my favorite David Bowie song and one of my favorite songs in general. “Heroes” is truly inspiring, empowering, and uplifting. The guitar is lush and magical, and as always, David Bowie’s distinctive voice soars above the instrumentation. This song touches me emotionally like very few songs do, even including Beatles songs. Whenever I hear it, I feel like I can become a hero and do anything. I, like Charlie in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” feel infinite.

Honorable Mentions: TVC 15, Space Oddity, Changes, DJ, Cat People (Putting Out Fire), Rebel Rebel

I did not really anticipate posting about David Bowie on this blog, but as a fan of the Beatles and all whom they inspired, which includes Bowie, I felt it was necessary. May David Bowie join John Lennon, Freddie Mercury, and the ranks of rock stars whose legend only grows after their untimely death. Rock on, Starman.

 

 

A Beatles Buzzfeed Bonanza

The Beatles circa 1964, likely taking one of the Buzzfeed quizzes posted below... :)

The Beatles circa 1964, likely taking one of the Buzzfeed quizzes posted below… 🙂

 

Today I’ve decided to combine two of my favorite things, the Beatles and Buzzfeed quizzes, into one post. I confess that I, like many of you I’m sure, occasionally find myself taking random quizzes on Buzzfeed just to entertain myself and pass the time. They are definitely addicting, especially when there are a whole bunch of Buzzfeed quizzes related to a topic I enjoy, like Harry Potter, Parks and Rec, theater, vegetables, and of course, the Beatles. I’ve come across many fun Beatles buzzfeed quizzes and articles over the years, and I will compile some of them for you in this post! Enjoy!

How Well Do You Know The Beatles?

I thought this one was laughably easy, in that I actually laughed out loud because I knew each one right away. Nevertheless, it’s a good quiz to make you feel like you haven’t tried that hard but still know everything about the Beatles.

Which Beatle Are You?

This quiz is not quite as straightforward as you may initially think… Instead of just the four Beatles as the four possible answers, you also have the option of being a Beatle in a certain period of their existence. For example, I got “Late 60s Paul McCartney,” although I’m pretty sure I once got “Psychedelic George Harrison” as my answer. Perhaps I put a different favorite pattern in the beginning this time, I don’t know. Honestly there’s no wrong answer for this one! (unless you get Pete Best or something, I’m so sorry if you did)

Can You Guess The Beatles Song From Its Opening Lyric?

Thankfully I got 21/21 on this one, but some of it was a bit tricky! I found myself singing most of the lyrics in my head as I read them, which made it much easier to guess the associated song title. This is a slightly more intermediate level Beatles quiz than the first quiz I posted, so if you’re feeling confident in your Beatles fandom after taking that one, go for this one next!

How Big Of A Beatles Fan Are You?

Okay, this quiz is hard. I got 18/20, and some of the ones I got right were complete guesses. This is definitely one of the hardest Beatles trivia quizzes I’ve taken. I am now a humbled Beatles fan who fully admits that she does not know everything about them. But it’s okay because now I realize that I have more random Beatles facts to learn! Yay learning!

19 Things Only Beatles Fans Will Find Funny

Finally, this is not a quiz, but it is a compilation of amusing Beatles-related GIFs, pictures, memes, etc. It is glorious. Enjoy!

I have a couple of ideas for what I could post next, but if any of you have suggestions about a post I should do, please comment below! Thank you!

 

The Beatles are Now on Spotify!!! And Other Thoughts

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They’re celebrating the good news!

So today, as of 12:01 am on December 24th,  the Beatles’ music is officially available to stream on free music streaming services including Spotify, Google Play, Apple Music, and others. This may not break the internet quite as much as when the Beatles’ music first went digital on iTunes in 2010, but it is still a pretty big deal. Although I don’t actually use Spotify or stream much music beyond the occasional use of Pandora or iTunes radio, I like this move, for a couple of reasons.

First, it once again brings the Beatles’ music into the news and into the 21st century, which I believe is only beneficial to developing the next generation of Beatles fans. Do most Beatles fans already have their albums on their digital music library through iTunes or (like me) uploading CDs? Probably. I don’t think the Beatles being on Spotify will really impact the daily lives of most of their fans that much. But I do think that it presents the possibility of more kids and teens discovering their music almost by accident, which is a truly magical scenario perfectly fit for the Christmas season. I pretty much developed my Beatles obsession, as I’ve blogged about here, after casually deciding to watch a video of them on YouTube, and I’d imagine there are plenty of kids out there like me that, thanks to Spotify, are about to find out how incredible the Beatles are without even knowing it yet.

Second, beyond helping the Beatles gain new fans, their catalog’s presence on Spotify and other streaming services keeps their music current and relevant to even older fans. It is quite remarkable that the Beatles are still as popular as they are considering that they broke up in 1970 and never reunited, but I think this is partially due to periodic “Beatles-related projects” like The Beatles Anthology, the 1 album (which pops up on the iTunes charts with regularity), the Love show in Las Vegas, and the gradual digitization of their musical catalog. These events make headlines everywhere and keep the Beatles music in the public eye fairly continuously, which seems to have helped preserve their legacy.

Obviously, I believe the unmatched innovation and timelessness of their music is primarily what keeps people coming back to the Beatles, but their songs are covered so often by other bands and seem to be always relevant to some project that it feels like the Beatles have never really gone out of style. One of my lifelong goals is to make sure the Beatles’ music stays popular and respected, and if this is accomplished because a whole new sector of music lovers can listen to their music free on Spotify, then I am satisfied. Anything to have more people listening to the Beatles!

It is the day before Christmas, and this news certainly feels like a Christmas miracle. Paul, Ringo, and other Beatles associates have always been reluctant to authorize Beatles music for commercials or make their music digitally available, but I do not see this decision as the Beatles “selling out” to the public. Rather, I see it as the Beatles adapting to music-listening in a new century and in a manner with which younger listeners are quite familiar.

And now for something completely different!

Random Beatles song I’ve been listening to a lot recently: Cry Baby Cry

I know I put this song on my “underrated Beatles songs” list a while back, I really should do another one of those lists because there are so many underappreciated Beatles gems. I love this one in particular because the lyrics are sort of abstract while still making a point. Not to sound like an old fogey, but I do sometimes find that lyrical creativity is lacking in a lot of popular music today, and songs like this remind me of how well-placed words add beauty to a song.

This reminds me of a documentary about the composer Stephen Sondheim I was watching a while ago, in which he brings up a lot of interesting points about writing poetry versus writing lyrics. I forget exactly what he says, but basically he believes that words of poetry are written with the intention of the reader going back and analyzing them, whereas lyrics should be easy to process as the song progresses and should not require too much additional thought about their basic meaning.

This is sort of why I don’t really believe in over-analyzing the lyrics of a song.  Lyrics are meant to be heard in the context of the music, not as stand-alone words on a page like poetry, and they can take on a different meaning when heard with a tune and an accompanying guitar line as opposed to just read with no supporting sound. Many people enjoy pondering every word of certain Beatles songs, or songs in general, but I usually prefer to just listen and appreciate how the words relate to the song itself and what impact the song as a whole has on me.

In short, to cease this senseless rambling, I am excited that people can stream Beatles music for free online, and Cry Baby Cry is a wonderful song. 🙂

Merry Christmas, happy New Year, happy holidays, happy everything to anyone reading this blog!

 

 

It’s Been a Long, Long, Long Time

I saw this and it made me chuckle for about five minutes. It's a gem.

I saw this and it made me chuckle for about five minutes. It’s a gem.

Well, hello everyone! As you may be able to tell from the title, I realize that I have not posted in approximately 11 months. That is a travesty. I can’t pretend like there’s a valid excuse for this either, other than the old “life getting in the way” excuse. All I can really say is that I’m in college now and obviously busy doing various things, but a couple of very nice comments left recently on this blog reminded me just how much I really enjoy blogging. So, I’m back in action!

First, a couple of things that have happened recently in the Beatle-verse. I was ecstatic to go onto YouTube a while back and see that the Beatles YouTube channel has actually started uploading some old Beatles music videos, like Revolution and Hello Goodbye, in HD! I honestly forgot they even had a legitimate YouTube channel, but it should really be updated more frequently because there is a lot of quality Beatles footage that deserves the HD treatment. Seeing the Sgt. Pepper suits in all their high definition glory is enough to make this worthwhile.

While re-watching some old Beatles music video-prototypes, I am reminded yet again of how innovative and forward-thinking the Beatles really were. Their early “promotional videos” with songs like Help and I Feel Fine may seem archaic now, but they really were some of the first music videos in popular music. When I watch music videos today, like “Hello” by Adele for example, that get upwards of 500 million views, it makes me wonder how many views the Beatles’ videos would get if they were released on YouTube or Vevo today. With their immense fandom in the 1960s, I’d imagine that they might get a comparable amount of views to modern musicians like Adele. Funny to find connections between the Beatles and musicians today yet again.
Also can I just say that I am so happy Adele is back and better than ever! I’m in love with her new album and she is a breath of fresh air on the radio.

In other news, with all of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut and even the shooting that occurred today in California, I find myself wondering naively why people can’t just channel their anger into avenues other than killing people. There are so many Beatles songs that advocate for peace and understanding, like All You Need Is Love and Good Day Sunshine, and it makes me sad that these songs exist in a world with so much hatred. I suppose all I can do is continue sharing my favorite Beatles songs with others in the hopes that their inspiring messages can convince maybe one person not to do something terrible. Everyone reading this, do the same! It might make a difference.

Also, there’s a new ELO album! Jeff Lynne, famous for not only ELO but also for producing The Beatles Anthology project and a few albums with George Harrison, is back in the public eye! I saw his performance on The Tonight Show recently and I was so happy that he performed both a new song and a classic, Mr Blue Sky. If there’s musician out there today not named Paul McCartney or Ringo Starr whose music truly captures the spirit of the Beatles, it’s him. Someone needs to get him into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ASAP, and I usually don’t care much about stuff like that, but it’s seriously about time Jeff Lynne was immortalized for his massive contributions to music.

Before I wrap this up, I’d just like to say that it is extremely weird to be blogging from my dorm room and not the attic in my house. College is certainly a new experience, but I am trying to appreciate every moment, take advantage of opportunities that come my way, and remember the things I love that make me feel better whenever I’m down. Spoiler alert, one of those things is the Beatles.

Random Beatles song I’ve been enjoying recently: You”re Gonna Lose That Girl

I almost forgot about this song until it came up on my phone the other day, but it truly is a gem from the Help! album and movie. Definitely yet another underrated Beatles song in their massive canon of musical creations.

I really believe that I will not wait 11 months to blog again. It won’t happen. I will actually try to blog more regularly for the foreseeable future. Enjoy the holiday season everyone!

A Very Beatley Christmas

Well hello, blogosphere! I realize that the last time I posted was around Thanksgiving, and I am very sorry it’s been so long. Today I wanted to talk about a few fantastic Beatle-related gifts I got over the holidays, as well as discuss a couple of new Paul McCartney songs that have been in the news recently. It’s truly amazing to me how Paul is over 70 years old, has been world-famous for 50 of them, and has accomplished basically everything under the sun, and yet he’s still motivated to create innovative, interesting music. I suppose that the drive and motivation that led him to be so successful in the first place has never really left him.

Anyway, this holiday season was festive as always. I listened regularly to my favorite rock Christmas songs and sang along enthusiastically (while others cringed) when “Wonderful Christmastime” came on the radio. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it may be the actual #1 most annoying Christmas song ever on some official lists, but I genuinely love it and will defend it until Santa tells me otherwise.
I was lucky enough to receive a couple of really thoughtful, awesome Beatles-related presents that I wanted to share with you. One was an adorable mug-and-saucer set, where the saucer looks like a record from the top and both say “All You Need Is Love.” I now have two Beatles mugs to rotate through while drinking tea. The more the merrier!

I really love this!

I really love this!

As a secret Santa gift, I also received a fantastic Beatles Anthology-like book called “John, Paul, George, and Ringo: The Definitive Illustrated Chronicle of the Beatles”. I haven’t looked through the entire thing yet, but from what I’ve gathered, it’s basically like The Beatles Anthology but with more pictures and graphics, and not written by the Beatles. It’s definitely a valuable addition to my (admittedly small) collection of Beatles books.

With that cover, how could I not be excited to read this?!?!

With that cover, how could I not be excited to read this?!?!

This isn’t really Beatley per se, but my parents were awesome and gave me a really cool Kinks shirt that I now sport proudly in addition to my many Beatles shirts. Although I think upon first glance, most people probably just think it’s a Beatles shirt and don’t inquire further. Oh well, I know that I’m wearing a Kinks shirt, and that’s all that really matters!

I honestly didn't even know they made Kinks shirts!

I honestly didn’t even know they made Kinks shirts!

In other news, Paul McCartney has released two songs recently that have caught the media’s attention. One of them was a collaboration with Kanye called “Only One” which, honestly, is better than I thought it would be.

Still, the song is basically all autotuned-Kanye with Paul playing keyboards in the background. I respect that Paul enjoys collaborating with modern artists, but next time, I hope he does something more like that reuniting-with-surviving-members-of-Nirvana thing he did that resulted in “Cut Me Some Slack,” a fantastic rock song. But aside from that, it’s really not a bad song.

Another song Paul has released recently is called “Hope For The Future,” and it’s part of the soundtrack he did for a huge new video game called Destiny. This one I really like; it’s cool, modern, and edgy without being too overly experimental.

Again, if doing stuff like this is where Paul is in his career right now, I’m completely in favor of that. As long as he’s still relevant to music and today’s youth in some way, he can basically do whatever he wants. After all, he’s Paul freaking McCartney.

So that’s where my Beatley world is at right now. I’m not sure what my next post will be, but I can guarantee that it will be soon. Until then, have a fab week!

Happy (almost) Thanksgiving!

Don't know what George is eating here, but he certainly looks good. :)

Don’t know what George is eating here, but he certainly looks good. 🙂

Well, it’s time again for a glorious few days off in honor of Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving not only for the delicious foods associated with it and the fact that it’s much less stressful than Christmas, but also because it has a warm, friendly message. Although the Beatles are from England, where Thanksgiving isn’t really a holiday, here are some Beatles songs to help get you in the Thanksgiving spirit. And perhaps to help you fall asleep on the couch after the meal if you eat too much. 🙂

Come Together

So I suppose if you listen to the words of this song, it doesn’t REALLY have to do with a family coming together to sit around the table at Thanksgiving… But based on the title alone, I think it fits.
The song is supposedly about John criticizing the other band members, but if you look at it from a different perspective, maybe what he’s really saying is that despite their differences and frustrations with each other, they all managed to “come together” to make one last album, Abbey Road. Then again, maybe that’s not it. I’m purely theorizing here.

All Together Now

This is possibly one of the most adorable Beatles songs I know. Again, it’s not really about families joining together to celebrate a holiday, but you can imagine whatever you’d like. If anyone has ever enjoyed being “All Together Now” with their family on Thanksgiving, this song should work for you.

It’s All Too Much

I can never get over the cool electronic guitar blast in the beginning of this song! It’s perhaps one of my favorite single moments from any Beatles song, along with the feedback opening to “I Feel Fine”.
This song should inspire you to limit your food-related intake on Thanksgiving day. Don’t starve yourself, but please folks, be sensible. 🙂 Also, one of the lyrics is literally, “All the world is birthday cake/So take a piece, but not too much,” which I think is pretty self-explanatory.

I’m So Tired

This is definitely in contention for “laziest Beatles song,” along with “I’m Only Sleeping”. The Beatles were hard workers, sure, but of course they needed a break every now and then. I think this song pretty accurately represents anyone who has recently eaten a large meal and can’t get off the couch, and it’s also, in my opinion, one of the more underrated cuts from the White Album.

Cold Turkey

Yes, this song is about heroin withdrawal, and no, it doesn’t have anything to do with turkey itself, but it’s the only Beatles-related song I know with “turkey” actually in the title, so here you go. A not-always-publicized fact about this song is that John lobbied for this to be on Abbey Road, but Paul didn’t think it was enough of a “Beatles song,” so it was nixed. Personally, I think that if Revolution, a far more controversial song subject-wise, was okay to release as a Beatles song, this definitely could have been worked within the Beatles catalogue. But what does it really matter? I’m still very “thankful” for the song. (see what I did there?)

If you’re celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow, have a very happy holiday. If you aren’t, cheers. 🙂
Since I have a few days off, I will hopefully blog again sometime this weekend! Yay for (briefly) having actual time to blog again!